Friday catch-up

Quick update before I get busy here - someone just handed me my first paycheck. Holy cow, having a day job just got awesome.

Secondly, I know I don't have many readers who also have day jobs, but if you're ever sitting at a computer for long stretches of time, this reporter heartily endorses ListenToAMovie.com. Seriously, who ever thought listening to the audio track of a movie could be so enjoyable? They have a pretty impressive collection too. I listened to "Garden State" yesterday. Take that, haters.

When not listening to movies, I like to explore my coworker's "Shared Music" collection. One guy has over 11,000 songs. I have been put in my place, friends. I also am enjoying Internet Radio, particularly Indie Pop Rocks on Soma FM. I haven't tried their "Secret Agent" station yet, but I hear it's pretty good.

Boy, Arctic Monkeys sure are getting a lot of buzz for being basically The Strokes Redux (UK), but I'll be darned if "I Bet You Look Good On the Dance Floor" isn't the catchiest thing on both sides of the Atlantic.

First ComedySportz show tonight. Let's get pumped, everybody.


That's a match!

Oh, Arrested Development. Your star burned far too brightly to last forever. You will be missed.

So I haven't talked much about my other sweet improv gig that I've been rocking for the last few weeks. It's a show called The Improv Match Game (Mondays at 10:30 - iO) and boy, is it a lot of fun.

If any of you are old or have the Game Show Network, you may be familiar with the original game show Match Game. The concept is that two contestants are asked a series of questions and attempt to answer in such a way as to match a panel of celebrities - people like William Shatner, Ethel Merman, Nipsey Russel, Joey Bishop, and everyone's favorite, Charles Nelson Reilly.

The Improv Match Game is much the same, only instead of actual celebrities, we have improv "celebrities," which really works just as well. The show is the brainchild of Rich Prouty and has been running over a year in its current time slot. He's also the host and does an amazing job.

My role in the show is to sit in the tech booth and push the button that makes the music play. Because this is not the most intellectually taxing role, I'm allowed to have a mike and do a certain number of mike bits with Rich and the panelists, which is fun. I'm also the final judge on whether or not an panelist's answer is a match. I'd like to think I'm tough but fair, and also occasionally downright frivolous with my judging.

Anyway, the last couple weeks, we've been really spoiled by huge crowds of Spring Break-ers, which was pretty hilarious and fun. Last night, we did the show for about 15 people, 12 of whom were from Delaware. This is a very small crowd for us, but despite the circumstances, it actually ended up being pretty fun. I did some mike flirting with the cute female contestant and Jeff (the guest host) interviewed a guy in the bathroom (who turned out to be her boyfriend. Yowch.)

So you Chicago kids should come by and check it out sometime. The contestants can actually win prizes and it's a good time for everyone.

Those of you reading from out of state, I think a special trip made simply to view the Improv Match Game should not be out of the question whatsoever.


Round here...we always stand up straight (and hit our heads on stuff)

This post is dedicated to the Counting Crows' album August and Everything After, a pure gem from the 90's that I used to listen to on cassette. My cool Aunt Molly made me a copy and I listened to it incessantly. This was long before I had achieved any kind of pop culture awareness, so I have her to thank for the fact that I can pretty much sing along to the entire album.

Tara and I were enjoying the album in the living room this evening and we both agreed that the number of hit singles off this album is staggering, perhaps only beaten by Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill. (Six singles off that record. SIX!)

Anyway, I was helping Tara run some lines for her Second City gig this week. All the scenes are pulled from the SC archive, so the lines she was reading in one scene were originally spoken by Tina Fey. A little overwhelming, but I just tried to concentrate and cover the five parts that were my responsibility. I really think I nailed Kevin Dorff's performance. Pretty proud about that. The other four - eh, not so much.

But you know what else I'm proud about? A certain little place on the intar wubs where my lovely face can be seen. How about that, kids who used to tease me on the playground?


Things keep happening

Oh, so much to talk about yet so much sleep is needed. I'll try to narrow it down to a couple big things.

First of all, I just got scheduled for my first official ComedySportz shows. In the month of April, I have a few home shows, a couple CSz for Kids and a buyout for Franklin Christian Academy. Should be a pretty good primer into the life of a CSz-er, I'm guessing.

