Monday, June 30, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Ray - Week 25

I did so well. I really did. I was close to losing another pound. But the queso dip at the party last night was REALLY good, and I'm certain I'm retaining water due to salt like I did with the fried rice. So today I'm up two pounds.

More motivation to lose weight - seeing myself on the screen when I did the commercial filming.

That's all I've got. Since next week's the halfway point, I might do something bigger.

Starting Weight: 237 lbs.
Weeks 1-23 Loss: 22 lbs.
Week 25 GAIN: 2 lbs.
Current Weight: 217 lbs.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Things We Said Today

Last night we filmed 15-second promos for the Improv Challenge. Here's the tale of that little adventure...

I'd been playing e-mail tag with Scott on setting up the time and place to film the commercials, and he realized our schedules wouldn't mesh during the week. And since it needed to be filmed in HD (break out the Clearasil!) and Scott didn't have the right equipment, he gave me the contact info for Joe, the videographer for City Block, and asked me to take it from there.

The promo pieces were an amalgam (love that word!) of bits written by Scott, Carol and myself - mostly Carol. I added a couple of lines in an effort to make it more comedic in nature, but otherwise is packed a lot of info into 15 seconds.

I spent Wednesday night writing the info onto cuecards. To save cash, and to make RedFaery's job of holding them a lot easier, I wrote each spot on one card where she could easily flip it. More on that later...

Thursday at lunch, I studied the words and went over them in my mind, counting off the seconds to make sure I could keep them under or at 15 seconds. Got the timing down pretty well. On the drive home, I read them out loud a few times each (yeah, I was driving and reading - I'm really good at it too!). I think I found a nice level of enthusiam without venturing into "monster truck show announcer" territory.

I pick up RedFaery and head to Joe's house/studio, right when a thunderstorm was rolling in. Wonderful - how many retake was I going to have to shoot due to God's sound effects, I wondered.

Joe was ready for me, and I stood in front of a green screen while he focused in on my head and upper chest - no since scaring folks off with my gut just yet! We decided that each scene we worked on would be one continuous take, and the garbage would be edited out later.

The good points: I think my enthusiam was dead-on perfect, my gestures weren't too wild and distracting, and I kept my eyes wide and expressive (unlike my normal squinting). I think there's enough there for Scott to work with.

The bad points: I'm appearently really bad at reading cuecards - watching my eyes bounce back and forth might be pretty distracting. I'd much rather be making it up as I go - which I will be during the actual show thankfully. Plus I forgot I had a blue pen in my shirt pocket, so there's this annoying blue spot on my chest. Hopefully whatever Scott puts in the background keeps everyone's focus off those negative things.

The funny thing: My effort to save cash and time nearly ruined things. RedFaery was underneath the camera's mic, and flipping the cards make a thunder-like noise - as if we didn't have enough of that to deal with. When she slowed down, I'd miss my cue line. But between her anticipation of the coming lines and me imprinting in my mind the website address (which was always the next line), we got it solved in a couple of minutes. I just hope we make a DVD with a blooper reel - my way of dealing with frustration without swearing involves rattling my head and hopping in place, and I had no choice but to laugh at watching myself!

Next week sometime the commercials will be done, and I'm going to YouTube them and link them everywhere I can think of. Last I knew we had several verbal commitments, but no written ones yet, which is frustrating. Maybe these spots will spur it on more.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Ray - Week 24

I am happy to report that having my normal Bourbon Chicken with the steamed rice instead of fried rice prevented the huge jump in weight overnight. I'm once again a happy camper!

I don't know how much of an impact the switch to water over juice is going to be on my weight, but I already "feel" that it's better for me. I think the pound lost this week has more to do with the day I forgot to eat (previous entry) that any other changes I've made.

In totally unrelated news, I woke to find that George Carlin has passed, and I come into work to find that my boss' bother, a contractor that spearheaded a lot of the reconstruction at our offices over the year and genuinely nice guy, was killed in a car accident over the weekend. I'm unhappy today for both of those reasons, and they're both in my thoughts.

Starting Weight: 237 lbs.
Weeks 1-23 Loss: 21 lbs.
Week 24 Loss: 1 lb.
Current Weight: 215 lbs.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Forgot to Remember to Forget

Yesterday I did something I haven't done in years.

I forgot to eat. All day.

