Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Hello my faithful readers,

Well, I just got back from vacation. I don't think I've ever had a paid vacation, so it felt nice to know that when I returned I would still receive a paycheck. If only there was a way to stay on vacation and yet still get a regular paycheck.

At anyrate, it's New Years Eve tonight. Normally, one would spend today reflecting on the last year and making promises to oneself for the purpose of breaking those promises over the course of the next year. I, unfortunately, am just getting back from vacation so I'm spending the day reading emails and catching up on random stuff, so you will get none of that from me!

But I wanted to wish you all a happy New Year and offer you all of the requisite salutations and so forth.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Ghost Town!

This year I have been suckered into working Christmas eve. This doesn't bother me too much, but I'm sitting here currently at my little cubicle, one of four people in the whole company who actually came to work today, waiting for something to happen so that I will have something to do.

It's strange being in Chicago during the holidays - especially in my part of town which is inhabited for the most part by people in their early to mid twenties. I would say sixty percent of my neighborhood has left town. And they will be back in droves for New Years Eve.

The good news is I have my pick of the prime street parking spots. Last night, I came home at 11:15 or so at night, having spent the evening with Katie's family and grandparents. Normally at 11:15, I would be forced to drive around the neighborhood for half an hour looking for an empty spot, eventually settling for something a good ten minute walk away from my apartment because any street closer to my house is packed with little Toyotas and rusting station wagons.

The down side, though, is that there was nobody walking to work this morning. And I mean nobody. I left my apartment a little before 9:00 and it was like walking through a zombie movie - not a soul to be seen during the day but, once night rolls around, you're going to be spending your evening defending your brain from people like this:

So whatever. I just have to power through today and then I have the rest of the week off (using up my vacation days before the new year) so that should be awesome. Tonight I'm spending Christmas eve with Katie's family and then tomorrow morning we're driving to Michigan to spend some time with my family too. It should be fam-tastic.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Shopping, or The Stranger in a Foreign Land

It's that time of year again: the time where we all must wade through seas of disgruntled persons in stores where we otherwise would never shop in the hopes of finding that perfect gift for our family, friends and loved ones.

The best way to shop is with another person, preferably someone you like and who likes you as well so that, once the long lines of half-crazed people start to get to you, you have someone to commiserate with and someone whom you will not be tempted to strangle at the end of the day.

A shopping companion also helps you when you have to go into a store where you don't belong. Like Bath and Body Works. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a Bath and Body Works kind of guy. In fact, I was blissfully unaware that places like Bath and Body Works existed until about a year ago. But when I go in to the Bath and Body Works with my girlfriend, there is an unspoken understanding between me and the sales staff.

"Yes, I know I don't belong. Yes, the smell in here makes me irrationally angry and prone to inappropriate outbursts. But I'm here with this person who does belong here, and she needs something, so we're stuck with each other for the next five to ten minutes. I'm going to go squeeze the loofahs now. Please do not call security."

However, I almost always end up having to do part of my shopping alone and, inevitable, I wade into at least one store where I clearly do not belong. This happens to me occasionally throughout the year.

Once, I went to a BCBG (some clothing store Katie likes) to get her a birthday gift and was greeted by stares and strange leers by the abnormally thin, black-clad shop girls behind the counter. I left feeling out of place and somewhat dirty. I think maybe they just weren't used to bearded men showing up by themselves in their white t-shirts, black hoodies and Detroit baseball caps. I don't know. I'm just saying, it was weird.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The same thing happens every time I periodically go shopping for ladies undergarments.

I had the same experience yesterday while rounding out my Christmas shopping. I won't say what store or what I purchased because it could potentially compromise the gift exchange on Christmas day. Heaven forbid. I'll just say that I was at a relatively hip store buying an item that was clearly not hip. As I was leaving, the employed hipster guarding the exit (presumably to ensure that I wasn't walking out with anything too hip for me) took one look at my item and managed to put together a "wow, that's... uh... kickass."

A slightly younger me might have explained "It's not for me. It's a gift. I'm still hip. Honest, mister hipster." A disgruntled and stressed me might have said something like, "Kiss my ass, punk. It's lame little gifts like these that keep you from spending all day at your parents' house."

