Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sarah’s been dealing with the death of a family member for the last week, and yesterday we went out to the suburbs for the funeral. The only suit I own these days is my Whirled News suit, and it felt slightly wrong to be wearing my comedy clothes to such a solemn occasion.

The sister of the deceased wrote a letter to him, that she couldn’t bring herself to read aloud, so she asked Sarah to read it at the ceremony. Is it strange to say that Sarah did a wonderful job? I guess you shouldn’t review speeches given at funerals, but if you did, everyone would agree that Sarah did a wonderful job.

Sarah’s Aunt: Great work Sarah. When I die I want you to read something at my funeral.
Sarah: No. No.
Sarah’s Uncle: Yeah. Me too.
Sarah: I’m not going to be the person that speaks at everyone’s funeral.

Later, in the car, she cried and asked, “Did I do a good job? I just wanted to do a good job for Dan.”

Then later still, in bed, she cried again, saying, “I just don’t want you to die. I don’t want to see you dead.”

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Martin and Marianna's housewarming. A nice sophisticated evening with drinks and quiche.

Meador: Is your house sufficiently warmed?
Martin: Oh yeah. It's warmed. It's warmed as shit. I'm sweating my balls off it's so warmed.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Biggest Loser weigh-ins continue.

During the week, when I'm tempted to eat something bad, I think of the Excel spreadsheet that gets sent out on Fridays after everyone steps on the scale.

I lost four pounds this week, which was a real shocker considering how much barbecue I ate in Florida.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sarah's out of town so I have the bed to myself. It's nice to have all the sheets I want, going back to selfish cocooning, but it's lonely too. All these sheets and no one to share them with.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Maybe it's the the cold here, but I find myself thinking back to the Gainesville trip.

Here's a picture of one of our shows taken by Ricky Klopfenstein.

Our shows were a hit, standing ovations both nights. The first night we even got more applause from the people still hanging out in the lobby when we left the theater. A testament to the great crowds at the festival, but my own unavoidable self-criticism had me thinking, "The shows were good, but did we deserve a standing ovation? I mean, did we deserve it?"

It was fun hanging out with festival-goers afterward. "It's so great to see a group be funny and not just rely on dick jokes," one of them said.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that warming up behind the theater before our show, the cast spent fifteen minutes adding the words "fart" and "queef" to movie titles and giggling. 'The Defarted.' 'Mr. Magoriums Wonder Queeftorium.' 'An Officer and a Fart.'

Good times.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Looking off the back porch into our back yard, I feel flashbacks to the day we moved in (about eleven months ago). Looking down and seeing the movers trudge through the snow.

And as is usually the case with time, I feel it both ways, as if we just moved in yesterday, but also feeling that we've been here forever.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back in Chicago where it's terribly terribly cold. We've put this towel down by the back door, hoping it will block some of the cold air seeping in.

During my workshops in Florida over the weekend, I had a brief discussion with some of my students about how 50 degrees seems cold to them.

Me: It's around 30 in Chicago right now.
Student: Oh god.
Me: And that's good. People are probably talking about how nice it is that it finally got up to 30 degrees. [laughs] So, if you can take only one thing away from this workshop it's that Chicago is a miserable place.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This was one of the rare Whirled News roadtrips where we had some extra time to hang out and explore, instead of just rushing back to an airport.

So we decided to go to a nature trail to see some alligators. Unfortunately, we got confused and went to the wrong nature trail. So... no alligators. We did see an armadillo. And a frog. But we mostly just took pictures of ourselves.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We were a little late to the workshops we taught because Marla couldn't remember how to get around the campus she'd gone to college on.

Marla: In this building is where a little Marla was first introduced to improv.
Me: Wow. Such an important event that effected the rest of your life. You think you'd actually remember how to get there.
Marla: Shut up! This campus has changed a lot since I went to school!

[In case you were wondering, I actually had full workshops despite the fact that they were titled, "How to Be Not Funny." However, I did hear through the grapevine that the workshop that filled up first was "Be Funny." Lesson learned.]

Friday, January 22, 2010


Before doing our show for the Gainesville Improv Festival, Glynn kindly ties Adal's tie for him.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Office prank.

Chris, who sits near Tom and I at work, took a two week vacation with his fiancee. This, plus the fact that he has four monitors on his desk (I have two, the head artist has three, he's the only person with four) makes him the obvious target for a prank.

Ryan, who you can see waving in the background, hid the four monitors and replaced them with this one giant old monitor. Then, just to rub it in, set his screensaver to be a picture of his desk back when it had four monitors.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My youngest sister, Allie, is enjoying that brief period between graduating from college and entering the working world (she has a job lined up that starts soon). Like so many young people these days, she's passing this time by... going on a cruise with my mom.

Here's a picture Mom sent of their tour of Tulum, a Mexican ruin that Sarah and I actually visited last year when we took a relaxing Mexican vacation. At that time I wrote on my blog, "[Tulum] was really beautiful and I'd love to say that Sarah and I learned a lot about ancient Mayan culture, but honestly, we mostly took wacky pictures of ourselves, many of them involving Sarah punching nature."

