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.

What the Hell Do I Do Now?

It’s been a few months, and I know you’re all aware as to why I’ve been too busy to blog.  A) Work, and B) I’ve been Acting instead of just writing about Acting.  Well, explanation a) is now sliding back into normalcy, leaving me with pockets of time & energy which I can now use for writing (or at least thinking about writing).  And explanation b)… I can’t honestly think of a better excuse than “Actually Acting” for being too busy to write an acting blog.

Now that “A Hot Day In Ephesus” is officially over, though, it’s time to capture the experience & thoughts here, for my own posterity & perhaps for your own enjoyment/encouragement/inspiration/mocking.  (Yes, it’s okay to mock me – you still read it.)

Before diving into the details, the ultimate result:   This experience in Bay Area community theatre has answered the questions “Do you love this as much as you think you do?” (YUP) and “Are you even remotely decent at it?” (Signs point to Yes); but it has unfortunately forced me to consider new questions, like “Do you really have the time to do this?” and “If you love this & aren’t horrible at it, why are you still chasing a paycheck in corporate tomfoolery?”

The Experience

As we wrapped each show (and even some of our dress rehearsals), I’d come off the stage, and I’d have a new memory of making someone laugh.  Of making an audience laugh.  Of being part of a great cast of people & taking part in a great script & score to give the audience a few hours of entertainment, creating something at which they could laugh.  If I was lucky, I’d even have the awesome occasional experience of being onstage & in character, but somehow still able to hear & appreciate that laughter at the precise moment we earned it.  Whether it was the after-show memories of those laughs or the in-the-moment recognition of them, they both served as the only reward I needed for putting in all the hours & hard efforts that we put in.

And yes, it was a LOT of hours & more effort than I ever would’ve guessed.  Most of the last 10 weeks have seen me scurrying up to Mill Valley for 2-4 hours of rehearsal three times a week and a fourth occasion on most Saturday mornings.  I wrote raps, I learned dances, I memorized lyrics, I warbled through melodies, I got light-headed from the breathing warm-ups, I got rained on in the redwoods, I sweated through my boxers during a particularly grueling rehearsal in the middle of the rare Bay Area heatwave, and I put mileage on my kneecaps & thumbs from the pratfalls & stage-slaps.  We never did ANY of that in my acting classes. :)  In acting classes, it’s no more than 3-4 hours a week, lots of variety, minimal physical effort, and it’s always a new session – you never really know what’s going to come of each class.  When you’re in rehearsals & up on stage for production, that’s what you go through.

I had no idea.  Doing the SAME chorus or the SAME dance routine 37 times in a row forwards (and sometimes backwards) was HARD WORK.  But let it be said officially and for the record:  as repetitious and grueling as some of those rehearsals were, NONE of it was as soul-sucking as a spreadsheet that never goes anywhere.

There was also a completely different mindset.  I’m almost as Type A as you can get and still call yourself “spontaneous”:  I find value in organization, planning, efficient networks of communication, etc.  The AHDiE crew basically said, and I quote, “Nah, that’s no fun.  Let’s figure it out as we go!”  We were literally writing & re-writing, scoring & re-scoring, metering out & re-metering for the first five of the 10 weeks of rehearsal.  (It didn’t stop after the 5th week, but it became secondary work – week 6 we actually got to blocking and, you know, acting.)  To a Type A guy that was there without a lot of musical numbers or dances, that initially felt like a hell of a lot of wasted trips to Mill Valley & a lot of frustrating re-work for no reason.  It felt as useful as work.

I slowly started to realize, though, the key quality of “figuring it out as we go” in musical theatre.

It was FUN.  Makes it hard to call it work when it’s that much fun.  What’s a good word for “fun work that ultimately rewards & satisfies completely?’  Hmm… the word “sex” is taken.  As is “streudel.”  Perhaps the word is “effort”.  Yes, that’ll do nicely.  It’s a lot of EFFORT to have a successful show that people enjoy as members of the audience.