But yesterday, he got a relatively subdued me; a me that has accepted the fact that Christmas shopping sucks no matter what you do. So I just smiled and thanked him for his attempt at a compliment, resisted the urge to compliment him on his jet-black mohawk and his skull-covered hoodie, gathered my bag and left.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Michigan Coaching Update

I wanted to take this opportunity to address some questions regarding my candidacy for the University of Michigan's coaching position.

It has come to my attention via the media that my alma mater has "hired" a supposed "name" coach as the new figure head for the University of Michigan Wolverines Football Team. The media (and the Michigan AD and the President of the School) would have you believe that they have hired Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia, a man who has a record of 60 wins to 26 losses and who basically invented the spread offense.

If this were true, I suppose it would be a fantastic hire.

However, I wanted to let you know that despite this "news," I have still been in contact with the University regarding my candidacy for the job.

Now sure, you might want to quibble about what "in contact" means. For some, "in contact" means receiving calls from the higher ups and meeting in Toledo, or being "announced" in person to the U of M staff. For others, it means calling in to the Literature, Science and Arts Department's admissions line and leaving angry messages because people are too busy to call you back. Whatever; I'm not here to argue semantics.

The point is that in the realm of college coaching, of which I have been a part for approximately one week, people often say one thing but do another, and nothing is certain until that contract is signed. And even then, who knows? Look at Le Smiles! He said no to the University over and over again and yet people still thought he was going to take the job. Hell, for all we know, he still might.

So until Florida's ballots are properly counted and the supreme court has ruled, rest assured, dear supporters, my hat is still in the ring.

Go Blue.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Damn You, Metra!

It's about 8:25 on a wintery Sunday night and I'm watching the bright headlights of the Metra train approaching the Bartlett, Illinois Metra station. I make my way towards the side of the tracks with five or six other random passengers hoping to catch the train. I check my watch; the train is running about 5 minutes late.

I look back to my girlfriend, who is waiving goodbye from the warm confines of her car. I wave back to her, then wade through the snow on my way to the platform.

I make it there just in time to watch the Metra train blow past me and the other five or six random passengers.

There is a moment where the passengers and I look at one another in shared disbelief. I look over to Katie's car so that she too can share in our disbelief. Then we all collectively look down the tracks towards the train's tail lights. I hear someone say, "What the fuck was that about?"

And then, down at the end of the platform, the train slows down and then stops a good 50 yards away from us. I look but do not see any passengers waiting at the end of the platform, only we passengers standing now 50 yards away from the train. No need for a shared look this time as all of us break into a run. The platform is slippery with ice and I am slowed momentarily by an elderly lady who is trying to scurry her way towards the train. I sidestep her, thinking that if I make it in time I can hold the train for her, and I continue to charge down the platform.

As the first passenger reaches the train, the doors close. She catches the indifferent eye of the conductor, who turns away to tend to his conductorly duties (whatever those may be). I make it to the train just in time to pound on one of the doors as the train starts to pull away. I briefly consider jumping on to the door's ledge, grabbing the handle bar and holding on for dear life until the next stop, but then I realize that I am not Indiana Jones and that it is currently twenty some degrees out. I take a last few steps as the train disappears off into the snowy night.

We loyal Metra patrons begin our slow walk back to where we started, hoping and praying that our rides had not abandoned us to the cold night. As I am walking back, feeling dejected and overall angry, I slip on a patch of ice that I had so sprily skipped on my earlier mid-winter run.

I skin my knees. The old lady asks if I am okay. I respond by saying yes and then muttering a stream of obscenities to myself.

So, Metra, what the fuck was that about?

Anyone know anything about voodoo or hexes? Can you hex an entire organization, or just the one train? Is there a way to ensure that the conductors cannot sleep at night for the rest of their lives?

Just curious.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Good lord is it a busy day today. It's the kind of day where you just want to take five minutes and retreat to your happy place. Unfortunately, the closest thing I have to that right now is this blog, so you're stuck with this.

