Archives for category: Life

If you know me, then you know that I like to play dress up. The more refined nerds call it ‘costuming.’ If you’re not one, then you’ve at least seen one. You know, they’re the grown folks playing dress up, as if any day is Halloween.

Adam and Eve

This costume looks even worse on black people.

I came across a comment made by a friend of a friend (on Facebook, where else?) who said that he wished he could afford costuming. I have to admit – that’s the worst excuse I ever come across when it comes to playing dress up. I suppose what these people were saying is that they really wish they had the money to do a really great, detailed, “screen accurate” costume. But still, I find it disturbing.

First, it’s a bit of a misnomer to believe that expensive costumes are good, and that cheap costumes are, well, cheap. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you’ve ever been to one of those Halloween shops, you’ll know that they’re shoddy (at best) and expensive for what they are. And yes, I’ve bought costumes at those places (for my kids, FOR MY KIDS!!!) Mostly because I didn’t have the time to make my son an Optimus Prime costume.

Sure, it looks like I'm defecating, but I'm really chasing a bounty.

On the flip side, there are plenty of ‘cheap’ costumes that don’t look cheap at all. I know a girl that made a great Zam Wesell costume and she did it fairly cheap. I don’t remember what she spent on it, but for roughly what she would have paid at a costume store, she got something immensely more ‘realistic.’ Not to brag, but I made my own Vader costume. Yes, it cost quite a bit (around $600 total), but only because I spent $100 on a helmet, $100 on a saber, and $40 on boots. I suppose that still sounds like a lot of money, but it wasn’t all at once. I bought pieces here and there. And in the original version, I used a turtle neck tshirt and sweatpants for the undersuit. I upgraded to vinyl a few dollars later.

My point is that you CAN spend a lot of money on a costume, but why? If you have the time and patience, you can really knock out some good looking costumes for relatively cheap.

The balance is where to put your time and effort, and where to spend your money. If you’re looking to make a Jedi costume, you could make your own saber, but it may be worth the time and money to order something online. Unless you’re a whiz with circuits and batteries and stuff…

A Jedi costume is probably one of the easiest costumes to put together. My biggest suggestion is to shop around at fabric stores until you find the fabric you want at the price you don’t mind paying. I know some guys won’t settle for less than wool lined with silk, and that’s going to be expensive. But you can get some cheaper material and not line it and come out with a tunic that is less than $20! Compare that to the Halloween shops, and you’ll soon realize that this is the way to go for anything resembling a ‘real’ costume.

I’ve done a few Jedi tunics, and I have some suggestions. If you live in an area that’s typically warm and possibly humid, I’d really suggest that you stick with natural fibers. They breathe, whereas the synthetics get stuffy quick – especially if you’re working on your jump flips and saber twirls.

Oh, and look for fabrics with texture. They really add a lot to the look. Steer clear of broadcloth. It’s synthetic, hot, and looks really plain. Trust me on this – my first one was made with some beige broadcloth. But, I spent all of about $10 on fabric, so not a total loss.

Dresses. Jedi's love 'em.

One of the benefits of the Jedi costume is that you don’t have to go with one look. If you watch the Geonosis Battle in Episode II, you’ll see that the overall look is similar, but they’re all different. In fact, that one Jedi is wearing a DRESS!!!

The thing to keep in mind is that Jedi need to stay with neutral, earth tones (I disagree with the greens, but hey, it’s your Jedi.) The main thing is that you have a tunic, tabbards, sash and light saber. It’s also smart to match the colors. Have different colored tabbards and sash, but make sure they go with your tunic…

Pants. This should really be the easiest part of the costume. Grab some khakis and go with it. I have a pair of thin piped corduroys that work well for a Kenobi costume. But just about any khakis should work. I saw a guy at Celebration III who had a fantastic Jedi Tunic, but was wearing blue jeans. WHAT? The kid could have just headed out to Goodwill and picked up some khaki pants! I dubbed the guy “Casual Friday Jedi.” Don’t be that guy.

Now, there are a couple of pieces to this costume that can be done cheaply, but can be expensive as well.