But that’s what we did.  We put in the time and effort, figuring it out as we went, and it paid off in spades.  When an audience can enjoy it that much & have nothing but positive things to say afterward, the Type A part of you gets bound & gagged & stuffed in a cabinet by the performer part of you.

The Question

So now my quandary:  this is exactly what I’ve been looking for – work that’s creative, fun, rewarding & so enjoyable that it doesn’t feel like work.  I’ve found what I love to do.  That’s even scary to write down, let alone acknowledge it, embrace it, and ask for permission to do it.  What the hell do I do now?

The Problem

Unfortunately, I can’t pay the electric bill on smiles, laughs & a warm sense of accomplishment.  (Note:  I’ve been working on a LaughLamp, which is basically a flashlight powered by the kinetic energy you expend when you laugh – but every time I try to use it I fall off the couch.)  I’ve gone so far as to start figuring out what parts of our household budget are critical vs. nice-to-have vs. “we only spend this because we can”.  I say I’ve started this; it’s REALLY hard to do, especially because the lines are blurry, and my definitions of those categories differ from R’s.  Allow me two examples to illustrate.  First a clear one.

Critical:  food & water.

Nice-to-have: a fully-stocked wine rack (albeit with BevMo $0.05 wine) in the dining area.

Because we can: $150 dinners at places like Bobo’s or Frascati every two or three months, sometimes more.

Now the muddier example.

Critical:  clothing & shoes.

Nice-to-have: shoes that are both comfortable AND stylish AND go with several dozen different “looks.”

Because we can: 4 different pairs of “casual” shoes (me) and 37 different pairs of stubby flats in various shades of black (R).

Okay, so maybe that’s clearer than I thought, but these are still things that would get debated in any discussion about giving up corporate life & corporate pay.  A lot or most of the things on the ‘because we can’ and the ‘nice-to-have’ lists would get no funding.  And all my seed money for ideas like LaughLamp completely dry up.

Once again, the word is balance.  I have to continue to balance some sort of well-paid “career” with the “side-gig” of acting.  In order for one to increase in share of mind/time/energy, the other will have to decrease.  (Either that or my life turns out to be a video game & I can just eat a glowing flower and start spitting fireballs.  Superpowers are cool.  And trippy.)

But I don’t wanna!  That’s what I sound like when I talk about it with R.  I DON’T want to spend the current amount or more of my time & energy in a soul-sucking cubicle with an environment where people use the words “bottom-line” and “workforce efficiency” to describe potential reasons to do away with people’s jobs or the entire company’s fringe benefits (like free samples of our products).  You might say that’s just business, and I would tend to agree.  But it’s NOT just business when the people throwing around those words use company money to ferry themselves between Colorado and California, then hotel themselves in the Bay Area, EVERY WEEK for several years because they have chosen not to relocate.   These are also the same people that TALK about doing things instead of ACTUALLY doing them, that hem & haw about making decisions then finally make a decision that you tell them probably won’t work but then they ask you to push that decision through the process anyway and then they see the outcome and then they pull a complete 180 on that decision and ask you to back it out of the process.

You should say that’s just bullshit, and you would be correct.  You should say that sounds like a completely unencouraging environment where nothing gets done and that would engender very little motivation to stay let alone get deeper in the muck of it.  Saying that makes you Jesus, who’s almost never wrong.  (Still think he should’ve shared that whole “water into wine” bit.  Superpowers, people!)

The problem is that the skills I use there are valuable to them, and they keep asking me to do more.  I don’t wanna.  I’m tired of being a puppet for people who’ve got one foot out the door and the other foot up their own ass because they haven’t got the sense to know it belongs on the ground.  Granted, I don’t work directly for any of these people, but their minions have an incredibly high amount of influence on me & the guys I DO work for.

So what the hell do I do now?