I wanted to take the opportunity, though, to thank those of you who find this site by googling the following:

"World of Panties" (user is from Warsaw, Poland)
"Clever Panties" (user is from Greensboro, NC)
"My Girlfriend in Panties" (user is from Atlanta, GA)
"Panties Pirates" (user is from Chicago, IL - oh, wait! That's me! Damn it....)

I sincerely wish I could supply you with all of the panties pictures you could ever possibly need. Unfortunately, I don't wear underwear and I generally refuse to have my picture taken without pants on. I don't want to ruin the surprise.

Perhaps one day I will have an uncharacteristic change of heart. For now, you're stuck with blog entries like Foray into the World of Panties.

Okay, enough drivel for now. Until later, my lovelies!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ultimate Celebrity-Monkey Knife Fighting

Given the horde of new reality television shows spawned as the unholy children of Network Television to do battle with the writer's strike, I thought I might offer my own humble suggestion for a reality television show that I personally would like to see.

It's called "Ultimate Celebrity-Monkey Knife Fighting"

I'm thinking a cross between Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dancing with the Stars and the time honored entertainment tradition of Monkey Knife Fights.

We follow the story of B-list celebrities as they go through the rigors of training with bona fide South China Sea pirates. Hopefully, we learn more about them (the celebrities and the pirates) as they learn more about themselves.

We also follow the story of the monkeys, who are fed only spontaneously and encouraged to stab things with knifes. Hopefully, we learn more about how to turn innocent monkeys into killer monkeys.

We then get to watch as B-list celebrities and monkeys square off in a no-holds-barred fight to the death featuring large deadly-looking knives.

There will also be a panel of monkey judges who will award style points and decide a posthumous winner in the event that both the monkey and the celebrity become unconscious from severe blood loss.

Also, sports betting will be encouraged for the studio audience. I'm also thinking of developing a home game to play along with the show, possibly a drinking game. More on that later. And finally, the whole show will be tied together by the antics of a handsome and witty host (me). I may also add a color commentator as well just to spice up the in-fight commentary.

So, assuming the major networks start pounding down my door to pick up this gem of a show (and I think that's a fair assumption to make) I shall start contacting B-list celebrities for the fight. If you have any recommendations on celebrities you would like to see on "Ultimate Celebrity-Monkey Knife Fighting," or UCMKF for short, please leave a comment in the comment section and I will see if they are available for the show.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Your New Michigan Wolverines Head Coach Is...


That's right, ladies and gentlemen. I have decided to finally throw my hat into the proverbial ring. Provided the AD and the President of the school make the correct decision, I should be coaching the Michigan Wolverines to greatness next year.

Some of you other coaches may question my credentials. I understand your trepidations, considering I have never actually played football on the college level. However, there are all sorts of head coaches who aren't qualified for their jobs but end up getting them anyway, so I wanted to provide you with some facts.

FACT#1: While a student at the University of Michigan (that's right, athletic department, I'm a Michigan man) I attended every home game except for one in my four years. The only reason I missed one was because I had a show the afternoon of the game, which I know sounds lame but I think it was a really good show. I have also watched numerous away games in bars and living rooms across the country, and even saw one Rose Bowl game live (which Michigan lost due to no fault of my own) and also visited Notre Dame for one away game (which Michigan lost, again, due to no fault of my own).

FACT#2: Despite my lack of experience in playing the physical game of football (unless you count intramural flag football, which I do), I do have three months experience playing college football video games and am able to defeat any opponent, even Texas, by at least 70 points (on the easiest difficulty setting). My running backs also routinely run for several thousand yards in a year and win the Heisman trophy, so you have that to look forward to.

FACT#3: I can be very loud and angry. This will come in handy during practices (which I plan to run through my coaching staff) and in shouting at the refs during games. I also have practiced by angry hand gestures a lot and believe that I can truly convey my disgust to the refs in a very eloquent manner.

FACT#4: Having recently been in college (a couple of years ago) I can relate to the college aged recruits. This should give me an edge over other coaches because I can party with the best of them, although after midnight I start to get sleepy if I've had too much to drink.