Allie and Mom, though, were maybe smarter tourists, and took the guided tour.

Mom: [via e-mail] Carlos was our guide and he gave a great deal of info about the Mayans. We couldn't go inside any of the ruins. There was a red handprint on one building where the hands had 6 fingers! This was someone of royalty and Carlos thought it was because of all the family marriages.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This Edward James Olmos shirt I got Sarah for Christmas finally came in the mail.

You can't tell because of the screwy perspective in this picture, but the shirt is weirdly tiny. It's a Large, but in some crazy, "I ordered this off the internet" sizing.

Sarah: It's okay. I'm losing weight for the wedding anyway. I'll be able to wear it on our Honeymoon.

I feel bad. Here's a belated Christmas gift to make you feel unnecessarily weight conscious! I'm such a terrible boyfriend!

This is the smallest Large I've ever seen in my life! I know it uses a Twilight font, but this shirt isn't for children, is it?

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm heading down to Florida this weekend with some of Whirled News Tonight, for the Gainesville Improv Festival. Our second year there of doing shows and teaching workshops.

I wanted to teach a different workshop than the one I did last year, so the one I'm doing this year is "How To Be Not Funny."

(It's actually listed wrong on the festival web site. They posted it as "How To Not Be Funny" which is, I guess, a fairly subtle distinction. Could be worse. Glynn's workshop, "The Way In" is listed as "In The Way.")

Now, I know I know, "How To Be Not Funny" is a terrible title for a college improv festival workshop. As former Whirled News member, Jordan, said when I mentioned it to him, "How to be not funny? What college student would want to take that? You might as well do a workshop on not having fun, not getting drunk and how not to get laid."

The idea, though, is to offer a workshop on relaxing and not being so worried about being funny that you become manic.

But yeah, I'm starting to suspect I may have record-low attendance for my workshop. Or, certainly, I'll have a lower attendance than the workshop "Be Funny" which I see on the website, is also being offered.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

You get one guess as to what Sarah is buying.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I went to see the Backrow's yearly show at Sketchfest. The Backrow is a sketch group made up of a number of my good friends (Nick and his wife, Katie; Trupe and his wife, Wonak; Meador; Alexandra; Holper). They all went to college together and they still perform together now, even though it's just one show a year at Sketchfest.

Trupe: This is our ninth Sketchfest show, can you believe it? Next year might have to be our last one. It's getting too hard to get anything done with all our kids at rehearsals. Ten, though. Ten would be good to go out on.

Family and friends went out for drinks at Sheffield's afterward, thinking it might not be too crowded. The place has three big rooms. But the back two rooms were booked for birthday parties. As one of the waiters explained, "This one's for a 40th birthday party, and this one's for a 50th."

So, the one open room was pretty packed.

Meador:They'll be out of there soon, right? A 40th and a 50th?
Me: That's what I said, but the waiter said the 40th was booked until midnight and the 50th was booked until 1.
Nick: What?! Those old people are going to stay up later than us!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I've done a couple of these blogs now. A couple "Years of..."

I like to have links over on the side, you should be able to see them there on the right, links to the blogs or websites of people who have appeared in that year's blog. It's satisfying as the year goes on to see that list of links get longer.

As the end of this blogs draws near(ish), I've noticed that this year's list is significantly shorter than from years past. Part of that is laziness, I'm sure there are a number of links I should have put over there but forgot. But still... it seems pretty clear that I saw less people this year.

Of course, the theme of this year's blog suggests a limited focus, but it's more than that. There's no getting around it, I'm becoming a homebody. I go out less. I stay out less late. I see less people. Part of getting older, I guess. Settling down.

Sometimes I worry that there's something sad about that, and maybe there is. But there's something good about that too. It's good to be happy to be home. It's where the heart is.

Ironically, I almost called this blog 'A Year in Pictures of Travel' (just like I almost used that theme for my last blog before settling on Comedy), and I have traveled some, sure, but usually, and increasingly, I'm right here at home.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sarah: I was looking at this side of my ring today, the one inside my hand, and I was like, "Oh yeah, this means I'm getting married." I know that's obvious, but when I look at THIS side my mind goes, "Diamond!" This side... "I'm getting married." [flipping her hand over and back] Diamond. Getting married. Diamond. Getting married.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back to the deathcicles for a moments, it doesn't help that the ground beneath them is a long sheet of solid ice. Once at the bottom of the stairs you can't just run past the drop point. You could slip and break your neck. So, instead, with 4 foot icicles dangling overheard you have to quickly shuffle forward, feet never leaving the ground, arms out at your side, eyes forward.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trying to find the origin of a strange beeping sound in your apartment, the kind of beeping that may come from, say, Sarah's ComedySportz stopwatch that she'd forgotten she'd taken home, can be disorienting at any time. More so late at night. More so right after you've watched 'The Hurt Locker,' a tense film about soldiers defusing IEDs in Iraq.

