Thursday, December 22, 2005

How Far Have YOU Walked Today?

After getting over the initial shock of the fact that it had been nearly a month since my last post, I thought that the last few days certainly required some sort of acknowledgement. Plus, I noticed that Malia had made a triumphant return to the blogging world and I thought that I should do the same.

The image to the left here pretty much exemplifies what life has been like as a New Yorker since we all awoke to the news Tuesday morning to find that the TWU had gone on strike. It's the first strike in 25 years for the Union. There have been several events in recent history that have symbolized the resilience of the people of New York City. The tragic events of 9/11, the blackout that occurred a couple of years ago. And now, a transit strike. 7 million people walking miles to get where you need to go, in 20 degree weather. For 3 days now I have made the long walk over the Williamsburg Bridge out of Brooklyn and into Manhattan. Thankfully I was able to catch a bad for at least part of the 4 mile walk up to midtown where I work. It's been an amazing time to be in New York and, God knows, it's not over yet. The union and the MTA appear to still be very far apart in negotiations. I won't get into detail about what the fight is over, as I am sure most of you know or can guess, but here's hoping that it ends soon. It's estimated (by Mayor Bloomberg) that the city loses $400 million a day due to the strike and I would believe it. Many businesses are closing early, not just because of a lack of customers, but because some of their employees are too far out in the boroughs to make it in to work.

Fingers crossed, this will be over by the time I return from the weekend. Or, I should say, fingers crossed that I can even get out of the city this afternoon when work is done. We shall see. All to say that 12 hours from now I'll be out of the city for a few days and I am very much looking forward to it. Home tonight, back to Nana's tomorrow morning. It will be a whirlwind, no doubt, but that's okay. It'll be nice to be surrounded by family. I feel very fortunate that Nana is still around and that we are all able to be together in the same way that we have been since the year I was born. We are certainly creatures of habit, and there is something to be said for family traditions.

Perhaps more later, as I have been up since 3:30AM and will continue to be until I arrive at home tonight.

But, for now, in the tradition of one of my fellow bloggers and Wayside family members:

What I Learned Last Week: It always hurts to say "No." to the people you love. (you know who you are)

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Giving of the Thanks

Wow. I didn't realize that it had been over two weeks since my last entry on this thing. My apologies to those of you who check frequently and have found nothing but silence from me for the last little while. Time keeps moving too fast and things keep getting in the way. By the time I get home at night and sit down to check the mail and write an entry, I am too tired to stare at the screen any longer than I have to. Perhaps I need to release myself from the burden of feeling that each and every entry must be full o' goodness. I'll do my best to be more consistent.

I should say that things have been very busy for the last two weeks, which is part of the problem. Auditions to prepare for (all have gone well, but no news yet), travelling to do (NYC to PA, PA to WV, WV to PA, PA to NYC), and classes that I am knee deep in right now (one voice, two scene study). So much to do, so little time. If I can see life through to next Wednesday, all will be much better and a bit slower.

Thanksgiving was great, albeit short. A chance to get back to Nana's and see the family. For those of you who wonder what the hell the title of this blog is all about, it refers to my childhood. I spent a lot of time with my Nana in West Virginia when I was growing up, in a small town named Cass. It's an old logging town that the is now a State Park and they have been running tourists up and down the mountain, via coal/steam engine for years and, during the summer and fall, you can hear the faint sounds of the whistles coming from the mountain as the train reaches different stops on its journey. Both of my parents grew up there, much of my extended family still live there and, in a lot of ways, it's home to me. While I enjoy going back to DuBois, PA (where I grew up), I associate a lot of my best childhood memories with the time I spent in the mountains of West Virginia so, I always very much look forward to getting back there. A chance to renew my spirit.

It was great to see the family. There's a sense of tradition around the holidays. the same seats, the same stories, the same games played post meal. Sure things have changed, we've added people, including our newest arrival, John Michael Kane V who is all of 4 months old. I've never had a Christmas anywhere but Nana's and only missed 3 Thanksgiving meals (thanks to Texas). And, as her health in beginning to deteriorate, we don't know how many more we will be able to have there so, I was very thankful that I could be.

But now, that brief time away is over and I am back in the grind. One week. God, let me get through this one week and all will be well. More later, perhaps, but for now, I've got to finish up the day job and head off to class.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Weight Just One Minute

Yes, it is "weight", in a feeble attempt to be clever with the title. Soemtimes coming up with a time for these entries can be a bit on the tricky side. There's all this pressure to come up with something witty or clever, at least in my world there is, and sometimes it's just too hard. Today, however, as I sit at my desk at work, it's not that hard.