Step #1A:  Find a different paycheck to chase.  That’s in the works, and should give me more autonomy, which I will use NOT to firmly plant my own foot in my ass, but to actually use what I know and make a difference that doesn’t involve a subtraction sign.

Step #1B:  Get an agent.  Less in the works than #1A, but definitely started.  This runs parallel to #1A, actually, in that if the goal of getting an agent (making dollar bills at commercials, voice-over, extras work, or hell even an actual starring role in a large production) materializes, the different paycheck to chase doesn’t even matter and I will dance an Irish jig right the hell out of my cubicle.  I may even introduce a hammer to the inkjet printer on my way out.  (Would feel good to be a gangsta.  Even an Irish one.)

Normally, this is where I would list Step #2, but honestly, if I had more than just the next step planned out, it would mean I’ve become one of those a-holes that spends too much time planning and not enough time doing.  That’s one thing that working on AHDiE taught me – plan all you want, but until you start doing it, you have NO idea what’s going to happen, so you may as well just start doing it & enjoy the act of doing it, then adjust as needed.  It’s a hell of a lot more fun that way, and you don’t waste all that time planning only to have waste laid to those efforts.

I’m off to make things happen.  I’ll figure out one or both of the above, and worry about everything else along the way.  That’s what the hell I do now.

Oh – before I go… a big Thank You to all of you who supported me & got me on the stage.  An even bigger Thank You to those who actually got to see the show.  I couldn’t have done it without all the “you can do it”s and “just make the time for it dummy”s and “look how happy you are”s.  Clap hands!

Destroy! CREATE! Destroy! CREATE! Sexify! … What?

Wow. Been a while, no? Let’s get right into it then, shall we?

I’m a happier person again. Don’t know that it was any one thing that helped flip my switch from Grumplestiltskin to Groovolicious, but more likely it’s a convergence of the following developments, in a very particular order:

1) The Wyf: still awesome. Getting awesomer. We figure sh*t out together, we lean on & support each other, and damned if we don’t even occasionally have a great time together. Sure, there are things we’ll work on to make them more of what we want, but that’s part of the deal – we aren’t buying a dozen roses; we’re planting a frikkin’ garden. Unapologetically, marriage is yardwork. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it smells great, sometimes it smells like sh*t, but it’s always rewarding to get out there and work on it. It will yield roses, and on occasion, it will yield parsnips. No matter what comes up, though, as long as you don’t get overrun by boll weevils, you should feel fulfilled. Small piece of advice, though: try not to forget to stop working every once in a while & look up & enjoy what you’ve planted. No point in doing the work if you can’t enjoy the results of what you’ve done together.

2) Job: feeling pretty good about it. I’m good at it. They pay me well enough to afford the things we need, and a lot of the things we want. They like me. They let me be funny & creative, even if they don’t pay me specifically for those skills. And they recognize that there is such a thing as a work-life balance, and they actually support the latter half of it quite well. Honestly, couldn’t find much to complain about, other than the fact that it isn’t acting, and that’s mostly my fault – I’m CHOOSING to stay there right now, instead of diving into acting/comedy/poverty. I own that decision.

3) Acting: my new favorite activity. Not that it wasn’t a major nexus of pleasure already (yes, that sounds dirty… so what?), but I think I hesitated to admit how much I love doing it because it’s such a hard thing to do with any regularity. I mean, I either have to give up a healthy paycheck at a job I’m good at & risk making next to nothing at acting; OR I have to commit to acting only after 7pm and weekends, which takes me away from the wyf. The middle-ground between regularity of acting (what I want) & maintaining the current level of income & slight dissatisfaction that I’m not regularly acting (where I am today) is to continue taking classes. Eventually, after enough classes, I’ll actually be pretty damn good at it, and the risk of making next to nothing goes away. Or so the theory goes. Then, maybe, just maybe, regular acting becomes a possibility.

4) Family: when there’s something positive to report here, I will let you know. In the meantime, let’s pretend we never said anything about this, mmkay? Greeeaaat.