My first show is a week from today - Friday the 31st at 10:30. It's a bit of a "Newbie Showcase" except for one veteran on the Blue team and one super-veteran reffing (he also happens to co-own ComedySportz Chicago. No pressure there.)

Actually, my first couple of shows are with mostly newbies. What freaked me out is a little later in the month when I start seeing my name on teams with people who I've watched play a dozen times or more - there's even one buyout where I'm the ONLY newbie in the show. I'm looking at this on my computer and all of a sudden my brain starts screaming, "AAAHHH!! IT'S REALLY HAPPENING!!"

Make no mistake - I'm super excited to jump in and start making it work, especially after Tuesday's rehearsal (which I think I'll just keep alluding to instead of ever talking about - it's more fun that way). It's just that everything seems to be happening so quickly. Sometimes I worry that my victories are coming too easily and sooner or later there's going to be a massive failure to balance things out. We'll see.

The other, and possibly even MORE revolutionary news - someone hit up eBay this week and got a SWEET deal on a used PS2 bundle, including...wait for it...Guitar Hero.

Because if failure comes eventually, then I have to reward myself while I can. YEAH!

P.S. I just hit Alt-A, expecting to select all the text in this box because that's how I do it at work - I hit Apple-A. sigh...I'm such a traitor.


Make play fair

Tonight while walking home from my first real ComedySportz rehearsal (which was awesome), I saw a guy on the corner of Clark and Belmont trying to hail a cab. He spotted one coming down Belmont and it spotted him, but the light turned just soon enough to trap the cab on the other side of the intersection.

Immediately, another taxi tried to swoop in and steal the fare, honking and pulling up right next to the guy.

But the guy waved him on.

Another cab made a left turn to pull right in front of the guy, honking as he turned.

Again, the guy just waved him on.

He simply waited patiently until the light changed, then got into the cab he first flagged down and went on his way.

Fair play in the big city. Who would've guessed?


I needs my right clicks!

People, we have a crisis situation here.

My first day at work was fine. All the normal stuff - paperwork with HR, tour of the building, getting your cubicle set up, meeting people, all that fun stuff.

But I'm afraid we have a major issue that was not brought to my attention before I was hired.

I will be doing all of my work on a Mac.

I walked into my cubicle and there it was - a gleaming white iBook G4. And even though it was beautifully designed in that aesthetically pleasing Apple way, to me, it might as well have been a dead dog.

I barely tolerated Macs in the computer labs in the J-School. I certainly never expressed an affinity for them. And now I'm forced to make friends with one. This is awful.*

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go get used to having only one mouse button. In fact, I have to get used to the entire mouse BEING one huge button.

* It's not that bad.


Chapter 6 was mostly about Guild Wars

Well, here we go.

I start my day job tomorrow morning.

Tuesday is my first official rehearsal with the ComedySportz ensemble.

Time for a new chapter in the Book of Tim? Yeah, pretty much. The chapter is entitled: Chapter 7: In which Tim finally gets it together and joins the real world (not the show).

Here we go.


Garden salad with a side of pomposity

Okay, enough bombast.

Let's talk about Beck. Please, if only for a moment, let's discuss Beck.

More specifically, let's discuss his appearance on VH1's live performance program.

Tara and I were lucky enough to catch the end of it last night as we were hanging out and were absolutely blown away. Allow me to set the scene.

Beck is playing acoustic guitar and it's a pretty laid-back performance, featuring mostly songs off of Sea Change. He has an impressive group of back-up performers - a slide guitarist, a bassist, and a few auxillary percussionists: a shaker guy, a dude on bongos, and maybe a guy playing the fish. They're scattered around the stage, as back-up players should be.

Cut to commercial.

Now, as we come back from commercial, we see Beck, alone on the stage with his guitar. BUT WAIT! What does the camera reveal as it pans right?

The back-up band is seated around a nicely set table and they are being served salad.

I repeat: Beck's back-up band is eating dinner onstage as he performs.

It is as if they have fulfilled their back-up duties and have retreated to the green room to refuel for the next show, but the green room is onstage.