BOOTS: I was able to pick up some Frye boots for $75 on ebay. I’ve worn them a lot, and they need to be resoled (bonus to ‘real’ boots.) But I’ve seen plenty of costumes that use the cheap $20 vinyl pirate boots that typically show up at those Halloween stores. The downside is that they aren’t very durable and will ultimately crack and fall apart after any extended use, but for the price you could get about 6 or 7 pairs for what you’d pay for cheap ‘real’ boots. And then there’s the whole “detail” part. If you look at Anakin’s and Obi Wan’s boots, you’ll see that they have some neat details that you don’t get with the cheap boots. That’s the trade off… Unless of course you’re a boot maker.

BELT: I’ve seen belts on ebay go for over $100! Which is insane, considering it’s just some leather strapping with some detail parts. I made my first belt. I looked through women’s belts at various stores until I found something that would work. One side had a suede texture, and the other was a marbled leather look. So I separated the front and back and then cut the belt to the size I needed. And, I was able to make pouches with the left over material. I used a buckle I found at a fabric store, and never got around to putting the food capsules on, but no one’s ever noticed. Except the guys thinking I should join one of the bigger costuming groups.

Hopefully you’ll be on your way to making a Jedi costume soon. If you are and need some advice, ask and I’ll be glad to help out.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money, you just have to know where to spend your time, and where to spend your money. I suppose if I were to make a Star Wars analogy, I’d say that buying your costumes is like the Dark Side – quicker, easier, more seductive. Making your costume from scratch is like the Light Side, patience, my young apprentice.

Some website has posted the “15 Anticipated Movies of 2011.” I’m not sure if they’re “Most Anticipated” or just “upcoming.” The article doesn’t really explain. I can’t really take it seriously, because it says in the first paragraph, “their is” rather than “there is.” But here’s my take on these…

1. Green Lantern.
I’ve always been more of a Marvel than DC guy, and to be honest, Marvel has put out a whole lot of movies in recent years. And I’d have to say that all DC has really banked on was the renewal of Batman. Sure, Jonah Hex was a DC comic, but who knows anything about that guy?

When I see the trailer, I think to myself, “Hey, this looks like it’d be a great rental. From Redbox.” Nothing makes me excited about this movie enough to lay out the bucks to see it in the theater. Even better, it’s undergoing a ‘conversion’ to 3D. Even less of a reason to go see it. Yeah, I’m not a fan of 3D. I wasn’t when Jaws 3D came out. I’m not a fan now.

Let’s hope DC can start making decent comic book movies, so that Marvel doesn’t have a monopoly on this.

2. Red Riding Hood
I saw the trailer at the front of the latest Harry Potter movie, and I was both annoyed and intrigued at the same time. It was fairly obvious it was going to be Little Red Riding Hood on the big screen. It was fairly annoyed. That is until they threw in the Werewolf aspect. Then I was intrigued.

I might make this an excuse to get out to the theater to watch. If you know me, then you know that I’m a zombie man, but I’ll allow werewolves as long as they’re not in movies with sparkling vampires. Something tells me there will be a twist in this where the werewolf is somehow related to Miss Hood.

3. Immortals
I haven’t heard of this until I saw this list. It has Mickey Rourke and John Hurt in it. It’s a Greek tale about Theseus. Theseus apparently the founder of Athens, and is on the same level as Heracles and Perseus. Also Cadmus. I’ve never heard of Cadmus or Theseus. Which is probably why Hollywood decided to make a movie out of it. Clash of the Titans did fairly well, right?

This may be another rental for me. Who knows.

4. Sucker Punch
All I know about this one is that they’ve put a lot of pictures of the women in the movie. Had they been dressed in Jane Austen attire, I probably wouldn’t have paid any attention or been able to tell you anything about this movie. They were, however, scantily clad warrior women (think Heavy Metal). Not that made me interested in the movie, just that I knew that there were women in it. Something tells me this movie is really about skin and fights, so that men will go see it. It’s a good thing Women’s Lib is dead. Otherwise, we’d not get to see naked warrior women.

Again, a rental for me. Or something…

5.  X-Men: First Class
There is really no reason for this movie. It’s a prequel. It tells how Professor X and Magneto came into being. It shows us how they went from ‘normal’ to ‘mutants.’ And, I’m pretty sure it is going to cause big continuity issues with the rest of the X-Men movies.

I’ll watch this. Probably sometime after this movie hits the five-dollar bin at Wal-Mart.