I bet you're wondering how someone forgets to eat. Shouldn't there be signs that you're hungry? Well, lemme tell ya...

Thursday night I had dinner probably around 8pm or so as normal. Then off to bed. I wake up early and immediately pop down in front of the computer to pay my bills (since my pay was direct deposited). Also I've gotten addicted to a MMORPG called Fallen Sword - it's kind of like World of Warcraft for cheap bastards like me. So I spend all my before-work time slaying monsters and spending gold pieces (that's actually me referring to paying bills). I have just enough time left to shower and dress.

On my way to work, I think, "Crap, I forgot to get a bowl of cereal. Oh well, I'll try to pick up something at lunch."

Fridays are our busiest days, since it's deadline day and out books go to press. I was expecting to do two layouts, but fortunately wound up only doing one. But I had to also focus on finishing calculations on a contest I was running at work, beyond my normal tasks of making sure everyone was working and finishing their books.

My stomach did let me know that it wasn't happy at about 3pm, but I was in the middle of layout, and once you get in a grove you don't want to stop. By the time I'd finished layout, other managers were already leaving, so I had to wait until the last person was out the door (in case they needed help).

Sometime around then (maybe 6:30), RedFaery called to let me know she'd picked up chicken and it was waiting for me when I got home. At this point, it became a game - how long could I go without food?

The last person was out the door at 9pm, and I always stick around for another 20 minutes or so just in case a printer calls in about an error. Didn't happen, so out the door I went.

By this time, I really noticed a lot of interesting things about my body. Typically when I go too long without food, I begin to slur my words and get distracted. They're preludes to a hypoglycemic attack of some kind. However, I wasn't feeling that this time, and it seemed odd to me - I was watching for it the whole time.

However, I was giddy. Like I was tipsy. I rolled down the window and sing along with whatever came on the radio, having a great time! Nothing bothered me either - not even asshole drivers.

I get home and tell RedFaery about it, swaying slightly and giggling like a schoolgirl. She's obviously concerned but to her credit doesn't give me any hell - she just wants me to eat. I destroy five pieces of chicken that tasted REALLY GOOD, and moved on to a bowl of cereal when that wasn't enough. I was finishing a bottle of water when I finally felt full, and we headed to bed.

Before and after eating, the scale registered that I'd lost a pound. I'm sure that if I were stupid enough to do this on a regular basis I wouldn't lose much weight, since I'd be training my body to converse fuel. Nor do I have any plans to repeat this day.

But it sure was fun!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Ray - Week 23

Everything I gained last week, I lost this week. That simple.

I've eaten more salad than Bugs Bunny. Fortunately many of them come with grilled and sliced chicken breast, so I can still labor under the illusion that I'm eating something of substance.

I did have a moment of revelation this weekend when in the grocery store, shopping for food for the week. These thoughts hit me all at once:
1. A couple of months ago, I told myself I'd start drinking water from the Britta pitcher, instead of buying endless supplies of bottled water. In reality, I haven't.
2. A couple of months ago, I told myself that I could drink diet versions of juices (cranapple, crangrape, cranrasberry, etc.) and it would be the same as water, but with more flavor.
3. A couple of months ago, I plateaued. Hmmmmmmm...

I made the decision then and there to give up all the fruit juices and go back to getting bottled water. I'm a creature of convenience, and it's just more convenient to grab a bottle of that from the refrigerator than pouring myself a glass and refilling the pitcher. I figure that I'll give it a month and see if I can get back to the regular "dropping a pound a week" schedule I used to have.

Starting Weight: 237 lbs.
Weeks 1-22 Loss: 17 lbs.
Week 22 Loss: 4 lbs.
Current Weight: 216 lbs.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Alley Theater Improv Challenge press release


June 10, 2008 Contact: Carol Dines--502 396-3154


*The Alley Theater’s new TV and theatrical project is looking for teams *

From Second City in Chicago to Saturday Night Live to Drew Carey’s
“Whose Line is it Anyway”, improvisational theater has become a huge
force in American theatrical culture. Now, The Alley Theater is bringing
improvisational theater game play to Louisville, but with a unique
twist. They are calling for amateur teams to play in competition to
raise money for their favorite regional charities.