Then, halfway through the song, all pretenses of eating are abandoned and the back-up players begin to accompany Beck by banging on various plates and glasses and bowls.

It is at this point that Tara and I begin to laugh hysterically. Tara says something about how ridiculous it would be if some dude put vinegar on his finger and started playing the rim of a wine glass.

Five seconds later, they cut to a guy doing just that.

The cumulative effect was very well-done and musical, and yet utterly ridiculous and hilarious at the same time, mostly due to the fact that the musicians were incredibly earnest about the entire undertaking and performed without a shred of irony.

I salute you, back-up musicians for Beck. Well done.


The week that was

Okay, I suppose I've left you hanging long enough.

Have you ever had a week where the stars aligned and everything you were waiting for just kind of...happened?

Because I just did.

First of all, the rumors are true. I actually got a job. And not a bad one, at that. I start next Monday at a Marketing firm called Euro RSCG. It's a global company with something like 233 offices in 70 countries, so not exactly the kind of boutique firm I thought I'd end up in, but that's okay.

My official title is "Account Coordinator" and I'll basically be doing support work for a team that works exclusively with Sprint. A lot of entry-level type work like working with financials - billable hours and budgets and stuff - and then a lot of random stuff like booking travel and helping with presentations. Not the most glamorous of work, but it's a foot in the door and it's a salary and benefits and all that good stuff.

Plus, it's right downtown at Wabash and Grand, so I hop on the Red Line and ride 15 minutes to work. Much better than driving an hour each way to the suburbs.

But that, of course, is just my day job.

Last week, I had an audition and a callback for ComedySportz and on Thursday, I was asked to join the ensemble. This means I'm now one of the very few Chicago improvisers who will actually be paid to perform improv comedy.

Does this mean I'm a professional comedian?

You're friggin' right it does.

At least, that's the way I'm looking at it.

Ever since I interned at ComedySportz a couple summers ago and took their intro class, I knew I had to figure out some way to be around this amazing group of people again. So I guess you can say I've been dreaming about rejoining this family for a while now. I'm kind of surprised that it happened so quickly, but I could not be happier or more excited about it. So...yeah. Take that, improv!

I have a lot more to talk about, including auctioning off my entire childhood and saying goodbye to Jerseyville, but I'll leave that for another day.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank everyone for their thoughts, support and prayers throughout this whole process. Things do work out for the best, I think, and I give you guys quite a bit of the credit.

Life is most definitely great.


I'm acing life - Tara said so

I don't have a lot of time right now because I've got to hit the road - apparently my childhood home isn't going to empty itself for auction, so I have to help.

But suffice to say, this has been a pretty amazing week. In short, I started one super sweet improv gig, got a callback for another and...wait for it...


*sirens, falling balloons, et al.*

I'll give you the details later. For now, I'll just share the headshots I picked, because I know you're all crazy with anticipation about it. (I give these most of the credit for getting me the callback.)

This was #55a, for those of you keeping score. It will be my main headshot, used for most things. I had Rance recrop it a little higher from the original cut to show more of my hair, because I think my hair looks pretty great in this picture.

And I'll keep this (#76) around in case I ever need a more corporate look for some reason. Because I look pretty Dapper Dan, am I right?

"Well, I don't want Fop! I'm a Dapper Dan man!" What movie, what movie?!

Life is great.


Oscar...is grouchy?

We interrupt this rampant commenting by anonymous hot ladies who are in love with me to bring you...

Things we learned at this year's Academy Awards:
  • The male writer of the Brokeback Mountain duo is 10 times more creepy than his movie. Now wonder that dude still uses a typewriter. I'm surprised he doesn't use a quill and parchment.

  • Jon Stewart is even greater than you thought. And I already thought he was the greatest, so...there you go. Good job.

  • And the Oscar for Best On-Screen Reactions from an Audience Member goes to...George Clooney. Hands down. The man was doing takes that rivaled J.C.!! (Um...Johnny Carson. I don't think Jesus was well-known for his on-camera humor. Although I've always thought the bit about the plank in your own eye was inspired. It's a funny visual.)