6. Rise of the Apes
I had no idea this movie was even being considered. It’s another movie about how things began. In this case, it shows us how we got “Planet of the Apes.” Not the cool Charleton Heston one. The not as cool Marky Mark one.

I’ll watch that X-Men movie before I watch this one. But at least Andy Serkis is getting work.

7. Cowboys and Aliens
I had heard something about this before I saw the preview before Harry Potter. I didn’t know what to think, but after the preview, I was wow’d. Daniel Craig wakes up and has no memory, and some device on his arm. Then Harrison Ford shows up. This is another one I’d like to see in the theater. I might even be able to drag Christy to go with me.

Special Note: This movie is set in 1873 Arizona, and probably shows us why they’re so against aliens, illegal or otherwise.

8. Battle: Los Angeles
I promised my kids a movie if they behaved well one week. The movie they picked was Skyline. I read that this movie took less than a year to go from concept to script to screen. It showed. I also think the reason that happened is because of this movie, Battle: LA. I’ve seen the trailer online, and it looks interesting – but the motion tracking seemed a bit off. Of course, part of what I do is in this line – so when I see mistakes like this in a big budget film, I get miffed. It doesn’t bother me when it’s low budget indie films, but it’s inexcusable when it’s a multi-million dollar feature film.

rental.

9. Super 8
This is a JJ Abrams film, written and directed. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, because Abrams isn’t as hot as Hollywood makes him out to be. Cloverfield, anyone? This is not tied to Cloverfield, but rather an homage to the late 70s and early 80s sci-fi movies. Something escapes a government train. I’m always down for a sci-fi flick, but with Abrams behind it, I’m tempted to wait till the dollar theater.

DOLLAR THEATER.  Unless someone takes me on a date and buys me soda and popcorn at the non-dollar theater.

10. Transformers 3
The last Transformers movie was so bad that it ruined the first one. I liked the first one. Until I saw the second one. And then I re-watched the first one and realized all that bad stuff was in the first one – we just chose to over look it because it was Transformers. So what does that mean for 3? It means the pit is deep and there will need to be a lot of crawling to be done to rise out of the ‘fallen.’

Something tells me my son will want to see this. And something tells me I’ll take him. And something tells me I’ll regret it soon afterwards. At least I didn’t have to explain what a scrotum was last time.

11. Thor
At the end of Iron Man 2, we were treated to something fantastic: The Avenger Initiative, and Mjolnir – Thor’s Hammer. Now, I’m all for Marvel expanding out into the movies and incorporating other franchises, etc… but to go from Iron Man to Thor…. hmmm. Maybe that’s what happened in the comic books, but I’m not sure I’m going to really enjoy Thor. Who knows.

I’m sure I’ll see this, but I’m not sure where. Maybe a rental… or if someone gets me a bootleg.

12. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Tom Cruise doing impossible missions.

13. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide
They really should just start calling this “Johnny Depp: Pirates.” Because that’s all it really is, right? Johnny Depp acting mildly humorous as dressed as a pirate. Don’t get me wrong, Capt. Jack Sparrow gets all the chicks at Magic Time Machine and the comic conventions, but in the movies? Meh. Yo ho ho and I haven’t even seen the third one yet.

14. The First Avenger: Captain America
Oh, hey, two Avenger movies from Marvel in 2011. I guess this has to happen because Cappy happens in the 40s. Thor has to travel through time to land in Tony Stark’s world.

I think I’ll make an effort to go see this. First, the costume looks fantastic – a great mix of the original Cappy and modern technology. It’s got me psyched. I’m psyched that we’ll see him fighting Nazis. I’ll be more psyched if we get to see him fighting Nazi ZOMBIES! Oh yeah. Plus – I’m pretty sure this will be 2011’s Joker costume. So many people will dress like this. And they’ll look nothing like Cappy.

15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pt. 2.
The last of the Harry Potter movies. There are seven books, but they managed to pull an extra movie out of this by splitting the last one into two. Not bad, really. I did see Pt. 1 at Thanksgiving and enjoyed it. I just hope they don’t screw the pooch on this.

Yeah, we’ll be watching this. Won’t be standing in line for it, but we’ll be watching it. I think they are doing 3D, which I’ll skip out on.