/The Alley Theater Improv Challenge/ is set to premier in late summer.
Produced in television game show format, the teams will try out their
improvisational talents before both a live audience and cameras taping
the 23 episodes to be aired on both the CW (WBKI) and YCS later in the

The Alley Theater is currently looking for companies who would like to
compete in /The Alley Theater Improv Challenge/. Teams will consist of 5
members with the option of having up to two alternate members as well.
Each team will elect a Captain who is responsible to come to the Improv
Challenge workshop for training on how the games work. It is important
that all participants understand that they will be entertaining a crowd
as well as competing to raise money for charity.

/The Alley Theater Improv Challenge/ will place teams against each other
in a double elimination bracket so that every team will play at least
two rounds (shows) before elimination. All teams must be willing to
commit to playing until they are eliminated, which could be as many as
23 episodes if they are the lucky winners.

With the advent of the many talent competitions like “American Idol” now
airing on network television, /The Alley Theater Improv Challenge/
brings that energy and excitement to Louisville with this innovative
theatrical production. Amateur actors, improv enthusiasts, and people
who just love to have fun are all invited to put a team together and
play for a deserving charity.

“In keeping with our mission to create cutting edge productions with a
broad audience appeal, The Alley Theater is excited to bring this unique
theatrical opportunity to Louisville. In cross promoting it with the
loyal TV audiences of the CW (WBKI) and YCS we feel we have a win-win
situation. It is also very important to us that a local charity will
also benefit from this innovative project as well,” says Scott Davis,
Producing Director for The Alley Theater.

The Alley Theatre, the only cabaret theater in Louisville, is starting
its 2nd season. In the works for fall are musicals, revues and original
comedies, professionally produced with signature flair and panache. The
shows are presented in a nightclub setting where the audience can sit
back and relax with a glass of wine.

For more information on how to register your team, go to .
Registration for each team is $25.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Let'em In

I am the most patient person in the world. I have no doubt about this anymore - especially after the "Saga of the Screen Door".

With our tax stimulus money, we decided it was time to get a new couch. Mostly because when I sat on the couch we had, I sunk so deep into it I could almost knee my forehead accidently.

So we headed to a couple of furniture stores, and found a great couch for cheap at Furniture Liquidators. We paid extra for delivery, mainly because it wouldn't fit in the back of my Ford Taurus.

RedFaery relayed the story or the delivery to me the following Monday. They pushed and held open our screen door with one hand, carrying the couch in at the same time. She offered to hold it back and out of their way, and as soon as they said "it's no problem", it became a problem when the door slammed on the couch leg - breaking a hole the size of a fist in the plexiglass.


The next few days I spend on the phone with the furniture store, trying to get the warehouse guy. When he finally deems it necessary to come to the phone (I get the impression the receptionist finally beat him over the head enough - she was getting tired of talking with me), he promised to send someone out to fix it.

The guy came out and got the frame with the broken plexiglass about a week after the accident. When we didn't hear anything for a couple of days, I called until I got him (we'll call him "Glassboy" from this point on). Glassboy said that no one makes that type of plexiglass window anymore, and asked if I'd settle for regular glass. Sure, fine, whatever.

A few days later (and after another phone call), I find out that Glassboy sent someone out to put it in, and he broke the glass. So now they have to start all over. And I wonder what kind of chimpanzees we're working with.

I give a few more days then call back, since they're not big on status reports. Glassboy explained that he was having a plexiglass window custom-made to fit, and it would be another day. That was a Friday.

When Monday rolled around and we still had no window in place, I called to find out the guy is now sick, but he's going to bring it over and install it after he drops his wife off at work.

About 4pm that Monday afternoon (three weeks after the initial breaking), he finally gets it installed. However it's not a perfect fit, so he had to shave some off and hammer it into place. As a result, now the screen door won't close.

This weekend I'll see what I can do to "percussion engineer" it into place (that means "beat it with a heavy object"). Shouldn't be too difficult, and at least I'm not dealing with Glassboy anymore.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

I've talked just slightly about an improv project I've been working on. I've not been too forthcoming with all the details, because I've not really known how much I should be talking about, since you never know who's reading and if they'll steal ideas. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you - that sort of thing. I think we're finally to a point I can blog a little more about it (which if you know me I've been dying to do!)

Waaay back in January I read a simple line ad in LEO about auditions for actors, singers, writers, etc. for a new caberet-style theater. I was intrigued, because I can do all those things - plus being relatively new to the Louisville theatre scene, I didn't know where to begin to inserting myself. I reserved a time, I prepped a song and a monologue, and went and did my thing.

