Friday, January 30, 2009

Moving Memories

The move went very well.

By the time I got there at 10 a.m., Heather and company had taken her things from Astoria, unloaded them in the financial district, and had packed up Tom's things from that apartment. I got there just in time to drive with them to Ridgewood and carry a bunch of stuff up a fifth floor walk-up, in my opinion the hardest part of the move (because there were no elevators). And yet, with about eight people (and one very adorable little girl who could carry up one pillow at a time), we got it done in a mere hour, and then celebrated at this really great Polish restaurant.

But all that schlepping up and down 40 stairs over and over again got me to reminiscing about a move from the old days, sort of the original Year of Yes moment in my life, and it's a story I'll tell now.

This was January of 2003. I had been living in New York for just a few weeks, didn't know no one or nothing. And I had just found work as a financial proofreader on the midnight shift. So, with my days free and cold and lonely, I would often walk around the city to get my bearings and accustom myself to winter in the Big City.

One day I happened across a bunch of people moving out of a building. I stopped to watch because they were carrying a bunch of ridiculous props - the only thing I can remember is a podium made out of skulls. I ended up holding a door for someone, then maybe someone handed me something, and before I knew it, I was helping this group of people move out of a theater.

This is the sort of thing that happens to me. A few months later, I ended up helping John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants carry some chairs into a different theater, and that's how I ended up volunteering on a production of People Are Wrong!. But that's, as Sylvester McCoy says at the end of Doctor Who: The Hartnell Years, another story.

So after an afternoon of putting things into a moving van and then taking them up to an office a few blocks away, someone finally asked me, "So... who are you?" And my response was probably "Just some guy," which no one really believed.

In hindsight, I realize that this is a comedy theater and school where any student would think it would be ever so hilarious to pretend to not be affiliated with them, that they just happened to show up and lend a helping hand. And for it to be true, for me to really be just some guy, that actually is pretty funny. So they were pretty amused when they realized I wasn't lying.

This really floored one guy, the one who was friendliest to me, and he explained (since I must've asked "What's with the skull podium?") that this was the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, they do comedy shows and etc. etc. etc. and then was like "You know what? I'm gonna sign you up for a class, free of charge."

And I was a little wary (I remember asking "Are you a cult?" in a semi-kidding way, but I have experience with cults, so it's always good to ask), but free is free and fun is fun and as I said, I had absolutely nothing else to do with my life except work from midnight to 8 a.m., so I took a class and six years later I perform with my Level One teacher. Such is the power of the Year of Yes. Pretty nuts, huh?

True story.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's Moving!

No, not me, stupid, I'm on a lease. But tomorrow I'm supposed to help my friend Heather move.

Normally I would say NO to such a thing, because I'm lazy and weak and hate helping other people, but two years ago, she helped me move when I was in a pretty desperate situation, and I take such debts seriously (it reminds of an old Dungeons and Dragons campaign I ran, where two of the players ended up owing a huge favor to this creepy goblin Druid. The favor was never called upon, but when the campaign ended, the players were still troubled that one day he was going to pop up and make them pay. It haunts them to this day. I love it. And here's a pic of him I drew, many, many years ago).

There's only one other such debt in my life, since Matt DeCoster (he of the terrifying bokken) helped me back in 2004, into my third apartment (I'm currently on my sixth and final one). I just happened to mention that I was moving that weekend, and he offered to help. One day, I'll pay him back, though I don't expect him to leave his apartment any time soon - I think he's lived in the same place in the six years I've known him.

I hate having debts (but doesn't everyone?), and that's why I don't even have any credit cards. I'm pretty sure I live debt-free (though one day some forgotten goblin from my past might show up to claim my firstborn or something), other than some shared expenses I owe Sarah and the unpayable debt I owe to my parents for giving me the greatest gift of all: a Spuds McKenzie stuffed animal they got me one Thanksgiving, which makes no sense, they don't understand how gift-giving works, but I loved that Spuds so much and for so many years.