5) Future: working on all of the above is unexpectedly but welcomely rewarding. My next mission is to support the wyf in finding whatever it is she needs to keep motivated. So far the front-runner on that short list of possibilities is a house in Morris or Somerset Counties of New Jersey. Yes, that’s right. We’re converting to Jerseyism. Eventually. Workin’ with Boss Man Joe to figure out the professional angle; from there, workin’ with House Man Jim to figure out the shelter angle; from there, workin’ with the meat thermometer to figure out the dangle’s angle. (… Okay, that was a stretch even for me. Edit-Undo that in your brain for me. The shortcut is Ctrl-Z, which basically means you put your pinky in your ear and do a mental math problem.)

6) Potpourri: managing to stay in shape, finally got back on a pair of skis last weekend (and never fell!), got to see Robin Williams do stand-up LIVE at Bimbo’s a few weeks ago, Cermak was out & visited for the first time, and I’m too busy doing other things to have a lot of spare time/energy/wit to devote to Wyltie. My apologies for that last bit. Hopefully I’ll be able to do better, if I can make this a bigger priority. Stay tuned…

Congrats to Josh Snyder for getting into a sketch comedy troupe in L.A. The Loan-Out Love Box. Look for it soon.

Congrats to Emmy Weise for getting married. Best of luck to you and… the lucky guy.

Congrats to my sister for kicking a$$ with her new business. She & Gail are extremely intrepid event planners & PR people – look for them to get big.

Best wishes to Erin McDonald as she plans her June wedding; all the love & support we can muster for Dani & Alan Neff as they get ready to welcome a new Nefflette into their world.

Best of luck to Brian Brummitt as he continues living the dream in Hollywood.

Special thanks to Andy Alabran for taking extra time to help an aspiring actor who had no idea where to start.

And finally, warm regards to Shorty & Seth – we need to catch up soon.

If I didn’t mention you, maybe you should come see me & Wyltie more often. Y’know, make the connections, get your face out there… got to be seen if you want to be remembered.

Immersed But Not Extinguished

WOW.  I think you all would have left me by now if not for microblogging.  It’s been SO long… yet some of you still come by every once in a while; I appreciate that.  I appreciate even more that, in the last week, I’ve had three friends tell me they read the blog & that they want a new entry.  Let it never be said I don’t give the people what they want.  Unless, of course, by ‘people’ you mean John McCain, and by ‘what he wants’ is my vote.

