Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “comedy”

I wanna hollar the loud, funny words!!!

Good grief.  Another Wednesday evening spent watching American Diggers on Spike TV.  Why do I torture myself so?

Tonight they went to St. Augustine, Florida and down in the bayou area of Louisiana.  There were some neat relics found and I do have to give them kudos for finding a $20 double eagle, St. Gaudens’ design gold coin.  They’re rare and worth a LOT of money these days.

I could probably enjoy the show if it weren’t for one thing — the owner/host/announcer/blowhard Ric Savage.  He gives history and information about the places they go and the things they find as if he’s rehearsed whatever the production team’s researcher has pulled off the Internet.  He yells at the camera during the entire show and heaven help you if your television is accidentally turned-up a bit loud and he finds something he thinks is wonderful ’cause you’re going to hear him scream about it.  And not just any scream — the well-rehearsed scream that comes from professional wrestlers.

He fully admits that he used to be a professional wrestler (I still don’t remember ever seeing him in a match).  I once had some “professional” wrestlers (they got paid but weren’t on any of the big circuits) come into our store years ago and they talked about how they had to practice their “speeches” that they’d give after every match and there were classes on how to yell at the camera.  They also admitted that the hardest thing to do was to keep from laughing when their partner/friend/ally/opponent/enemy/whatever said something incredibly stupid.  That’s why when you watch professional wrestling, especially from the 1980s-1990s, you’ll see people gritting their teeth or sucking in their cheeks.  They’re not trying to look mean and vicious.  They’re just trying to not blow their cover as an actor.

And Ric’s got it down to a science.  Every time he yells he throws his arms up in the air and sticks his gut out with a loud howl.  And it’s usually a “boo-yah” or “woo-hoo” followed by something either unintelligible or the name of the place where they’re digging.  You can predict where every scream is going to happen in a show and they conveniently edit it so that you have to hear it multiple times.

Sadly, every time I watch the show I’m reminded of another show.  One that many people watched over the years and caused many parents to complain.  There’s an episode of the old Ren & Stimpy Show called “Mad Dog Höek” where the guys have just finished a wrestling match and both the winners and losers get a chance to make their cases.  It’s hysterical and I end up quoting it at one point during the show or another because it fits so perfectly.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I give you the Ending Speech Scene from “Mad Dog Höek” — try to watch American Diggers and not think of this.  I dare you.


Last episodes of “American Stuffers”

Yes.  It is with a heavy heart and a hanging head that I admit that today I actually watched the American Stuffers episodes on Animal Planet.

You have to understand, though.  The satellite signals on the movie channels were spotty and there was nothing on network television worth watching.  Plus — and honestly, no disrespect to the Ross Family and their employees — but the show is just like a really bad car wreck.  You know you shouldn’t look but once you do you just can’t turn away from it.

I didn’t watch all of the episodes today.  I watched “The Dog Named Precious,” “The Cat Without a Nose,” “The Hairless Dog,” and “A Tornado Hits Romance.”  I will say that I’m very glad Daniel was able to put the cat’s nose back on before its owner came to pick it up (and no one noticed the problem).  The skin coming off of the Chinese Crested (which the owner proudly stated she’d paid $250 as a puppy) though was a close one.  And her having the dog’s testicles removed to have sperm harvested by a company in Washington just had me rolling on the floor.  Yeah, I’m not a biology major, but I can’t imagine them living in there for very long, much less long enough to ship them to Washington from Texas (where they drove from to get the dog freeze-dried).

The pet chicken being freeze-dried, though, had me baffled.  I know people keep chickens as pets.  I have friends that have had good and bad things come from doing that.  But if the chicken dies on its own, I’d be thinking about disposing of it correctly, not how it’s going to look in the center of the dinner table as a centerpiece.  Okay, the lady with the chicken actually said she was going to decorate her chicken coops with all of her pet chickens after they die and she has them freeze-dried.  And she named all of them after characters from Jersey Shore.  So, take from that what you want.