Sarah: [looking at stopwatch] This was beeping last night and I couldn't find it.
Me: Well, we found it now.
Sarah: Although... I'm not sure if I turned the alarm off or not.
Me: I guess we'll find out tomorrow. Maybe we should watch 'Blown Away.'

Monday, January 11, 2010

They may not look like much in this picture, but those icicles dangling from the top of our back porch... are terrifying. Sarah calls them deathcicles. They're jagged and about half my height (and I am tall).

Walking off the back steps and into the back yard toward the garage, I wince a little, bracing myself for a deathcicle to plummet and impale my brain, leaving me dead and giving my neighbors an excuse to paint a new novelty tombstone on their back wall.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sarah: Is it weird that I use my Snuggie as just a normal blanket?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Since our birthdays are so close, Sarah and I have a joint party every year. This party consists of inviting a bunch of people to bar to have some drinks with us. For the last three years that bar has been the Grafton (which we both like, but oddly only ever go to during our yearly birthday party).

We don't make a reservation or anything, just show up. Every year I get stressed about it. Every year it ends up fine.

This year the back of the Grafton was even more packed than past years. In fact, a birthday party was already in full swing when we showed up. We were lucky to snag one table.

In this picture we're sitting around our one table while the party in the back sings, "Happy Birthday, dear Shaw--awn!"

But, like each year before, as friends showed up, space magically opened, and there was, for the most part, enough room for everyone.

Friday, January 8, 2010

With the holidays over, a new Biggest Loser challenge has started at work. This is actually the third time we've done this this year. I don't think I bothered to blog about it, the second time around. It was pretty half-assed. To put it into perspective, I somehow won with only six pounds of weight loss. Most people gained.

Still, everyone seems more serious about losing some weight this time around, and instead of a one month challenge, this time we're doing it for ten weeks (which, I believe, will put us a few weeks beyond the end of this blog).

My initial weigh in was depressing. I've gained back all the weight I'd lost in the first two challenges. All the more to lose this time, I guess.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I never knew this, but apparently Meador was in an issue of 'Weekly World News.' You know, the absurd tabloid that would have front page headlines about things like, Bat Boy, half bat, half boy.

Anyway, I guess about ten years ago Meador was on vacation and somehow met a wife of a family member of a friend (something like that) who worked for 'Weekly World News' and took his picture and added it to their photo file. A year later he's in the paper, under the headline TITANIC ICEBERG KILLS AGAIN! He's Martin Van Vechten, a Dutch man and one of the few survivors of a shipwreck caused by the possibly sentient iceberg that sunk the Titanic.

I'm not sure how I've known Meador for six or seven years and didn't learn about this earlier.

Thanks to Google Books you can read the article here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My 34th birthday.

Sarah gave me this card. Inside she wrote, "I made this card funnier. Enjoy the gift of my hilarity on your birthday."

Sarah: I like the card but Butt is so much funnier than Keester. Why use Keester?
Me: Well... I agree. But I think it was supposed to be a pun on Easter Island.
Sarah: Oh.
Me: Keester Island. The giant stone heads?
Sarah: [looking at card] I get it now.
Me: I still do prefer Butt Island.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We still need to take our Christmas decorations down.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sarah's 30th birthday.

Last night we went out to the suburbs and had a nice Italian dinner with her family. They made this posterboard of pictures of her as a child. I'm not sure if it was intentional that she was screaming with her arms in the air in all three pictures. Maybe she spent most of her childhood screaming with her arms in the air.

There was some discussion of dates of birth and the old rhyme about Monday's child which predicts what your life will be like depending on what day you were born. You know, "Monday's child is fair of face," etc. Sarah was born on a Friday so she is "loving and giving." I was born on a Tuesday so I am apparently "full of grace." Luckily, neither of us were born on a Wednesday which would make us "full of woe."

[Interestingly, while trying to look up what day of the week Sarah was born on, I came across this article that explains that, "Many computers think that time began on Jan. 4, 1980," the day Sarah was born.]

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I sometimes wish I had a better, fancier camera. But I know that as awesome as SLRs are, if I can't fit it in my pocket I'm unlikely to carry it around.

I also sometimes wish I had a "worse" camera. Rather, an old 70s film camera. Old pictures somehow always look more real. Film, though, gets pricey.

I did find a cheap alternative, though. A new app for my iPhone that takes 70's looking pictures, like this one. This might be the first iPhone picture I've taken in over a year.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bitterly cold. 5 degrees with a 15 below wind chill.

I wrote on Facebook, "Current Chicago Temperature: Oh My God I'm Going To Die! Overnight Temp: Oh Please Please Let Me Die!" and 14 people "liked" it.

But later, walking around out in the cold it occurred to me, that these are the kinds of temperatures that actually do cause deaths around the city.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A relaxing New Year's Day. We had some of Sarah's friends over to the apartment to play cards, specifically a very long and complicated game that Sarah loves called Phase 10.

Somewhere around hour 2 Sarah caught me checking Facebook on my iPhone while someone else was dealing. "You're friends are here," she said, as she does whenever someone is checking their phone in a social situations.

"My friends are on Facebook too. I'm reading status updates from people here who have posted about how they're doing in this game."