FACT#5: I like blowing whistles and look good in hats.

Finally, I have absolutely no qualms about working for a measly $1.5 million a year and can promise you that, should the athletic department offer me the job, I am most certainly willing to leave my current position to take the Michigan job (unlike Les Miles and that guy from Rutgers who recently turned down the job). Money is no object.

So, Alma Mater, I hereby grant you permission to begin contacting me. I am available nights and weekends or during weekdays you can leave a message on my cell and then I can call you right back, I promise. I would be willing to meet anywhere for an interview, formal or informal, though if you wish me to come to you, you'll need to pick up the cost for my plane ticket since I am saving up to buy Christmas presents.

Go Blue!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Casting Lessons

My writing 5 class casted our show Monday night in a long and arduous process that lasted late into the night. This process included auditioning a whole mess of people, sneaking off to get more coffee and finally wrestling over who we wanted to cast. Since the audition was for two writing 5 shows (we combined with another class for auditioning purposes), the final step was for the directors of the two shows to take our choices from the talent pool and fight it out for the final casting.

It was strange being on the deciding end of the audition process. I did some directing when I was in college, but I knew most of the people in the talent pool, so auditioning was a lot easier. This time, I only knew one person from before hand and recognized only a handful of others. It was almost like a real audition.

As a result of my foray into the audition process, I've learned a couple of things to do and not to do when auditioning. Most of these tips I've heard before from directors, teachers, etc. but actually seeing this stuff in person really punctuates it. I thought I would share them with all three of you people reading because, for the moment, I have nothing better to write about.

(1) Don't wear black. It's actorish; it's slimming; it's chic. Ultimately, it's not terribly helpful to the people casting the show. At the end of the night, when they're sitting around trying to remind each other who you were, it doesn't help to reference you as "the guy with the black" when half the people in the audition were wearing black.

(2) You can smile at the casting people. There's no law against it and, in fact, I kind of like knowing that the auditionee has enough personal skills to at least acknowledge the other people in the room.

(3) But don't go out of your way to brown-nose either. And if you know someone in the casting group, just say 'hi' and move on. Don't have a long catch-up conversation. And don't give that person knowing winks, as though to say "I can't wait for you to cast me."

(4) At least learn your acting basics. I can't tell you how many people I saw who didn't enunciate, didn't speak loud enough, didn't turn out so that we could see them acting, etc. They're casting actors, not funny people.

(5) When you audition in a large group, you might be asked to give your name and a random fact about yourself. If that happens, just give something simple or something unique. It's not a standup routine, so there's no need to wow the casting people with something witty or hilarious. We had one guy who tried something like "Hi, I'm Johann and I like to stare at fountains all day." Dead, uncomfortable silence.

(6) Sometimes you will be asked to read sides. If you are asked, while the casting people would probably prefer that occasionally you look up while reading the lines, keep in mind that nobody expects you to be off book. So don't freak out. And don't start making up lines and ad libbing because your scene partner is going to wonder what they hell you're doing, which will freak them out and make you look bad. Especially if the writer is in the room.

(7) When you are asked to read sides, you are not expected to nail the character on the head. The casting group is looking for someone who can make choices and stick with them.

(8) Ultimately, when we were casting, we were looking for people who, in addition to basic acting skills and choice making, could relax and be comfortable in front of an audience. Auditioning is one of the most terrifying things an actor has to do, so one thing that will set you apart right away from most other people in the audition is to go in and have a good time.

And, above all else, offer the Director fellatio. That usually does the trick.

Monday, December 3, 2007


***I wrote a blog entry about what I honestly thought about a certain show, An Aerosmith Christmas, and it has since been requested that, since I was not asked to write a review by the Annoyance Theatre, I take down that post. Normally, I would say "Fuck you, it's my blog and until people have to pay me to read this shit, I will do what I want." But, in this particular circumstance - for the love of Christmas and in the interest of good kharma for all - I'll be a good sport and take the post down until they are done selling tickets.

Still, kind of a shitty deal, huh?

Happy Holidays,

-The Management***