Oh, I was going to put pictures in this, but I put pictures in the last one and it didn’t get a whole lot of views. So do what we did before the internet, use your imagination.

This is what my imagination looks like now with the internet.

Special thanks to the First Grade Class at Brentwood School. I completely stole a student’s picture for my own personal gain. I hope Mrs. Silvers and Mrs. Gursky don’t mind too much.

Superwhy did I volunteer for this?

Quentin likes watching PBS in the mornings. He loves starting his day off with the “Abby’s Flying Fairy School” on Sesame Street. He loves watching “TCITHKALAT” and “SuperWhy.” Today’s episode of Superwhy started out with the three pigs fighting over how to build a house. The message at the end of the episode is “work together.”

This got me to thinking about things. Those three pigs reminded me of David and Zada. They fight and argue all the time, as if in some sort of power struggle. Overall, they behave very well, but far too often it seems they argue and fight. It’s a real challenge, because I can rarely ever prevent it, and usually it ends up with me yelling at them and sending them to their rooms.

Two positive things about Roy. This was one.

Both have gotten into this bad habit of correcting each other, which is usually how the arguing begins. And it usually ends up, if I’m around, with me giving the correct info followed by one kid pouting and one kid gloating. Then it ends up with two kids pouting. And me thinking of Roy.

Roy was a chubby toe head who wore glasses. I met him through Cub Scouts. I went over to his house one day to work on some projects. I don’t remember the projects, but I do remember playing Boxing on the Atari.

The only lovable Jerk in the entire world.

Roy lived with his mom. I think his parents were divorced. I don’t think his dad had died. Or maybe she was just a single mom. I was 7 or 8, and didn’t pay too much attention to these things. What I did remember about Roy and his mom was that she let him get away with quite a bit. He talked to her in a way that I’d never talk to my mom – if I did, I’d pay for it, not unlike Atari Boxing. I think I only spent one afternoon there, but that was enough.

Some amount of time later, maybe a day, maybe a week, I corrected someone on something. Either I corrected my dad, or corrected someone in front of my dad, but my dad pointed out that Roy corrected people. He pointed out that it made me feel bad – it did, when Roy corrected me – and that I shouldn’t do that to other people. He also pointed out that Roy was rude and a bit of a jerk. At that very moment in time, I made a vow to never be like Roy. And it has stuck with me ever since.

I’m not sure my dad would remember Roy (he didn’t even remember the cake, and that was more recent), but I do. He has been etched into my memory, forever to stay. Funny how one afternoon can have such an everlasting effect on a person’s overall personality? I’m betting Roy probably never even thought of me after that day. He probably didn’t even think of me when I was there, to be blunt…

These two probably needed a Roy in their lives as well.

Now I’m in the position my dad was in – trying to teach my kids how to behave, and how not to behave. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ‘Roy’ to introduce my kids to. I can’t say, “Hey, you don’t want to be a jerk like Roy, do you?” Because they’d look at me funny. No one names their kids Roy now (skip to the 3:00 minute mark).

I suppose now I’ll have to ask at the parent teacher conference who the real jerk of the class is, so I can point out these kids to my kids with the insightful message passed on to me from my father. “Hey, you don’t want to be like that kid, do you?” I’m just hoping that it isn’t my kids who are the “Roys.”

At some point in my youth, my brother and I were left alone at the house for long periods of time. We would get bored quite often, because we lived in the country and there wasn’t much to do. We did our best to stay out of trouble, but that didn’t always happen.

One afternoon, John and I thought we’d make a cake. I’m pretty sure it was summer, because I don’t think we’d have had time to make a cake in the 45 mins between us getting home from school and dad getting home from work. So John and I mixed it all up and baked a cake.

While we were mixing, we discovered the food coloring. And we put food coloring into the mix. The yellow cake mix. We used all the colors, but by the time we put it into the oven, it was GREEN!

We got the cake out, let it cool, and then frosted it so that none of the green showed. When dad got in, he saw the cake and got excited. John and I were pretty excited too, but for a different reason.

We had dinner that night and afterwards, dad got a knife and sliced into the cake. When he pulled his slice out, it was green and he was disgusted. I don’t remember what he said, but he wasn’t happy. I know he said he wasn’t going to eat it. John and I laughed pretty hard, but we didn’t understand why he wasn’t going to eat it – it’s not like we did anything bad to it, it was just green. Anyway, we didn’t mind, because it was John and I who ended up eating all the cake.