I can say that I was moved by the lady who had her Yorkie for 14 years and met the crew from Xtreme Taxidermy at the Big Buck Classic Hunters’ Convention (where most of the other attendees were grossed-out by the pets on display).  She’d had a lot of loss in her life and having her dog preserved as a way to help her cope may not be for me but I sure hope it helps her.  Plus, she wants the dog buried with her when she passes away.  Sadly, the dog will look better longer than she will, but at least they’ll be together.

And I also have to admit that the story about the dog that had been skinned by another taxidermist and left the crew of the shop with a puzzle on how to make him look good again was interesting.  Mostly because they were very careful to not tell the lady who brought in the dog how badly butchered the job the previous taxidermist did.  I was glad to see that they were able to take that idiot’s mistakes and fix it so the lady was happy.  Now I just hope she doesn’t watch the episode and see exactly what was done to her dog.

So, yeah, I let the redneck in me have a few laughs and sat agog at some of the things said/done on the show.  There aren’t any future episodes coming (it was cancelled), but Romance, Arkansas isn’t too terribly far from my family’s old stomping grounds.  I’m pretty sure I could find it if I felt the need.

How bored am I today??

Got a chance to sleep-in a bit this morning.  Mostly because I forgot to set my alarm and Celeste realized I was sleeping soundly and didn’t want to wake me.  Sadly, that made me late for taking my medication.  Oh, it wasn’t so late that it made me ill or have a bad reaction — it just meant that the time I would be zonked-out because of the side-effects would be much later in the morning and could have screwed up my schedule for the day.

But then I remembered, I didn’t have a schedule for today.  Laundry was done by Husband (THANK YOU!) and the dogs and cat were watered and fed this morning by Youngest Son.

So, what have I done today?  Sadly, I’ve sat and watched a marathon of The Pink Panther, Return of the Pink Panther, and Revenge of the Pink Panther.  If I wanted to, I could switch the channel at the moment and watch A Shot in the Dark — the funniest of all of the “Pink Panther/Inspector Clouseau” movies.  Actually, my favorite characters are Cato and Inspector Dreyfus.  Burt Kwuok was hysterical and Herbert Lom perfected the nervous tic that showed just how insane Clouseau made Dreyfus.

I remember watching the early “Pink Panther” movies on television (since I wasn’t born when they were made) but the later ones I remember going to see in the theater.  Of course, as a kid, I thought the slapstick was hysterical.  Now that I’m much older, the same things don’t make me laugh but I still get a big chuckle out of the jokes I didn’t understand years ago.

Classic movies are the ones that can stand the test of time.  I worry, though, that these classics will soon be removed from the “classic bin” because many people today would not get the jokes and/or cultural/current event references made in them.

Towel and Star Wars Day — Celebrate both!

No new news on the job front.  My Cadre Manager was supposed to get back in touch with my ERO counselor but that didn’t happen.  I have been given lots of really good advice and had friends recommend a lot of options.  I’m keeping everything open at the moment.  I’ll continue fighting for what’s best for my family and me.

So, since there’s really nothing new, I’ll just wish everyone a Happy Towel Day and Happy Star Wars Day.  Towel Day is for fans of Douglas Adams and his “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy” (all six books) and in memory of his death on this date in 2001.  Star Wars Day marks the anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope in 1977.  35 years ago….wow, I feel old.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read Douglas’ books (not just the H2G2 series) as well as listened to the radio shows, audiobooks, and watched the movies.  Douglas Adams also worked on episodes of Doctor Who and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  You can tell I’m a big fan, huh?

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen the original trilogy of Star Wars.  I even have the theatrical releases on DVD because I can’t stand watching all of the added on stuff from 1997.  I remember seeing the movies in the theater, when that was the only option, and then recording them off HBO onto our Betamax player (yes, I really am that old) and watching them every day after school.

Hey, when your dad is the principal of your school, you don’t hang out with a lot of people, and you’re focused on keeping your grades high you find yourself as one of the biggest geeks doing what geeks do best — reciting movie lines.  After I’d seen each of the original three over 500 times each, I quit counting.  I still have no idea how many times I’ve seen them all.  In college I could win bets by having people play a part of the soundtrack and begin to act and recite the exact scene just based on the music!  Okay, it was only good for winning bar bets and has never helped me in any sort of career, but it was fun all the same!