When my audition was over and I'd suitably impressed everyone (I DID get a role, after all!), I asked about the writing aspect of the ad that was posted. That's when one of the panel, Scott Davis, pulled me aside and started explaining more about this new theater, the Alley Theater. Scott, along with Carol Dines, had restarted this once-active theater now (formerly on Baxter Avenue, now in City Block) with the intention of doing all sorts of cabaret-style projects and trying innovative things with the space.

I saw my opportunity and took it. I brought up my experience with coordinating RASCAL Improv and my desire to get involved with a similar project. Scott indicated that they had designs along those lines further down the road, and he would definitely keep me in mind when that time came around. I left feeling like a superstar.

Fast-forward about 2 months. We're coming to the opening of "Blue Plate Special" and all is going well. During one of the breaks, I'm chatting with Scott and Carol, and Scott mentions that the improv idea he has is getting moved to the front burner. I renew my statement that I'd love to be a part of making it happen, just in case he'd forgotten. I guess he hadn't, because he gives me the skinny on his idea.

He wanted to take the skits that you'd see on "Who's Line Is It Anyway" and make a competition show out of it, with teams competing for charity. It's a pretty common notion in cities with a lot of improv groups (like LA, Chicago and New York), but in this case he wanted to persue local companies to form their own teams.

The rest of our rehearsal, I kept thinking about all the possibilities. I couldn't shake it. That night I wrote an outline of how I thought the show could be constructed, taking from game shows like Family Feud, the Match Game, the Gong Show and American Idol (yes, it's a game show!). I e-mailed the outline to both Scott and Carol and hoped that they didn't think I was trying to usurp their ideas and make them my own.

Fortunately they didn't. Scott replied that it was pretty much how they'd envisioned it, and he'd be getting in contact with me again when they finished the next production being put on at Alley. Since Scott was directing and starring in and promoting this one, his free-time was nothing. I'm nothing if not patient.

About April, when "The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged)" wrapped, I wrote to see if there had been an update. Scott replied that they'd already been contacting some media outlets to see if they wanted to field teams, and had already met with some success. I gave him a few ideas of venues to chase he might not have thought of, such as Ohio Valley Wrestling. Hey, if anyone was going to be hilarious to watch, it would be these guys, right?

That's when I got the surprise of my life. Scott wrote and asked for help to cut the show down from it's hour-long format for stage production to a 30-minute version, as he was approaching the local TV station for a regular timeslot.

Television? Really???!

That's a whole new level of intensity I've not experienced yet. Most of you know I've struggled with insecurities about moving into a more professional level of acting, and this was just another spice in the stew. But I've learned a few things to combat those issues in the last couple of months.

The first I've blantantly stolen from RedFaery - when she experiences fear in something, she researches the hell out of it, analyzes it to the nth degree, and draws comfort in that knowledge. That's pretty easy here to do here.

Second, I've learned to be comicly arrogant. I like grinning at my wife and a few friends and saying things like, "I'm gonna be a TV star!" It's an effective way to shunt the fear away and replace it with giggles.

So now we're going to make a TV show - filming two episodes at a time. I met with Scott and Carol over lunch, and we talked about everything. The new format, how the stage is going to be set up, the teams, contracts, promotion, logos, etc. I walk away certain we hammered out a lot of the details to make this into something special.

A week later, Scott tells me that not only are we set up on the cable access station, but the local CW affiliate as well. Now I'm gonna be a TV star on TWO stations! W00t!

Currently, we are in the process of writing the commercials to promote the show, and starting the real push to encourage companies to form teams. We need 16 teams in our double-elimination bracket, and getting the word out should like we plan should get the bracket filled in no time. I've written up promo pieces that Carol is revising and adding to, and most likely sometime next week we'll shoot them. Our first taping (still believe I'm saying that!) is tentatively scheduled for early August, so we're going to be moving fast!

And all I can hear in my head is the loud click-click-click of going up the first big hill on a rollercoaster...

I'll post the official press release here soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Ray - Week 22

I've come to realize that while I love Chinese food, it's just not that into me...

I've been floating comfortably around 215 lbs all week, sometimes drifting up a pound. No big deal, other than that lack of forward movement I was hoping to see. I need to get to the gym more than once a week, and order smaller salads I guess.