It was good. Although it was a bit disturbing because we had green poop for about two weeks.

Fast forward to this past Saturday. John reminded me about the cake, so I decided to do the same thing. I was having people over and so I made the cake. Green. Christy frosted it and I decorated it. I was pretty stoked. So when it was time to cut the cake, I had a friend do it while we recorded it. I was hoping for some good responses, but there wasn’t anything really. Not much more than, “oh.” I was disappointed, because I wanted to get some serious “WhAT?” responses. Nope. Everyone just grabbed a piece and ate it. Sheesh, all that pranking and not even a “GROSS!!!”

But then again, I think my friends all know me and know that this is just typical. Sad, really when you think about it.

On Sunday, we headed up to my dad’s house. He and his girlfriend have their Thanksgiving the Sunday before, so that everyone can get out and enjoy a nice Sunday Thanksgiving dinner. I brought some of the cake with me to show my dad. Again, I was excited.

He didn’t remember it. All this work, and he didn’t remember John and my hard green cake work. I was disappointed.

But that’s okay. I have lots of green cake to eat over the next week or so. And lots of green poop ahead…

God Bless Dinner

I really hope everyone washed their hands first.

Well, it’s almost my birthday, and that means Thanksgiving will be here soon. For years, I enjoyed Thanksgiving because it not only meant that I got to see family that I hadn’t seen in sometime, but because it usually meant I’d get a few more presents.

Unlike people who have birthdays around Christmas, I didn’t get that “two for one” deal. Instead, I’d get presents on my birthday and then a few days later, I’d get more!!! This was especially awesome when I was a kid and the ‘norm’ in presents for me were Star Wars toys. Those were the days, my friend, and we thought they’d never end. But they did. Thankfully.

Birthday Cake?

What's worse than getting a 2-4-1 present? A 2-4-1 cake.

So here we are again, Thanksgiving is just over a week away and the weather is definitely feeling more like fall. The mornings are brisk, and the afternoons are just as nice as they could be. The trees here in the area that do lose leaves are doing that. Or they’re dead. I can never really tell. But I did notice a bunch of big brown leaves in the street last night when I returned from playing r’ball.

Growing up, we’d always alternate our Thanksgivings and Christmases. If we went to my mom’s family for Thanksgiving, we’d go to Christmas at my dad’s family. Then the next year, we’d switch. This is what I grew up with and that’s what I’d been used to.

The Holidays have really changed over the years, and especially for me. I think things are different with Christy too, but I’m not entirely certain what her holidays were like. My dad does Thanksgiving the Sunday prior to the actual Thanksgiving. My mom doesn’t have a place to do Thanksgiving. All my grandparents are gone, except my dad’s mom – and as stated before, we do that this Sunday. As for Christy’s family, we never see her dad, or her dad’s parents because they live in Florida. It’s not that we couldn’t drive out there, but it’s just a hard thing to do. And then there’s her mom and her mom’s mom. Christy’s mom lives here in San Marcos (as does mine), and Christy’s G’ma lives in Abilene (technically Merkel). And again, neither of them are very T’giving type places to do things.

Xbox

This is a representation of Brad and myself at some point in our lives.

I guess what I’m saying is that the family structure for both Christy and I have changed dramatically from what we were accustomed to when we were growing up. It’s not like it was for me, where we’d leave for my grandparents’ house and get to see my aunts, uncles, and cousins. My dad had two brothers, and they each had two kids, so we could have some really decent touch football games in the back yard. My mom had two brothers and a sister, and all my cousins would usually do something together.

But I only have one brother, who lives in Florida. They have two kids, but there’s almost 10 years between Kyle (the younger) and David (my oldest), so even though they’d have fun, it’s one of those things. Christy has two half brothers and a sister. The brother situation is a bit odd, because we don’t see Christy’s dad often (half-brother Mat) and Christy’s mom lives here (half-brother Brad). I guess what I’m saying is that we don’t go to Florida often, and we’re not really going to spend a holiday with Brad’s family. His dad and step mom are really cool, but it’d just be a bit awkward. Especially when Brad and I would spend the entire time playing Xbox.