Hark!  Could this be a political post?  Nay, dear reader.  I only spice up the intro with the occasional buzz term to increase my popularity with web robots who have no idea how boring I can be.  Case in point:  Sarah Palin, Tina Fey, BARACK OBAMA IS MY HERO, I Want to Be A Plumber, Al Smith.  See?  Simple.  Part of me is even tempted to use the words BREAKING NEWS STEVE JOBS HAS REALLY DIED to see if Bloomberg picks up on it, publishes it, and causes yet another stock dive for AAPL.  (Mentioned that on the podcast, which is going well, by the way, and we’re recording episode six on Sunday morning.)
No no, you’ll simply get the update.
Job:  Going well, if at a BLISTERING pace.  For a while we were actually back to the work schedule I kept on a regular basis at Corporate HQ in New Brunny.  My boss is gone, and still not replaced, so I’ve been able to step up and take on some new responsibilities and some more ownership.  I’m the only guy on this huge trade funds project now, and that’s the thing that’s been keeping me there so late – yes it’s huge, yes it’s important, and yes I’m the owner, but no, it’s not exactly filling me up with the sense of purpose or fulfillment that I’d feel if this was what I really loved to do.  But on the upside, I have learned that I get more enjoyment out of projects that I feel I can own – and projects that I can own & understand, more importantly.  So the trick is to learn things quickly & then start to own them as soon as possible.  Seems intuitive, but then so does your choice for our next president, and at least the middle portion of the country will still manage to vote for their prejudice instead.
Wyf:  Doing great things at her job; health could be better, and it actually has gotten better in just the last two weeks.  Was quite rough & tumble there for a bit, and we still have lots of follow-up appointments to check off, but for now we seem to have emerged from that dark cloud.  We just celebrated our first anniversary by going down to SLO for a quick weekend getaway; we had an awesome time, stayed at an awesome place for two nights, and even got surprised with a dinner reservation at a great spot in downtown SLO.   But you know that rule about not drinking while in a hot tub or a jacuzzi?  Yeah, there’s a reason that’s a rule.  Almost collapsed like a naked sack of potatoes.  Twice.
Running:  did the Bridge to Bridge 12K, and it was probably my least favorite race experience to-date.  eading up to this one, I basically gave myself a bye on regular runs because I had just ran the SF Half Marathon about 5 weeks earlier & figured there couldn’t have been much lost if I just warmed pine for a while.  I was wrong.  1) I ran pretty slowly during a race when I really should’ve been able to cruise along much closer to an 8-minute mile; 2) I ran alone – Wyf was supposed to run it too, but hasn’t been feeling up to snuff for training for something like that, so we decided abstinence was prudent; 3) my form was off and I got a pretty bad feeling in my right hip flexor, which I’ve never really felt before unless I was running lots of hill repeats.  The bright side is that it’s probably one of the worst experiences I’ll EVER have at a race, because I learned not to run alone & to make sure I keep up with regular short/medium distance runs even if I’ve trained well over the distance of the race.  Plus, now I have a ‘bad race’ under my belt, and you only need one of those.  Check.
Improv:  this is a completely blank slate this time, and I have no one to blame but myself.  If I was REALLY craving it, I would’ve found a way to make it happen even with all the crazy work hours.  I let it be disposable, and thus it became disposable; yet I refuse to dispose of this part of my life.  I definitely let myself get immersed in work, but this little light o’ mine ain’t extinguished yet.  Another upside to the long work hours is the improved work environment:  because most of my team has put in some longer hours, we’ve gotten closer & I feel more comfortable joking around with them & working on some routine material (more on that soon) while at work.  So I’ve been able to augment work to fill a little bit of this void, but it’s still a big gaping hole in the middle of my psyche.  This means my psyche is donut-shaped, which also means my psyche is delicious.
Podcast:  thanks to TechGuy’s limitless patience & flexibility, we’ve actually managed to get these recorded on a regular basis.  We record #6 this weekend.  I’ll admit that I feel so self-conscious about whether or not I’m just a rambling idiot on the show that I still haven’t listened to any of them after they’ve been uploaded to iTunes (hint hint: go subscribe to it!).  But we have a ton of fun doing it, even though I think it has more of a ‘wung’ quality to it than TechGuy’s probably comfortable with.  For all the technology out there, we still haven’t found the Doc Brown that lets us create more time (or go back in time to drive a sweet Studebaker), so none of the three of us really have time to do tons o’ research & scripting beforehand.  I think it’s fine – feels green, organic, wind-powered.  And we’re THIS close to getting sponsorship!  ;-)
Goals:  I think I need to look up what this means.  Based on my current definition, I count 19,818 ‘goals’ that I’ve yet to achieve.  (Actually, that’s Excel’s COUNTIF function.  One of the 407 goals I’ve actually achieved was to ‘Put Goals in spreadsheet for ease of tracking.’  Suck on that one, Propensity to Procrastinate!)  Makes me feel like I fail a lot.  Which, as we’ve all learned, is okay.  But I’ve yet to find anyone who goes & tells people about all the things they failed at.  (That’s Goal # 15,722:  Find the one guy who only has stories of extreme failure that isn’t a Bush.)  So I think I need to start whittling down the list and make it at least all fit on one page.
That’s the key though, I think.  Focus.  Pick three elephants to juggle & do it the best you can until you do it well enough to add another.  Never been something I’ve been great at – look at this blog entry, for example.  Three political jokes, minor cultural references, and a bunch of randomly generated “topics” to fill in my readers & try to drop knowledge (see! minor cultural reference!).
So before the wyf decides to go to our date night dinner establishment without me, let me wrap up by picking the next three things on my list.
1)  Figure out a viable next step in the Career.
2)  Keep physically active until such time as you’re inspired to create a more audacious goal, like a Marathon.
3)  Finish writing a solid 5-minute routine of open-mic material AND JUST GO DO IT ALREADY.
Oh… and just one more thing:  watch this space for a new idea I have that’s very related to #2 and possibly something I could craft into accomplishing #3.
Also… thanks for coming back.  Good to see you again.  Did you bring me anything?  ‘Course not.  You never do.  And now you expect me to let you watch our new 52″ LCD HDTV that I got for half price at Best Buy.  You are SUCH a Republican.