But more than debts, I hate moving (but, again, doesn't everyone?). And my latest moving escapade was such a nightmare that I never want to do it again. First of all, it was just me (not just lazy and weak, but still recovering from my wisdom teeth) and Sarah, who is so small she fits in my pocket, carrying up a couch and table that were too big to fit through the doorway. What a nightmare, thankfully solved by removable legs and a late-night purchase of a screwdriver.

It's better when people help you, obviously, and at least tomorrow I won't have to deal with the hardest stuff: driving the van and trying to find a place to park. That stresses me out, and not just because my driver's license is expired. Mindlessly carrying boxes up and down stairs and elevators, that's fine, I actually kind of enjoy it as exercise and moving and looking at other people's stuff, but the thinking and the packing and making things fit and, like, "Who's gonna watch the van?" All that stresses me out to no end.

Also, there will be sandwiches, so I've got that to look forward to.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

77,740 Words, 97 chapters, 1 novel.

The first draft is completed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Let's Katana!

Yesterday Matt DeCoster and I took a workshop on swordfighting with katanas from the very nice people of Byakokan Dojo. When I woke up this morning feeling sore in the strangest of places (left calf?!), it took me a second to remember this is the reason why.

I know more about swordfighting than the average person (because I'm a nerd who's acted in Renaissance Fairs and has taken Dungeons and Dragons TO THE EXTREME) and less about it than anyone who's studied it in a mature manner. And my knowledge of katana-related stuff mostly comes from the woefully inept Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I was psyched to learn some real skillz.

And it was pretty interesting! I didn't know what to expect, really. A class full of martial artists, stunt men and lunatics, taught by either a scary badass or a weird Renaissance Fair guy with a ponytail.

But it turned out to be a lot less disconcerting than that. The most intimidating student was Matt (who, truth be told, is very intimidating), and the sensei and his assistants (I'm sure there's a Japanese term for "assistants," but I didn't catch it. And that was one of the difficulties in this workshop, they'd refer to the different motions in Japanese, and since I speak that language as well as a two year old, I had trouble keeping up) were cool and mellow and my age. They were a lot like me, in fact, totally geeked out about their passion, though theirs was swordsmanship and mine happens to be playing with a cake puppet.

This wasn't about how to look awesome using a katana, and I'm glad. It was just about how to kill someone quickly and cleanly and safely. Usually in one hit. And don't think they were all, "Swords are awesome!" (though they are), they talked a lot about the history and how it's dangerous. Nobody goes around with a katana cutting people up. But it's still cool to learn.

And when they demonstrated, holy crap! Like, they cut up these tatami mats (which they said smelled bad, but either the smell is reminiscent from my half-Asian childhood or I was a martial artist in another life, because I thought they smelled nice) and that was pretty impressive, and then when they'd spar, they would attack with these terrifying, lion-like roars that one never hears in this day and age.

I wouldn't want to fight these guys. I would die. Also, if there was ever a zombie uprising, someone who is skilled with a katana would probably do pretty well. THIS IS GOOD TO KNOW.

Here's a video (of them cutting up mats, not fighting zombies):

So we were given these bokken (wooden swords) to use, and DeCoster and I ended up with these really heavy pieces of wood. Like, the guy told us when he handed them out, "These two are really heavy," and damn, they were. It was like holding a two-by-four over your head for about an hour. Midway through one of the instructors traded me this light, toy-like sword, and I was like, "Whoa, this is what everyone else has been using? Ridiculous!" I MUST BE SUPER STRONG.

Eventually we sparred. Simple moves, obviously, and it was all about getting the form down properly. I partner up with Matt, since we know each other, and I'm more comfortable attacking him than a total stranger. Also, I trust him completely. No one I know is more in control of their body than Matt. But still, it was pretty crazy. The instructors kept telling him to relax, not be so intense, because when Matt gets on his intense face... THINGS GET INTENSE.

They say that most of the fight is willpower and intimidation, and I felt more than a little intimidated seeing Matt DeCoster try and hit my skull with a wooden plank. I like to think even the instructors were intimidated.

Just imagine his eyes bugging out, features contorted into a combat face of deadly concentration, muscles flexed and rippling... and then there's Kirk, the small and the meek, who always leans forward too much and can't get his shoulders out of their concave position, having to deflect DeCoster's bokken before it hits him in the brainpan. And he has to do this 40 times.