This will be the fourth Thanksgiving we’ve had in our house since we bought it. Each year, we do it a little different. We’ve always had Christy’s mom over, and some years we get G’ma and McKinzey (our niece), as well as Brad and his family. But more often than not, we open our house to friends. In the past, it’s been people who work with either Christy or Reneé and aren’t able to get home for the holidays. Sometimes it’s someone who just doesn’t have family nearby and aren’t doing anything. We always invite people over, and we always have enough food, and we always end up having a good time in our little warm home.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Are you traveling to a family gathering? Are you staying home and hosting a gathering? Are you staying primarily with family, or are you including some friends who can’t make it home?

And if you’re in the San Marcos area and want to swing by – you’re more than welcome!

Family Gathering

These people have nothing to do with anything I've written above. They're French and at a table. That is all.

Staged.

Is this thing on?

Last night was the weekly open mic at Corridor – my comedy home. Every week is fun, but last night was a bit different.

I started off my evening of comedy by heading over to Michael Nieto’s place. The one and only Wade Word was over and they were recording their podcast, “Before the Show” (caution, language). I was surprised to see Curtis Hammill there. So this particular episode of BTS could be quite interesting. I know I had a good time. We wrapped up and headed out to Corridor.

As always, the show started late.  There were quite a few people in the main room at J’s Bistro, but the lounge was strictly comics. There was a new guy, who slightly resembled a Zack Galifianakis. The people in the main room? His friends. The kicker? None of them wanted to pay the $5 to get in. At first. Then they all relented and got themselves inside. And of course, Galifianakis-man had to comment on that. He was the first guy up for the night.

This guy wasn't there.

I had asked my good friend, Nick Kukowski to come out and run the camera so that I could concentrate on comedy. Last week, I showed up without the camera and it was a great time. I wanted to keep that going, so I asked Nick to help out. The deal was I’d split the cash we made. Which was $14. Go us! But I must admit, it was nice to be able to just do what I do without having to stress about the camera. I didn’t realize how much of a toll that takes on the comic side of myself.

I got everything set up, and Nick rolled in. I showed him how I had things set up and chatted for a bit while we all waited for Galifianakis, Jr. to get his people inside. And then we started.

Oh, I should mention, the guy who runs the place, Nick Aluotto, has been choosing the host of the open mic a few minutes before the show starts. That was another thing we were waiting on. He picked Paul Roca, and once he got the list together, we got rolling.

And what a ride it was.

I didn’t stay in the lounge area often, I stayed in the main room and talked with the other comics. It’s refreshing to talk comedy and life while comedy and life is happening. While Galifianakis Jr. was on, Curtis walked up to me and voiced his concern, which was the same concern I had just had myself.

We were both concerned that when this guy was done on stage, all his friends would leave and we’d all be stuck doing comedy for each other. It’s fine, we’ve done that before, but it’s an odd thing. Comics don’t really do comedy when it’s just comics, they talk smack and just do a bunch of ‘inside’ jokes. So even if someone walks in, they don’t get the comedy. Fortunately, the friends stayed and the show rolled on.

Later on, Curtis and I would realize that since the guys were scraping up funds to see a show, they’d get the most of their money and stay the whole two and a half hours. That’s two bucks an hour. What a bargain.

If I may digress here, one thing I’ve noticed about stand up comics is that when someone first starts doing comedy, they bring friends. Sometimes it’s four or five friends, but many times it’s something like 8 to 10. Then for the second outing, there’s fewer friends, if it was 8 before, it’s 5 now. And this trend continues until the comic can’t even get the spouse to show. And as time goes on, you get a bunch of comics watching comedy with a bunch of comics. Especially in San Marcos where comedy takes a back seat to drinking and dancing. In Austin, it’s not a big deal, because there are plenty of people who wander in, or specifically look for comedy.

Perspective

Like these people, comedy isn't always straight up.

I wandered in and out of the room, and noticed that the crowd wasn’t shy – meaning a couple of people didn’t mind joining in the show, even though they weren’t invited. One guy in particular was constantly heckling. I’m not sure what his deal was, but he was the sort of heckler that thinks he’s adding to the performance. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.