I have begun to feel a bit fat. I don't think this is a feeling that is reserved for women and/or gay men, but for all people. We all have certain times in our lives when we just feel fat. There's nothing wrong with it. We just have to accept it and move on. While I love the fact that I have a job that allows me to pay rent and go out on auditions, it's also a job that requires me to be at a desk the entire day. it's also a job that has free food sitting around all the time. I have begun to curtail my snacking, but I have got to get my ass back in the gym. The hard thing is that the only time that I reall have to do that is 6:45 in the morning. Now, I am more of an evening person, by nature....a nightowl, if you will. So, there are times that he 6:45 alarm just hits a bit too early for me. But, I have to do it. So, by writing it here, I am acknowledging my problem and pledging to suck it up and do the deed. And we thank you for your support.

Okay, that feels better. Other than the Fatty McFatterson issue, things are good. I feel a sense of momentum that I haven't felt in awhile, in a very good way. Things are moving forward in a lot of different dorections. I'm throwing a lot of stuff on the wall right now to see what's going to stick. Only time will tell if this pasta is well cooked........what?

Monday, November 07, 2005

To Sing or not to Sing

Tonight I begin a Musical Theatre audition class. A bit of a brush up and a chance to work on some things that I haven't done in a very long time. While I have been out on a few auditions for Musicals, I would say that, for the better part of this year, I have been attending more calls for plays than musicals. Plus, with the improv show, I haven't really been had a chance to get out on the musical calls as much as I would like to. And so, after hearing about this class from a friend of mine, I decided to give it a go. It will force me to work on the things I have been telling myself I would work on for awhile.

An interesting thing about singing, I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. Singing, in a lot of ways, is a much more vulnerable thing than many would think. While, of course, there are those truly vulnerable moments of acting, singing is the result of emotion that is too big for meer words and, therefore, opens you up in a different way. I'm not sure why it is that I am somewhat self-conscious at times about singing, but I am...especially after taking as much time off from it as I have. So, I am very much looking forward to the class that will, hopefully, get me back in the swing of things.

Not much else to report on a Monday afternoon. I had a rather relaxing weekend. I think this is the first time I have started the week not feeling exhausted in a long time. Playing the imrpov on Friday and allowing myself the weekend certainly helped. But, I must admit, I'm hungry for another show. I'm making some pushes right now that will hopefully pay off. We'll see how it goes!

Until next time....

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Last night, in front of the second largest crowd in the history of Beaver Stadium, my Penn State Nittany Lions pulled within one game of winning the Big Ten Championship for the first time since my freshman year (1994 for those of you who care). The picture you are seeing represents the "White Out" that was declared by the student body to help amp up the atmosphere for the visiting #14 Wisconsin Badgers.

Now, I know that many of you are not football fans, nor do you probably care all that much about Penn State, but allow me to put this into perspective for you. The Nittany Lions, one of the most storied programs in college football, and coach Joe Paterno (JoePa to all of us), a 78 year old coach who is arguably the best coach to ever set foot on a college football field and has been pacing the sidelines at Penn State for 55 years, have endured losing seasons the last 4 out of 5 years. Many thought the game had passed him by, that he couldn't recruit top tier talent anymore, and many in the Nittany Nation were calling for the old man to step aside. But Paterno insisted that Penn State has been just a couple of plays away from greatness. And he went out, the lats two years, and pulled in top 10 recruiting classes and now, this year, he's proved that he was right. He's changed his ways a bit (playing ture freshman, which was UNHEARD of at Penn State), adapted to a new offensive scheme and Penn State is now 9-1 (1 second from being 10-0, due to a last second defeat in Michigan). And, if they defeat Michigan State in two weeks, they will most certainly be headed to a BCS bowl for the first time in 10 years.

But, while we have cerainly struggled over the last few years, I was never one of those who thought Paterno should hang it up. To me, it goes beyond wins and losses. Paterno has always prided himself on turning out not just great football players, but great men. He believes in education, as can be witnessed by the countless millions of dollars he has raised for Penn State, the graduation rate amoungst his players which is one of the highest in the country, and the fact that his name adourns what was once Pattee Library. He regularly quotes the likes of Shakespeare at his press conferences (let's see Bobby Bowden do that!). He wants his players to succeed on the field, in the classroom, and, most importantly, in life long after they walk through that tunnel for the last time.

There's no better example of the type of football player and person that Paterno is known for shaping than our current Quarterback, Captain and emotional leader, #12 Michael Robinson. For the last 3 years, Robinson has done everything that Paterno has asked him to do. He's played at virtually every offensive position on the field, waiting patiently for his chance at Quarterback, all because he wanted to do what was best for Coach Paterno and the team. He never complained, he didn't transfer, he stuck it out because of his bond with Paterno, his teammates and Penn State. He endured critism last year and even received hate mail from a few of our less intellegent fans, who probably never actually attended or finished school at PSU, that included racial slurs, saying that he should stick to being a receiver and leave the quarterbacking to the "white guys".