Obviously, it went well. No injuries (note that I didn't say my skull was hurting this morning), and a good time was had by all. I wish there was a more exciting ending ("There was blood anywhere!" or "Ouch, my brains!"), but this blog is about the real world, not my fantasy life. It was just a three-hour workshop. And, like any martial art, it's all about discipline, so there wasn't any jackassery or running through Manhattan swinging swords at everyone.

But still, it really made me want to take some sort of exercise-y class. Fencing, maybe, since that's like Dungeons and Dragons. Or tai chi, since that's slow and is with old people and doesn't involve getting hit. I'm scared of pain.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Last Post About TV For a While...

So while walking home from the post office today, I passed an FYE store that's going out of business and had everything at 50% off. And, being an eternal bargain hunter, I decided to see if there was anything worth picking up.

Obviously, there wasn't much left (there never is!). A lot of Playboy DVDs, oddly, some random seasons of M*A*S*H, and most curiously of all, the first season of Dave's World, which I don't think anyone remembers but Harry Anderson, Dave Barry, and myself.

To cut to the chase, after much browsing, I found the next TV show I'm gonna watch: Ultraman! I don't know crap about this show, so why would I want to watch it? Because it's got stuff like this in every single episode:

Already, it's so much better than Mad Men.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TV Pastabilities

Here are some suggestions for the next TV show I should say YES to in 2009.

- The 4400
- Cupid (the original series with Jeremy Piven)
- Spaced
- Torchwood
- Dexter (I never saw season one!)
- Wonderfalls
- Entourage (Sarah: Assholes think it's funny.)
- Dead Like Me (I really enjoyed this series, but never finished it.)
- Six Feet Under
- Deadwood
- Carnivale
- Twin Peaks
- Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
- The Venture Bros.
- The Sopranos
- Red Dwarf (more for Sarah's enjoyment than mine, as I've seen these so many times I practically have them memorized, but she hasn't.)
- The Wire
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
- The Singing Detective (I should just buy this. Out of everything I've ever watched on Netflix, this is what I think about the most. It haunts me.)
- I, Claudius
- Rome (Seen it! But I'd watch it again.)
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (and Smiley's People, if it's good)
- Freaks & Geeks
- My So-Called Life
- Square Pegs

(Friends of Kirk will enjoy guessing which other friends suggested which titles.)

I'm very interested in seeing Deadwood (because cursing cowboys are good), but I might want to start with a shorter series (so Wonderfalls or Freaks & Geeks might get picked first).

Spaced is also a good choice, because the episodes are just 30 minutes long. Plus, funny. It's a comedy, right? I think it's a comedy. But the Adult Swim stuff is only 15 minutes long. That's twice the savings!

I want something that I can finish relatively quickly (so epics like The Sopranos or The Wire will have to wait), because I also have to watch all these Disney animated films for research.

Last night I saw Bambi (it was boring and stupid!), tomorrow I'm probably going to watch The Sword in the Stone again, even though I've read the T.H. White book literally a dozen times.

Life is hard when you're me.

(Tell Me Why) I Don't Like Mad Men

(This entry title is a play on the lyrics to "I Don't Like Mondays," an awesome song by the Boomtown Rats. I often think of doing a Cakey animatic to this song that further explores the painful suicide of Duncan's mother, but that's another story. Anyway, if you want to avoid any spoilers about the first season of Mad Men, skip the entry and enjoy this video, instead.

Also, I need a new DVD series to watch, so I'm open to any suggestions. Ally McBeal? Is that good? Square Pegs, maybe?)

OK, I finished season one, and I just don't get it. I just don't. Thank God they knocked off a lot of the "Whoa, it's 1960 so we're saying and doing crap that's ironic from today's vantage point, gagagooey!" but what's the appeal? Seriously. People love Mad Men, and I can't understand why.

It seems so pretentious, like it's very subtle and slow and takes forever to get anywhere (and even then, it's so mild and understated, except when Betty shot at the birds, and thank God that never had any repercussions, I say sarcastically). And barely anything happens.