  • Seriously, George Clooney is America's sweetheart. Or at least Hollywood's. I understand red-staters might have an issue with him for some reason.

  • I did okay on my Oscar pool, but I blew Art Direction because the category confused me. I thought we were talking about literal pieces of art, so I voted for The Da Vinci Code in advance.

  • Underscoring the whole acceptance speech means you can't tell people to stop talking with music like you normally could. I don't know why no one thought of this, unless the blow-dart scenario was an actual contigency plan. (Also, Tom Hanks is great.)

  • Salma Hayek, please report to my office.
  • I was delighted when Wallace & Gromit won for Best Animated Feature, then embarrassed when it was revealed that the creators were huge dorks with silly bow ties. Then I remember that I'm a dork too - it's just that I have no real reason to be in formal wear.

  • Steve Carell looks great with long eyelashes. They were almost as long as mine. (I have super girly lashes.)

  • Oh, Three 6 Mafia. You are utterly charming. Get ready for obscurity.

  • And finally, when it comes to Best Picture, racism will always, always top gayness. And that truly is a lesson for us all. Thanks Hollywood!


I'm thinking about getting into...male modeling...

Well, Josh has already broke this story because he gets up much earlier than I do, but I'll mention it here anyway. I had some headshots taken yesterday by Mr. Rance Rizzuto, who takes the greatest pictures of all time. (This has been statistically and objectively verified, by...Bureau of Labor Statistics? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's right.)

Anyway, all the pictures are online, so if you want to look at them and give your opinion-slash-make fun of me, go right ahead.

Although I'll tell you right now that I'm probably just going to go with this one:


I guess June...is a romantic month?

Holy crap, it's Rob's birthday too?! What are the odds?!

Sorry Rob, I have absolutely no funny pictures of you, so instead here's a picture of me on my camping trip with a burnt log that looks like the Hand of Sauron.

Happy birthday, nerd.

She had the best away messages

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to bring you this very important announcement:

Amanda is now, in her own words, "officially an old lady."

How turning 23 can make a girl say that is officially beyond me. But I wanted to wish her a happy birthday anyway.

For those of you who have never met Amanda, she was one of my good friends back at Drake. She would hang out with Raph, Emeric and I quite a bit for reasons that have never been explained. You can learn pretty much everything you need to know about our relationship from the following two pictures:

Here's the three guys acting stupid and Amanda just kind of laughing/sighing and putting up with us. Again, for reasons that are entirely unclear.

And here's everyone happy - Amanda and I are smiling, Emeric is doing his patented "throw-back head laugh," and Raph's attention is someplace else entirely. This was my college experience in a nutshell. Or rather, in two pictures.

Amanda, you're the best. Happy birthday!


How dare she! How dare! How!

First off, let me express my extreme displeasure toward Julia Keller, Tribune cultural critic, who blatantly ripped off my attempt at sentiment for her lead in a story about Don Knotts today.

The Fife factor

What makes a great TV character?

By Julia Keller
Tribune cultural critic
Published March 1, 2006

Barney, we hardly knew ye.

Oh, but we thought we did, didn't we? We snickered at your antics on "The Andy Griffith Show," guffawed at your pomposity and pridefulness. We loved it when you landed in hot water. Enjoyed to the utmost the zany scrapes to which your shenanigans invariably led.

Yet it took the recent death of Don Knotts -- that brilliant beanpole of an actor who portrayed Fife for five seasons (1960-65) and in guest appearances thereafter -- to wake us up to a luminous truth:

Barney Fife is one of the great TV characters of all time.

(Read full version here. Registration required. I think.)

How dare she? However, it is nice to know that such individuals as Julia Keller read my blog. Next time, just give me credit, okay Julia? Now let's put this behind us.

Yesterday, I had a job interview with a great company for a position I actually want! What a concept!

Tonight at Senate rehearsal, we did a lot of object work, which for some reason involved creating a torture chamber, complete with an iron maiden (not the band) and flesh-eating ducks. Then we were ninjas and killed each other in slow motion!

Tomorrow, I get professional headshots taken! What am I going to wear?! AHH!!

Life is fun!