But Robinson waited for his shot and this year, he got it. And he has surpassed all expectations not just as a player, but as a person, proving once again that Joe knows football. He stood tall in the face of adversity and has led this team like no leader has in a very long time, and even managed to set a few records along the way. Michael Robinson has, for 4 years, stood for everything that is great about Penn State and he's done it all with a smile on his face. Two games to go, but Robinson has secured his legacy and I, for one, hope that he can continue to build on it right on through that impending bowl game. When he left the field at Beaver Stadium on Saturday night for the last time in his Penn State career, he had earned not only our applause, but our respect and admiration. And #12 will be in our memory for a very long time. So, he may never read this, but thank you Micheal Robinson for all that you have done for this team and this school. I wish you the best of luck in the NFL and beyond. You Are Penn State and we will surely miss you next year.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Is Time Moving Slowly or Quickly?

As I walked outside this morning and headed in to work, it occurred to me that the current weather here in New York is throwing off my sense of time. It's November, right? I should be seeing the leaves change, I should be bundling up a bit, right? This week in New York, that is not the case. As I was watching the Penn State game last week and they panned over Happy Valley, one could easily see that Fall hasn't really arrived yet. Only one tree in the picture seemed to be sporting its fall colors proudly. Mom called the other day and said that she had been out mowing the grass and that all the leaves were still on the trees. I wonder why Fall is taking so long to get here? Does that mean we are in for a mild winter? Or are we going to get blasted cold and quick? And when did it become the holiday season?!

But Halloween has come and gone (Kimmie and I watched The Garfield Halloween Special in celebration as I was exhuasted from a successful weekend of NCT Spooktacular and she was exhuasted after rehearsal for the show she is Asst. Directing). And Monday night I had a hard time believing that November was already here. Calendar time is moving quickly, while Mother Nature's clock seems to be lagging a bit behind. Not that I am complaining. I don't mind the weather being in the high 60's, but I have to admit to being a fan of the cold as well. I love having to bundle up, wearing big heavy coats, the crispness in the air. It somehow feels cleaner than summer, when it's ridiculously humid and sweaty. And I sleep better when it's cold outside. Something about warm covers...

Met Ms. Katie Deal for coffee/tea yesterday in the fastest "catch-up" get together ever. We were supposed to meet at 6:00, she was late and I had to leave at 6:45. But, to all you Wayside folks, she's doing well and headed off to tour (perhaps her last) in January with Patsy. But it was good to see her. It had been awhile. Hopefully we are going to get together again soon and really catch up.

That's it for now. I will actually get home tonight around 8:00, a first this week and I am looking forward to it. Perhaps more later....but perhaps not too.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Cameron Crowe, "You complete me."

Yesterday was one of those days. I was finishing up with work, Kimmie was going to be busy for the evening, my roomie Tommy was stuck at work and I? I had the evening to myself. I wasn't really all that sure what to do with it. I decided to browse the movie listings. A movie on a "school night"? Yes, I did dare. Now, I had read some relatively rough reviews for Cameron Crowe's new movie Elizabethtown and I am not a huge fan of either of its stars, but something was telling me that I should see it. How can the man who wrote and directed Say Anything and Almost Famous make a bad film? I will forgive him for Vanilla Sky, he ventured outside the box with that one and, well, I didn't go along for the ride. But, I thought, he seems to be headed back to his roots here, literally and figuratively.

Well, it came as no surprise that this movie was just what I needed. Crowe has a way of weaving sentimentality and melancholy together in a way that doesn't drive me crazy. Not to say that this movie didn't have it's faults, because it did. But, what was going on underneath it all at the heart of the film was where the beauty lies. Maybe it's that Crowe creates and captures such unique a beautifully real people, maybe it's that his huge successes have come from personal and autobiographical beginnings, or maybe it's that he knows music and can find the perfect song to capture a moment so that no words need to be spoken. If you don't believe me, just take a look at the "Tiny Dancer" sing-a-long scene in Almost Famous, or John Cusack holding a boom box over his head with "In Your Eyes" blasting from it's speakers (which, believe it or not, was a second choice because Crowe found it after shooting was completed). It's in his writing. While the performances may not always do I justice, I very much appreciate it.

It also could have been the story. A guy who is forced to leave the hustle and bustle of his life and return to his simple roots to bury his father. Seeing him pull into Elizabethtown, KY and seeing the characters that were created by Crowe certainly reminded me of my own roots. All to say, I would certainly say that it is not NEARLY as bad as the reviews would have you believe and, I think, worth seeing. And, for the love of GOD, check out the soundtrack. Like I said, Crowe (and his wife Nancy Wilson of the 80's group Heart) certainly know music. This is the guy that was writing articles for Rolling Stone at age 16.

In other news, the CBS Morning Show thing was a bit of a bust, but I sorta figured it would be. We got a brief mention, which I suppose is good. And tonight I have two shows at the Improv....yes, it's the dreaded National Comedy Theatre Halloween Spooktacular. Should be a fascinating experience. More tomorrow...