And yet, even though it's subtle and everyone speaks in code all the effing time, it also seems so goddamned obvious. Like, in his very first line in the first episode, I knew Salvatore was in the closet. So was it supposed to come as a surprise a million episodes in when he makes subtle references to his homosexuality? Am I just intuitive, or am I one of the many horrible fans who pat themselves on the back for being far too young and clever?

I hate that there's no music in most of the early episodes. This had to be a conscious choice by the thousands of directors this show has, right, but it makes the pacing go over like a lead corpse. Maybe this gets changed in season two, because latter episodes, thank God, had a sprinkling of music. I seriously thought my DVDs were messed up and they were missing a track or a whole speaker's worth of sound, the absence is that obvious.

And I live in a frakkin' world of silence. I don't talk or play music for nine hours a day, and I live in quiet Astoria, and the background of my solitary world is nine million times louder and more lively than the world of Don Draper. WTF?

Speaking of the man, I absolutely do not understand him. I figured early on (again, is it supposed to be obvious?) that he's suffering from some post-war trauma, and obviously he either changed his name or stole an identity (after meeting that old army buddy on the train and not giving his own business card), but is his life that bad? Is it falling apart, as depicted in the credits? Why are you married to your wife, then, if you can't talk to her? Why not divorce her and get with the Jewish lady? Why'd you marry Peggy in the first place? Are you a sociopath? Gagagooey? Why make your leading man so effing unlikeable (and even then, eff that, Dexter is a psychotic killer and I enjoy his antics)?

Is it because EVERYONE in 1960 is unlikeable (except for eccentric Mr. Cooper, oh, what a wacky character, I say with only a touch of sarcasm)? Do you want to make a show with only unlikeable people? I guess so, because people love it! Again, I continue to ask myself, WTF?

The only scene I liked (let alone loved) the entire season was when Sterling threw up. Man, I must have watched that fifty times. And not just because I'm an idiot who's like, "WHOA, he puked, get the camera!" but I was fascinated that they did it digitally instead of with a special effects hose (which makes sense), but then he would throw up on the floor and the painted "puddle" wouldn't grow or change. It looked pretty amazing. Is that how people threw up in 1960?

I liked that episode, actually. A lot of code, a lot of nonsense, but at least Don Draper got his revenge, instead of one-upping someone with some witty line.

In "Nixon vs. Kennedy," which was much more of a season finale than the actual season finale (where, I'll admit, finding out that Peggy is pregnant was the one thing that surprised me, I figured they were doing a crappy job of making a thin actress play a chubby character), I was just hoping Don would murder Peter. "Just kill him!" I screamed, because it'd be something bold and decisive rather than pointed stares and awkward silences and passive-aggressive behavior.

Obviously, it didn't end in murder, which I admit would be ridiculous and stupid, and I was OK with the end, but I just wish Peter had to deal with the consequences of his behavior, at least once. Or Don. Or anyone except for poor Rich Sommer.

And the worst part is I'm hooked on the damn show.

So I'm addicted. Damn it.

I'm gonna watch season two just to continue trying to solve this puzzle. Because while I don't enjoy watching it, I DO enjoy hating it so much. My favorite part is adding sound effects after lines that I find particularly pretentious or cloying. The sound effect is usually something like "Doip!"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let's LOST!

(Again, be warned: this entry is gonna talk about the fifth season of LOST. And while I'm not gonna give any overt spoilers, if you want to go into the season premiere 100% blind, you might as well skip it. Hey, but to make this entry worth your while, here's a pic of a bunny that the nice waitress drew on my receipt at that ramen place in the East Village:)

Holy crap, this season's got me psyched!

The event at the Paley Center was pretty cool! We got to see "Walkabout" and the entire season three finale on the big screen, which is a really cool way to watch the show. And while I wasn't in love with the shitty panel or the trivia contest (I never had a chance at winning one of those t-shirts), the main event was the first 30 minutes of the season premiere.


OK, it starts GREAT, in a way I would never have expected (though they follow the pattern with Desmond's and Juliet's introduction from previous season premieres), and you're like "Whoa!" I won't say who it focuses on, but I think it's OK to say the song played on the record - it's Willie Nelson's "Shotgun Willie." Don't read into it too much.