Last night, we walked down to the Chinese restaurant. I got the relatively-healthy Bourbon Chicken, plus ate leftover rice from RedFaery's shrimp fried rice. Took all that to feel full, but it was still way less food that I used to eat from there.

This morning I'm at 220 lbs. I'm sure tomorrow it will have all passed thru my system and I'll drop at least 3 of those pounds, but I'm writing my update today, damnit!

So for my own good, I'm swearing off most Chinese foods for the time being. If Red's wanting some, I'll find something else to eat, or just have them package up some white rice for me instead. That's probably cheaper anyway.

Starting Weight: 237 lbs.
Weeks 1-21 Loss: 22 lbs.
Week 22 GAIN: 5 lbs.
Current Weight: 220 lbs.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Am the Walrus

I went to the dentist today. This normally wouldn't be an interesting thing to blog about, but I honestly can't remember the last time I'd been to one. I know I went once between the time I got my wisdom teeth out (about 1991 or so) and now, but no idea when that was.

RedFaery's had a lot of dental work done. Between her autoimmune disorder leaching minerals and her asthma medication decaying her teeth, she's spent a lot of time there, and has made good use of our dental plan - so I've never felt like I've wasted money.

After hearing her stories of how well they've treated her, I decided to give it a try. After all, cleanings twice a year are no charge, and I was getting a sharp pain when drinking cold liquids.

I drove all the way back to Corydon for an 8am appointment (yawn!). As usual, I missed several things on my paperwork, like putting down my signature. I almost told them to sign it for me - after all, no one can read my writing anyway, so no one would know better.

Back i go in the tilting chair and taking x-rays; I love the taste of cardboard in the morning. This is when I first notice that half of the dental assistants there were named Krissy, or Chrissy. I have to wonder if this a requirement for the job.

As Krissy (with a K) pokes my gums with a sharp metal stick, and I ponder old Bill Cosby comedy routines, she tells me that because of the build up, she has to use a waterblaster. Think "sandblaster" - same principle.

As water spits up out of my mouth, I'm occaisionally squeezing the armrests of the chair when she hits sensitive areas. You know that pain that travels down your back into your right butt cheek, making your toes involuntarily curl? No? Maybe it's just me then.

Next she moves in with the metal hook, which surprising wasn't all that bad after experiencing water lasers of death. A few heavy scrapes and she was done.

Next came the polish. Krissy was a master with the little spinning thing. I remember back in the old days when the dental assistants would dip and polish, dip and polish, etc. Krissy would dip, smear the polish on several teeth, THEN polish each of those teeth. I get the world's first Tooth Ninja on my choppers!

While polishing, Krissy starts numbering my molars that have fillings to another dental assistant (another Krissy probably). As she calls out 13, 8, 3, 7, I keep expecting someone to yell out "Bingo!" I would have for comedy purposes, but with my mouth full of ladyfingers, it would have probably sounded like "Galglah!", so I passed.

Finally the dentist comes in and pokes around for a couple of minutes, declares that I have no cavities and tells me to floss more and use toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and leaves. I swear, that's gotta be the easiest job in the world! Wear white outfits, have everyone respect you and call you doctor, and surrounded by Krissys all day long!

I opt for the floride treatment, since I had money in the bank. I secretly believe there's a hidden camera somewhere in the room taking pictures of these orange things hanging out of my mouth, so they can pull them up and laugh later.

Finally I'm done. I pay Chrissy (with a C) for the floride treatment and head to work. Can't eat for half an hour, so the drive there is long enough to stop into McDonalds in an effort to returning plaque to my now-naked teeth.

I wonder how many pounds of plaque was knocked off? Can't wait to weigh myself and see!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Ray - Week 21

For such an active week, there wasn't much of a weight lost this time around. Bummer. However, at least it's going in the right direction again.

Managed to get to the gym a couple of times, back to my old friend "Mr. Elliptical Machine". I burn about 350 calories after 30 minutes on a regular basis, all while enjoying "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" on the little flat-screen monitor attached to it.

Sunday we walked around the Eminence, KY renn faire in 80 degree heat for about 4 hours. Any progress made that day was probably shot to hell by the pizza eaten that night at the wrestling PPV.

Seems like I've had more salad than ever this week alone.

Starting Weight: 237 lbs.
Weeks 1-18 Loss: 21 lbs.
Week 19 Loss: 1 lb.
Current Weight: 215 lbs.