I Want Tong Po… Give Me Tong Po!

Alright friends, the update:

1. My injury – torn achilles tendon that re-tears every morning after healing marginally during the night. This creates pain, scar tissue and swelling. Treatment: a lifetime of sleeping in a large “night splint”, which is a nice way of saying “huge uncomfortable foot coffin that at least you only have to sleep in”; three weeks (!) of no training as of last posting, so am already through a week of it; 6-day dose of ‘roids to bring down swelling, which I finally finished today (and which I think is responsible for my near-blackout this morning at the gym); 800mg ibuprofen horse pills for the next 30 days; 3 weeks of Physical Training, to gradually rebuild strength & flexibility; visit to the podiatrist, so I can finally figure out the proper shoe & stretches for my inordinately flat feet & over -pronating biomechanics; and, oh yeah, cross training. Like climbing on a Tony Little gazelle machine is a substitute for running. (If the alternative is sitting around and letting my progress deteriorate while sleeping in, I have a tough battle ahead to maintain motivation. Cross-training sucks ballz compared to the fun that is Running.)

2. My sickness – gone completely. Day and a half of bad congestion combated with Airborne, and then a few more mornings of sore throat, and I was back to full health. Lawsuit or no, that sh!t works.

3. My parents – Mom’s meeting their divorce lawyer on Thurs. Same day my dad’s flying out to LA so he can see some of his Iowa family, my sister and me & Wyf all in one shot. Going to be a weekend full of difficult but necessary conversations, I think. There are things that are going to be uncomfortable to say, but I don’t know if it’s possible to avoid them. (Aspiring conflict-avoider that I am, I’m still weighing out the possibility of not bringing up things like severe depression, hospitals, long-term care options, remarriage, and, ironically, conflict-avoidance behavior.) Really hope it goes well, but I think as long as it does actually go, we’ll all be better off.

4. Everything else – well, I have to say that this morning was one of Capital Tee Those Capital Em Mornings. In a good way. Which is interesting, especially given the above consideration.

For those of you who don’t know what that might look like, some characteristics of good Capital Tee Those Capital Em Mornings:
a. I slept really well last night, stirring only once when the Wyf got up to feed the baby (that was the dream version, in actuality she just went number one.)
2. I went to the gym, causing me to feel simultaneously proud for staying active and insecure for weighing only 168 pounds. (I’m slowly becoming aware that avoiding conflict in any aspect of life only leads to finding it in other “subtle” places like this.)
d. Birds were chirping, making me think of spring & blue skies & all the great weather that is to come in just a few short weeks.
1. I treated myself to coffee & bagel (w/ low-fat ‘shmear’) at that oh-so-lovable Noah’s establishment.
#. Work is going well, I’m producing things and actually feeling like I know what I’m doing, and am asking more questions to make sure I know what I think I know.