And then, right at the end of the cold opening, you get another pretty good knock, which I think sets up the direction of this season.

Also, a bunch of questions get answered right away, and it's very satisfying yet opens a lot of pastabilities.

Someone told me that early reviews said the first half of the premiere were kind of "meh" but the second half was "WHOA," so I feel pretty good about this Wednesday.

Get psyched!

Destiny calls.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Continue to Heart LOST

Quick note: This entry has some stuff (including a picture at the bottom of the entry) that'd be considered spoilers if you're like the Kirk of 2007 (meaning you've never seen the show, know nothing about it, but want to avoid any spoilers). If you're one of these people, you might as well skip this entry, though you will miss out on a rant about the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.

LOST starts up next week! Last night they re-aired the fourth season's finale, and it got me psyched. Like, heart beating fast, mind racing, a little scared of ghosts, legs all turned to putty, and shouting at the TV constantly.

As I said in the 2008 recap, getting into LOST was one of the best decisions I made all year. That sounds lame, but I mean it sincerely. What else has selflessly given me so many hours of entertainment? Nothing, that's what.

Wow, do I love this show, and here's one of the many reasons why: It's very much like a role-playing game in its complexity and depth. Each season, the world grows successfully (mysterious island to hatch to Others to holy crap, that wasn't a flashback, it's a flash forward, THEY'RE IN THE FUTURE), in exactly the same way that the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy failed (awesome ghost pirates to kind-of-crappy Davy Jones to, I don't know, somehow Jack Sparrow was killed but he came back and it just didn't make sense or was entertaining at all, it got too muddled and I hated it).

Like, with LOST, we always get more puzzle pieces... but the mystery still deepens. With Pirates, we didn't even see the Kraken get killed. And the main big enemy ended up being, like, the owner of the East Indian Tea Company? I get it, law and order vs. pirate chaos, but seriously? The top villain, after the awesome UNDEAD PIRATE and weird OCTOPUS PIRATE is A BUSINESSMAN? That's... not entertaining.

Anyway, this Saturday the Paley Center is having a LOST Event, and you better believe I'm going.

I'm psyched (aren't I always?) although the main attraction has me a little concerned: it consists of "a special 30-minute preview of the season five premiere, followed by discussion with a panel of LOST experts."

I'll have to ask the people in charge, but is it the first 30 minutes of the premiere, or a 30-minute preview? Because if it's the latter (and I think it is), I don't want to see that. That's too much of a spoiler. Like, seriously, I can wait less than a week to get the entire episode in all its glory, rather than ruining it with bits and pieces and "HOLY SHIT, DID YOU SEE THAT?" moments.

And though I like listening to panels, I'm deathly afraid of hearing information I shouldn't. The Doctor Who one at Dragon*Con was all right, because no one had any real information, it was all speculation and opinion. Here, though, ugh. I try to avoid any real-world news that could affect the show (example: if an actor doesn't renew his contact), so I might have to skip out on this, too.

Still, even if I have to leave the MAIN EVENT, it'll be pretty cool to watch two very awesome episodes in a room full of fans.

PS: I took this pic with my camera phone last night. Now it's my phone wallpaper! It also says "YOU BELONG" over Locke's head, but I don't know how to change that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We Did It!

If you've never watched Dora the Explorer - and if you haven't, what the eff is wrong with you? - I should explain that after each of her adventures, she and Boots sing this song to celebrate their success.

I love this ritual and all that it entails (in this video, I love how even the devious Swiper sings about how he stole something and sort of screwed them over). I sing it all the time, especially after accomplishing mundane things like making oatmeal or eating all my oatmeal or getting a CAT Scan to figure out what's wrong with my brains or rhyming a particularly good rhyme (my latest creation: "chicken" with "dick in," as in "I will only eat the chicken that I didn't stick my dick in." How this phrase hasn't been invented yet is beyond me, as it's true almost 100% of the time.)

What the hell was I talking about? Oh, yes, we did it, we did it, we did it, yay! Lo hicimos! At last night's Community Board meeting, they voted with a unanimous YES (with stipulations) to grant a beer/wine license to the Upright Citizens Brigade.