So all you hoopy froods, get your towels and grab a bottle of Old Janx Spirit (from H2G2 or SW, your choice) and head out to Millyways!

Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all. — Douglas Adams

To “Potter” or to “Potter Squared”

Just returned home from finally being able to see The Avengers.  Really enjoyed it, even more than I thought I would.  A lot of the “inside” jokes and the two scenes during the credits were very good.  Saw the movie in 3D but it really didn’t seem to make a difference.  Of course, with my poor vision, I’m not surprised.

Now I’m debating with Husband and Youngest Son about what to watch on television tonight.  HBO is premiering Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 tonight.  I have them all on DVDs and Blu-Ray, but I still love watching the movies (and reading the books).

In honor of the premiere, HBO is showing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1followed by Part 2 as a sort of “mini-marathon.”  HBO East is currently showing Part 2 (and I’m watching it as I write) but Youngest Son also wants to watch both which will start in about 20 minutes on HBO West.  Husband doesn’t want to watch Part 1 but I think he’s been outvoted on this adventure.

And I still think Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling missed the boat when these movies could have been shown back-to-back in the theaters during the release of the 2nd part.  I can do 2 in a row, but if they ever try to show all 8, they’ll need to provide lots of caffeine and blankets for naps.

Quickie post tonight

Youngest Son is away at a birthday party/sleepover.  Tonight Husband and I went out to dinner and watched the Stan Lee special and Thor on EPIX.  It’s the free weekend to try that channel on satellite and they have neat shows.  Now I’m watching/listening to The Secret Policeman’s’ Ball ’cause Eddie Izzard is hosting it along with a bunch of other comedians and musicians.  I usually never get to watch it live and since it’s on, I figured I might as well.

So, don’t be surprised if all of my posts are short this weekend.  With EPIX channels 1, 2, 3, and Drive-In free, I plan to watch a lot of good (and bad) movies!

Am-Dram: Junior Edition — Ad-libbing Addiction

The second production of The Borrowers is over and the kids did very well tonight.  The crowd wasn’t as large and there were the rude ones who wanted to talk all through the performance, but the actors and crew did a great job of keeping everything going as smoothly as they could.

Youngest Son, however, did get a talking-to on the way home.  He did a really good job and is one of the few actors who doesn’t have a microphone but you can hear him throughout the theatre.  Sadly, he’s got too much of Husband and me in him.  We both get bored easily when things are too easy and we both have a very dark and dry sense of humor.  That being said, Youngest Son almost doesn’t stand a chance.  He has friends at school and hangs out with some as much as possible.  Most of them are in band and/or theatre as well.  But he is known for being annoying.  I even saw a post on his Facebook page that said she thought he was nice but that he’s too annoying and too much of a smart aleck in band class.  And some teachers report that he can be irritating in class when he gets bored.  I tell them to keep him busy and they won’t have a problem with it but they never listen to me.

One bad habit he’s picked up is ad-libbing when something isn’t working right.  He doesn’t go way off on a tangent that isn’t related to what’s going on, but he’s quick with a response or, especially onstage, ready to grab the spotlight until whatever is causing the problem can be remedied.  For example, in class one day his teacher was upset at the amount of noise the students were making.  She asked, “Why do I hear talking?” and Youngest Son, without missing a beat, said, “Because you have ears!”  (For the record, he didn’t get in trouble for that — just told to “shut up.”)  During the performance tonight, I could see the wheels of his mind turning when one character skipped a section in which Youngest Son was supposed to exit the stage.  He stayed out there trying to look like he belonged in the scene until he finally heard a pause long enough for him to yell, “Yes!  I’ll be running away, and with this wooden spoon I don’t know where it came from!” as he grabbed a prop another actor had dropped and made his way off the stage.

During a scene change, he and another actor were bringing out one of those wooden cable spools that they decorated to look like a spool of thread.  The other boy started arguing over which side went up when, a little to loudly, Youngest Son said, “It really doesn’t matter what side goes up!  No one can tell.  Now make yourself useful,” as he handed the boy a basket to put onstage.  I was embarrassed.  Husband was laughing himself silly.  The audience thought it was funny, too.  Great.  That’s all he needs — positive reinforcement from total strangers.