By contrast, here’s what bad Capital Tee Those Capital Em Mornings tend to taste like:
a. Slept like crap, sleeping only once for about 45 minutes, during which time I managed to dream that my penis had fallen off and my archnemesis/role model, Ben Stiller, picked it up & started playing chess with it – using it as a pawn, not a king or at least a bishop.
b. Alarm doesn’t go off in time for me to roll my fat lard-ass out of bed & hop-skip to the gym, so I spend several minutes just making sure my package is still in tact, and force myself to dust off the chess set before getting in the shower, where I proceed to get soap in my mouth like a six-year-old.
c. Homeless Guy #37B has taken a crap on the bus right before I get on, but the bus driver refuses to stop to clean it up, and we’re all smelling faintly of the Soup du Shelter by the time we hit the Embarcadero.
d. The boss has already left two voicemails with what are really two-to-four hour requests that need done “as soon as you can get them but hopefully they don’t take long at all, maybe by noon?”, and sent four emails about other subjects to which today was SUPPOSED to be devoted, making me feel like it’s all gotta be done and there’s no way I’ll make it home for the syndicated episodes of Friends (6:30 to 7:30 on Channel 2) that are the highlight of days like these.
@#$*&. The Wyf has called and said she’s “late”, and I pull up Google Maps to try and find her a shortcut around the traffic, and she’s all No no, I’m late, and I’m all, Yeah, I know, just give me two frikkin’ minutes to pull up the map, and she’s all, What, are you gonna search for someone that’d be a better father, lover & husband? Because that’s what I’d need right now, so go ahead, Google that and let me know where he lives, how ’bout that?, and I’m all, Y’know what, go ahead and go… wait… you’re late?

I think you get my point. So when you have one of the good Capital Tee Those Capital Em Mornings (boy I wish I had picked shorter clever nomenclature), you feel just awesome. You totally know what Jean-Claude VanDamme (or ‘VD a l’orange’) felt like in Kickboxer after he beats the second place guy to a pulp & knows he can take on all 7 feet of the column-humping, brother-paralyzing, girlfriend-raping Tong Po. You feel like you could throw one strategically-placed Flying Butt-pliers and he’d tumble like the approval ratings of a Republican incumbent.

What… you didn’t see Kickboxer? Don’t look at me, dude, you’re the cinematic idiot who hasn’t seen fucking Kickboxer. Rent it. Own it. Live it.

Too Late To Apologize

Where the hell have I been for two weeks? And two weeks, eff that, it’s been more like a month since I posted anything more than links and funny photos… my loyal readers must be so upset with me. Duly so, I’m afraid. My energy lately has been split three ways: work has lately been consuming about 80% of my waking hours; marathon training is another 10%; which only leaves 10% for the rest of my life: the Marriage, Quality Time, making new friends, maintaining long-distance relationships with old friends, attempting to define the rest of my life professionally… ON TOP of the standard chores of cooking, cleaning, laundry, collecting toe nails in a bag in the closet, reorganizing my stuffed animals, and attempting to teach math to blind kids using flash cards (which is about the least productive thing I’ve ever done – they just won’t learn!)

Now you might ask about my recent birth on Facebook and question my fidelity to Wyltie here. Well, as I said, my ENERGY is going to the list of minutiae above, which does take about 95% of my TIME. The other 5% of my time, when I’ve got no energy, is when I spend time twiddling my thumbs playing Scrabulous and updating my status message to whatever witticism strikes me as fleetingly suitable.