So all that karaoke paid off!

Now I wish I could sing this song about that Figment Theatre competition. The plays are due in two days... and I have written zero words. I fully expect to have 1,000 times that by the deadline (for you math fools, that's still zero, because 0 x 1,000 = 0) because all my concentration goes into finishing this book.

There should be a failure song for Dora and Boots. "We failed, we failed, we failed, we lose. Estamos malos, we suck." And instead of asking the audience, "What was your favorite part of the adventure?" Dora could go, "Where do you think we went wrong?" And after a moment's pause, add gravely, "Yeah, I think so, too."

What the hell am I talking about? I don't even know anymore.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let's Petitioning!

As some of you know, I'm a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre here in New York City, and lately there's been some buzzbuzzbuzz about opening a second stage in the East Village (just one tiny block away from my old tiny apartment... damn it, why did I ever move to Astoria? Oh, right, because I pay half my old rent and have enough space for a piano, a drum set, and a gerbil cage).

Anyway, opening a second stage is contingent upon securing a beer and wine license. And what better way to convince the board to grant one than to present them with a petition full of local signatures that says yes, the neighborhood would enjoy a theatre that sells beer and wine.

So this weekend a number of intrepid volunteers braved the freezing weather and trooped for signatures. I was one of them.

Even though such an activity isn't my cup of tea (strangers scare me!), it went pretty well. I got to work alongside an old compadre of mine, and most people who stopped to listen were very friendly and open to the idea of a new theater (incidentally, we'd be moving into the old Pioneer Theatre, which showed a lot of great, weird movies... some of which featured friends of mine) rather than another Starbucks.

Then at the end (we were all pretty frozen after two short hours) I was like, "I'm gonna thaw out by karaoke. Do you want to come?" And the remaining two volunteers (whom I had just met) were like, "YES," which I found amazing and awesome (because what kind of person says yes to a stranger's request for karaoke? An awesome person, that's who.).

And whoa mama, that was a fun time. I love karaoke, especially on an early Sunday evening, when the drinks are ludicrously cheap and the place is empty so the only people singing are in your group (and the bartender).

Anyway, the real point of this entry is to say that if you live in the East Village or Lower East Side, you can still sign the petition online. And although I think I got the 100 people in my neck of the world who'll do it, I might have missed some folks.

So if you live in the neighborhood, please sign! We can do karaoke!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Free Money! Ding ding ding ding ding!

As a thank you for directing their totally awesome LAST SHOW EVER (which, incidentally, will not be the last show ever - we'll be doing another performance some time in March, hopefully, when the band gets back together), Grandma and the F*ck Yous gave me an Amazon Gift Card, and I am FREAKING OUT.

Seriously. I'm overwhelmed! Because I'm sad to say this is probably the first gift card I've ever received, other than that Applebee's one from last year. So I don't know what to do! I can't be reasonable and put this money toward food and rent, I have to spend it on something I actually want.

Like I said previously, a good gift is something you'd like but would never buy yourself. And like that friggin' lucky kid in the candy store, suddenly Uncle God is telling me, "Kirk, you can have WHATEVER YOU WANT from Amazon. So enjoy! Go nuts!" But Amazon sells every single thing on the planet. I think they even have FrankenBerry Cereal, which I no longer enjoy since they messed with the recipe.

So, yes, very overwhelmed. I thought about getting a Doctor Who boxed set, but do I really need a DVD? I'm so weird about buying DVDs. I never watch the few I own. What about a toy Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver (which, I say with all seriousness, could come in handy)? Or a Doctor Who Fob Watch (I didn't even know they made those! But then I just read the horrible reviews and took it off my newly constructed Wish List)? Ooh, what about music from Doctor Who? That would come in handy when we finally get this Cakey/Doctor Who project off the ground.

Do I want to get several small things (I could get the first six collections of Sandman Mystery Theatre... but I've never read it, so what if I hate it?), or should I go big or go home (and buy, say, the entire series of Red Dwarf, which I need, since my collection was taped about 18 years ago off PBS and I don't own a VCR)?