At least last night and tonight another actor made his entrance on-time.  Youngest Son told me that if he’d have had to wait a while he was trying to think of something to do to fill the quiet space and all he could think of was reciting Eddie Izzard’s “Bees and Wasps” bit from his stand-up act.  I told husband this and he, of course, laughed hysterically as he imagined our 13-year-old onstage reciting a monologue asking questions like, “Do earwigs make chutney?  Do spiders make gravy?”  And, yes, in a way I’m glad he was thinking of something to do — but this is a kid who once he gets started has a hard time stopping.  He loves the limelight and isn’t afraid of too much when trying to get it.

So, I can’t say that all of this comes as a surprise, but after the ad-lib last night and the continuation tonight, I’m almost afraid of what will happen tomorrow night on their last performance.

Almost….but I’m still going to watch.

Am-Dram: WE DID IT!!!

Congratulations!!!  Our last performance tonight was awesome!  We had a great audience and everyone remembered (most of) their lines!

I got there early (as usual) to help re-set the “stage” and make sure the props were ready for the actors.  I did the speciality makeup for those who needed it and started watching as the audience arrived.  A few at first, which was nice but they also were very early.  We didn’t open our doors for ticket sales until 6:30 p.m. and some were arriving as early as 6 p.m., which is unusual for a small community theatre production.  Then when we opened the doors, more and more people arrived.  And more people.  And then a gentleman brushed past me “backstage” and asked if there were more chairs.  I had no idea who he was or what he was talking about (found out later that it was the husband of one of the Board members).  I looked out from my hiding place and the seats were full!  He and a friend of his added more chairs.  About 15 minutes later, they came back and got more chairs.

I told the director that we were still selling tickets and I’d decided to hold the house (meaning we wouldn’t start the show on-time so more people could get in and seated).  I kept watching the people coming in.  Some didn’t sit in the folding chairs provided — they decided to sit on the small benches built-into the columns.  People were all trying to make sure they had a great view.

The next thing I knew, the actors were taking the stage.  I hadn’t told the director that we were ready yet — he’d just given them their pep-talk and said to “Get out there and do it!”  So they did.  And people were still buying tickets.  But, they’re onstage so we’ve got to get started.  I walked out and thanked everyone for coming and gave the usual spiel about silencing cell phones and keeping conversations to a minimum but encouraging them to laugh and enjoy the show.

And, boy, did they laugh!  The audience got all of the jokes, “oohed” and “aahed” when they realized something was going to happen, and gave the cast a standing ovation at the end.  All of the actors did very well and I was very, very proud to be their technical director/designer/stage manager/prop master/everything else that needed to be done person.  We had a great company and I wish we could have done more shows.  We wanted to do more than two, but next week is Spring Break and most of our cast (either being a teacher or working with the school district) will be gone.  Oh well, our two performances will be remembered for quite a while.

Now we just have to think about what show to do next.  I’ll be helping Youngest Son’s junior high with their production of “The Borrowers” in April.  Maybe we’ll do another show in the fall.  But for now, I’m going to put my black clothes and makeup kit away for a little while.

Am-Dram: Stress level critical….

Just got home from last dress rehearsal for our production.  Not very happy.  Actually, there are lots of people not very happy at the moment.  Director came and helped bring in new set pieces early (which I greatly appreciated) and then left for the local school’s junior high band concert.  Myself, Husband, and another actor in the production all had to miss seeing our children in the concert because we had to be there for rehearsal.  I spent over an hour by myself trying to set-up the “stage” because no one from the community theatre “community” has volunteered to help with sets or props (except for the people in the show and I really, really appreciate them for that).  I tried to answer questions on why things were set-up like they were (I changed the arrangement of the furniture so people would get on-and-offstage quickly) and why we couldn’t have things we wanted and why things we had before we didn’t.