Wyltie, on the other hand, is not forgiving when I just type and ramble or link random sh!t. Wyltie takes energy. Plus, I know for a fact that you people are more likely to sniff out the latest Facebook updates rather than come here & look for posts – mainly because a) I update FB more often; and b) you get the deets on everyone in your virtual universe all on one page, as opposed to having to flip through to various blogs. Believe me, I understand the convenience of that. So Wyltie pays off less than FB does – people are much more likely to write on my “Wall” (what the fuck kind of concept design is that? who do you know that has a wall anywhere that other people write on? wall-writing is for rest-stop bathrooms and prisons, not social gatherings, whether they’re virtual or in meatspace) than they are to leave comments here on the blog. Why? Presumably it takes more effort to comment here (not same page as in FB), plus there’s a psychological thing about actually being able to see YOUR comment on the person’s page rather than just see Wyltie’s little comment-count thinger go up a digit – you feel secure your message will be seen / heard by at least the intended recipient (for the record, I’m just nerdy enough to have Wyltie email me automatically any time someone posts a comment, so invariably, I do see them… I don’t always respond, but am trying to get better at that part too), but you probably think maybe will see it and check out your profile & want to #$meet&* you in the @#Taco Bell Drive-Thru$*& and call you a #$*343#ugly woman@@ and twist your %$*nipple$&$ at a medium pace. Don’t steal that, by the way… I’m the first FIRST FIRST to ever just put the word I’m censoring in the middle of the usual censor characters. One point for me in the Creativity column, one in the Genius column (come on, it’s Awesome), and one in the First Nerd To Claim It column.

So, it may be too late to apologize (love that song, mainly because of its immense popularity in New Zealand whilst there for our honeymoon), but for what it’s worth, I’m sorry for not having the ENERGY to be here as often as I promised I would be. Cry me a #*fucking&@ river. (Told you. Awesome.)

Now, the update:
1) work is busy busy busy but I still like it almost every day;
2) training is going well – did 13.3 miles on Sunday in 50-60mph winds during the run over the Golden Gate, leg is definitely sore (ACL inflamed) but should mend with time;
3) R and the Marriage are doing well – though I’m already panicking a little about the first anniversary present because I can’t afford to mess that up (TOLD YOU IT WAS AWESOME);
4) acting is not happening so much – see reasons 1-3 above, but I DID go to a Chess club a few weeks ago in the interest of remaining social among my people (Nerds);
5) family is doing okay – sister had her car totaled by some old woman in San Diego who probably shouldn’t have been driving, but at least sister wasn’t in it at the time and everyone is okay, parents seem to be doing well as Dad gets closer to surgery on neck/back and Mom finishes up her Associate’s degree at Penn State, seeing the Iowa clan in a month down in LA but they seem good (loony, but good) as always, in-laws sound healthy & happy which means I can’t be totally screwing up the Marriage, and there is no movement on the needle that measures Pregnancy, which means there will be no new Hansens in the world any time soon (thank you drospirenone!)

This post is mainly about getting you up-to-date, but in the interest of getting back to the point of this whole Wyltie thing, I pose you, dear Reader, with a question: do you think there is space on, say, the Food Network for a loveable, approachable, slightly rotund & balding male chef in his late twenties (it’d take me a year or two to get through Culinary School & actually have some kitchen experience) who cannot only demonstrate his skills in the kitchen, but that can do so whilst also causing you to laugh hysterically? That is to say, if Rachel Ray were funny, but at the expense of being able to show you each and every detail behind her recipes, would you watch her?

‘What a weird question… why do you ask?’ Because, dammit, I want out of this corporate stuff (still like what I’m doing but it’s not who I am) and I want to be on stage in some way. Given the ‘slightly rotund & balding’ qualifications, I may never make it in a completely dramatic or comedic way, so I have to find my own niche, and I’m considering that maybe it’s the one-two punch of Comedy & Cuisine. The little bit of stand-up material I’ve been writing (yes, I’ve been working on it) has almost zero to do with food, but that’s only because I haven’t been focusing in that way. (Can’t shoot a deer in the woods if you’re aiming at the ducks on the pond… unless you’re really really bad at hunting… or if you’re Dick Cheney.) I think, I THINK, that I could make cooking funny. Or food funny, or some combination thereof. Or hell, I could just bring my comedy into the kitchen – Would you still laugh at Richard Pryor if he had done his Africa routine whilst whipping up a Sour Cream Cheesecake? Probably, because it’s damn funny. But I want to know what you think. So tell me already.