Overwhelmed! I've gotten some suggestions and am hoping for more (please suggest stuff!) - Sarah's brobro recommended some Dune books, but I'm wary of buying books I haven't read - that's what the liberry is for, and Julie suggested this piece of amazing work, but I don't know. She also suggested gadgets, but what gadget do I need other than that Sonic Screwdriver (which I am TOTALLY buying).

And yet, the thing I need most is not on Amazon: A good, discounted calendar of something I like. I desperately need a calendar, it's how I plan my busy and dangerous life, and I haven't found a suitable one for 2009 yet.

My January is in a tizzy because I don't know when I'm workshopping my Disney Zombies game again or taking that katana workshop. And tonight I'm seeing Gypsy! I totally forgot about that. See? I need a calendar! Last night I went to Borders to find one, but their 50% off wares were shoddy, at best. I'm hoping to have better luck later today at the other Border and the Barnes & Noble.

In the meantime, I'll continue freaking out over this free funny money. It's fun!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Violet Krumbein's "Human Painkiller"

"Human Painkiller" is a really funny and terrific show, and I'm not just saying that because it's written by and starring my friend Violet (formerly of the Ghosty Teens) and directed by Megan Neuringer (a fellow member of the clan DeCoster).

I like this show a lot, so much so that I'm seeing it again tonight. I almost never see things twice! And you'd be surprised to hear this, but I'm not that keen on watching comedy shows. I do it all the time, but I don't often see stuff I love.

Too many of them, especially solo shows, seem focused on presenting us with five different character monologues and in selling the performer to an agent (and I understand, that's the business). Sometimes the shows are funny, even hilarious, but it's all too rare that I'm like, "You can tell that this person wrote something that they're really into."

And that's why I loved "Human Painkiller." It's so Violet! At first it seems a little crazy, but bit by bit you realize it's also incredibly savvy and quite possibly brilliant (just like Violet). I don't wanna ruin anything, but it's a one-act play, not a series of sketches or monologues (so I'm immediately more invested because there's a story) and she sings, tap dances, and has a puppet.

And it's... pretty weird.

But I think that's important, vitally important, in comedy, for people take risks or do something that might fall flat but they believe in it and care about it and are like, "Eff it, I think this is funny and it's what I really want to do" and are willing to try something different on stage. And not just for the sake of being different, but because it's who they are.

When I saw "Human Painkiller" for the first time, I was just so inspired and found myself thinking, "I wish there were more shows like this around." And maybe there are and I don't know about 'em, but I'd like to spend 2009 seeing stuff that, in the words of Mitchell, "freeze me up and turn my legs to putty."

So get used to it, readers, there might be some plugs in this blog throughout the year, but they'll only be for things I genuinely enjoy and make me want to Yes. Hopefully, you'll also Yes and see this show.

"Human Painkiller"
Wednesday, January 7 and January 28 at 8 p.m.
UCB Theatre - 307 W. 26th Street (west of 8th Ave.)
Tickets: $5, click here for reservations

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Let's Yes!

I just couldn't take it anymore!

I had to change the blog name. "YesDefinitely" just wasn't doing it for me, whereas every single time I thought of my Japanese kids Sakura and Churasan singing, "Let's yes!" to all my hare-brained ideas.

And I could spend the rest of my life regretting the name but not changing because it would be too much trouble and jostle the readers too much, or I could say Yes.

So here we are!

Let's yes in 2009!

Beard, No Hair

The barber (the same one from last week, though he didn't recognize me) shaved off about 75% of my hair, and cut the front with scissors. I wondered if he thought, "Geez, this guy just got a haircut." And I thought how funny it'd be if he was like, "And, God, whoever did it was terrible."

He was more conservative with the front, and though I thought it looked pretty good, it wasn't short enough. And really, the purpose of this haircut was to have something different, not something that looks good. Also, my hair grows like a weed so I figured it'd hit this stage of looking good in a week or three.

I had him keep going, then thought, "Eep, that's a little too short," but the mission was accomplished.

And how does it look? I think I look like a weird GI Joe with a skinny head and a beard. And my gray hairs are a lot more noticeable. And the sides are so short it's like baby bear fuzz instead of human hair.