All I could do until the assistant director arrived was apologize and make-up answers the best I could.  I have no authority over the building we’re using and I have no authority on the Board to make decisions.  I even tried to placate the press representative (which we need because we’ve not had much advertising) into staying for just a few moments longer to get really good photos of the main actors who were coming in but a little later than we expected.

We didn’t finish the run-through tonight.  Lots of lines and entrances were missed.  I told everyone before the rehearsal that I was not going to be giving lines tonight.  I hope they all take the next day (we don’t have a rehearsal tomorrow and we open on Thursday) and review, review, review.

Me?  My Xanax and I have a date tonight.  And tomorrow.  And I have to see my therapist tomorrow, too.  I just want to get through Thursday — then I can deal with the new crises called “Friday” and “Saturday.”

Am-Dram is harder than it looks!

Well, the countdown has started.  Things are starting to fall into place, but many other things are still really in need of help.

Our first dress rehearsal for our community theatre’s play is over.  And we’ve only got one more to go.

Sadly, because it’s a play and not a musical, not as many people will come to see it.  We know that already.  When we did Seussical: The Musical in 2010, we didn’t sell-out any productions but we filled the theatre very well.  That’s because when you have a huge cast and the majority of them are children, you get all of the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, distant cousins, etc. lining-up early for tickets.  This production of Arsenic and Old Lace is adult-oriented and has no children’s parts.  For that reason alone, we’re not predicting a high turn-out for the show.  We’ll have people who come to see all of the shows and everyone who comes should enjoy it.  We’ve even censored the language (not that there was much of it to begin with) to make it a family-friendly show.

Because it’s going to be a smaller production, we couldn’t afford to use the main community center theatre like we did for Seussical.  It would be too expensive and even though I’m the technical designer/director for the show, the community center requires us to hire someone specific to run the lights and sound equipment, which is another cost on top of just using the theatre.  There’s stuff going on all around town and the school’s theatre wouldn’t be available and we even had to cancel one night’s performance before we started because of an event happening in the same place where we’ll be performing.  We’re using the lobby of the community center because it has a large staircase (for Teddy to run up-and-down) and it’s cheap.  The downside of it is that we (1) don’t have any theatrical lighting so everything has to be done either practically (with actual lamps and candles) or imagined, (2) the area echoes badly and the sound of some actors gets lost in the rafters, (3) the audience will be the edge of the performance area (and some performing will take place in the audience), and (4) other people will be coming in-and-out of the building and we don’t have any solid walls to keep external sound out.  It’s a technical nightmare — and could explain why I’ve been feeling bad lately.  If my name is on something, I want it right and as close to perfect as it can be.  This is not easy.

Another downside to community theatre is that it’s all volunteer.  I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy doing this.  Volunteering my time/effort is enjoyable for me.  However, I love our actors dearly but it’s not the same — you can tell them to be quiet backstage or to not go around the curtains where the audience can see them but that doesn’t mean they’ll listen to you.  It’s like herding cats at times.

But there are a lot of good things about doing this show, too.  I’m meeting people in town that I would never have gotten to meet otherwise.  We’re becoming a close “company” and having a lot of fun when we’re together.  Everyone is enjoying seeing each other and helping each other with their lines, props, and costumes.  Plus, with the exception of Eldest Son who’s off across the state in college, I’m finally getting to do a theatrical production with all of my immediate family members.  Youngest Son is helping-out backstage with props (because there are no parts for kids) and I even convinced Husband to audition and he will be playing Dr. Einstein.  It’s a fun activity to do together and I’ve enjoyed helping them learn more about something I’m very excited about.

Tonight was our first night “onstage” in our production area.  A lot of lines were forgotten.  Some actors were unavailable.  Not all of the props and scenery made it to the venue.  But everyone did their best.  If they keep it up for our last dress rehearsal tomorrow and into our production nights, we’ll be fine.  If they remember how excited they were when they first got the parts and deliver their lines like they did in our first read-through, we’ll be awesome.

Oh, and for those who don’t know, “Am-Dram” stands for “amateur dramatics” and, no, I don’t allow anyone around me to use the name of The Scottish Play.  I’d say “break a leg” but I did that onstage in college and don’t want to curse anyone else with it.

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