But I like it!

If I get into a fight, no one's gonna be able to grab me by my luscious locks and slam me into the concrete, that's for sure.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Beard or No Beard, Hair or No Hair

(The first half of this entry's title... it's from something, right? I didn't make it up, but can't quite place where it's from.)

Winter = beard. Especially when I'm funemployed. I haven't shaved since... right around Thanksgiving, in fact, when my 90-year-old grandfather would sarcastically ask me about my horrible, unshaven face every few minutes.

I always go two ways about the beard (much as I'll go two ways about its dreaded relative, the moustache). Sometimes I don't mind it, since I don't have to look at myself 24 hours a day. But then when I see photos like this one from New Year's Eve, I cringe.

Ugh, I look like Sinbad (the Sailor, not the Comedian). Or Bluto. Or some cartoon hobo man. You see what you white devils do to us vaguely ethnic types? We end up feeling bad about ourselves because we aren't all pink and hairless. But remember this, you European a-holes: We Filipinos killed Magellan. He didn't make it around the world, he died at the hands of Lapu-Lapu!

Anyway, then I thought, "Maybe the beard just doesn't match the hairstyle," since I've basically had the same hair since I was nine years old, except for that brief attempt last year. The picture above, in which I'm wearing a hat, would seem to refute this beard/hair theory, but come on, it's Another Year of Yes!

And I can't stop thinking about just shaving my head. I haven't done it since right before getting my passport picture taken (over a decade ago), and I'm curious how it would look. Not entirely shaved, mind you, just super short, the same length as my bristles.

Then I'll see how much will grow back by the end of June, when I can make myself look all fancy-like for my brother's wedding.

Last week, I went to the barber for a pre-New Year's Eve haircut, but he totally didn't do what I had asked (I wanted a teeny-tiny trim, since I was "growing out" my hair, but he gave me a normal haircut, undoing months of effort). And so I can either stick with more of the same, or I can elect change.

So unless I take a nap today and end up doing something else, I might revisit the barber and Yes Definitely it up.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Blog

And here we are in 2009! I sure hope it's mighty fine. Did you know about Divine? She was supposedly the inspiration for Ursula in Disney's The Little Mermaid.

But anyway, to the new readers, welcome!

The story so far is this: Last year I decided to start saying yes to things, mostly to avoid future regrets of the things I failed to do. And I blogged about these escapades. That was my Year of Yes. Now in 2009, I continue the mission.

And today I said yes to one of those things that I normally wouldn't because I'm lazy and I hate learning... I figured out how to import my old blog ( into this one, so that all the glories of 2008 could be relived again and again under this new URL.

It wasn't that hard, but the idea of figuring it out, finding the help page and then actually DOING it was kind of daunting, especially on this hangover-y day when I just want to lazily play Smash Bros. and then take a nap.

But I did it! Even when the help pages weren't that helpful ("Upload your file," they said, but what file? How do I turn my blog into a file? What do you mean I have to find and then click on another help page to get that information? And they call this the future?), I struggled through the reading and then actually did the damn thing and here we are.

This wasn't a big deal, but don't expect fireworks on the first day. I mean, come on.

And here's the link...

Yes2009 was taken. YesForever? Ruined by some dizzy schoolgirl who clearly doesn't take the word "forever" to heart. And while I liked the Japanese style "Let's Yes," the URL's lack of an apostrophe made me squeamish.

So I went with the best answer from my Magic Eight Ball. Somewhere I have (had?) a Magic Eight Ball that actually works. It's got a huge crack in it that I tried to repair with this white plaster (?). The water has faded to a dull yellow and a lot of it has evaporated, but damned if it doesn't/didn't answer every question accurately.

When I think of real-life magic items (magic items being the best part of Dungeons and Dragons), it's fitting and accurate and kind of cool that the only one I've ever come across is that old Eight Ball.

That story has nothing to do with anything Yes-related, though.

Anyway, if you would like to continue reading the blog (and I certainly hope you do), please update your RSS feeds or Google Reader or whatever it is that you do, and I'll see you over there.

As for now, I'm gonna start the New Year off right by getting a cheezburger.