I’m going to take a minute and break the illusion of comedy. The reason comedy works so well is because it’s well rehearsed. It’s rehearsed to be energetic and off-the-cuff. Bad comedy is bad not so much because of the material, but because the performance. Imagine if Louie CK just mumbled his jokes in a very sloppy way. Or if Brian Regan just sat in a chair relating his Pie Joke in a very A.D.D. manner? It wouldn’t play. The reason it’s funny is because it comes of as new. Fresh. As if the comic just thought it up on the way over. If you notice, comics will almost always say something happened recently. They saw something on the way in. They had something happen yesterday. Or last week. It’s always timely. That’s part of the illusion. I saw a comic last year, and saw him again recently. He has an airplane joke. It was the same both times. And both times it happened last week. To the uninitiated, it comes off as he just thought it up. To the comics, we know that it probably never happened. But the illusion is there.

This is part of the problem with the heckler. The heckler believes in the illusion, and that the comic really is living in the moment. Sadly, most comics aren’t that great on their feet and can’t really handle the immediacy of an idiot in the crowd. Even more sad is the fact that the comics that can, usually default to verbally abusing the heckler. It works, and most times shuts up the heckler, but not always.

Heckler UMP

Not your typical Heckler.

So this guy was talking all night. Adding little comments here and there. I can’t say how the other comics handled it, because I was in and out of the room. I know a couple comics addressed it and did their best to shut him up. I imagine others just ignored the guy. Either way, it’s not a fun experience for the comic, and truthfully, the audience tends to really frown on it too. Any heckler video you see on YouTube usually ends with the crowd cheering the comic, because they really can’t do anything to the heckler to make them stop. It’s up to the comic or the establishment.

Which brings me to another point. A lot of comics look forward to dealing with a heckler. When they know there’s a heckler in the audience, they start ignoring their material and start concentrating on that heckler. They want to get some practice in dealing with these guys. The truth is, as a comic, you’re going to see a heckler fairly often. More often than one would like usually. So when a comic does get the chance, the comic will take it.

It’s not always the case. It’s not always funny. And it’s not always the best thing for the night. The trick to dealing with a heckler is to walk that line between doing material, handling the heckler, and not offending the audience. It’s a tricky, fun walk to take. I’ve personally had two hecklers in my short time on stage. Once was from a drunk lady who had been a bit distracting and practically ruined David McQuary’s set that night. She was leaving when I got on stage and I sort of agged her on. She stayed and magic happened.

Last night was my second time handling a heckler. I don’t have video up yet, but I will, and I’ll post the link in the comments. Hopefully.

After the show, the heckler stuck around and then apologized to various people about what he did. He actually told me, “I’m funny, I’m actually funny!” which was really annoying, because this is our craft. Imagine if you’re a CPA and some guy comes in and starts manipulating your numbers and then says, “I’m good with numbers, I really am!” Yeah, not funny either way.

But we all encouraged him to show up next week and get on stage. I don’t know if he will, but if he does, I’ll put his video up just on principle.

Hey, thanks for reading folks – I really appreciate it.

Sony HeadphonesThey’re Sony. Sue me.

I have a set of cheap Sony headphones that I use when I’m recording video to monitor the sound. They’re actually my second pair. First pair broke. The current pair are fine, but they’ve seen better days.

Earlier this year, I saw a pair of headphones that were pretty cool. And another friend just recently got a pair of these. I was looking around the internet this morning, and found that there is a third company producing headphones.

Yes, three different companies are putting out Star Wars themed headsets – Taito, Funko, and Coloud. I found it surprising that there was more than one company making headphones, but even more so when I found the third. I don’t understand it because LFL tends to just go with one company to produce an item. For instance, Master Replicas (now Factory Entertainment from what I see) used to make the Force FX sabers. Now Hasbro has that job.

I have you now.

These were inside the pilot's helmets.

I’ve gotten to hold the Funko Rebel Alliance headphones. It was some time ago, but they seemed nice. A little smaller on the ears than what I’d need for what I’d use them for. They seemed like a good pair of headphones to have just for casual listening. I definitely wouldn’t consider them studio monitor worthy. From what I remember, these were semi embossed, but they may not be. There’s quite a bit of detail on some of the headphones, but on others, it looks like a stencil or sticker stuck on the side. The Boba Fett ones look really cool on the band, but the ears seem to just have a sticker of Fett on it. That seems sort of cheap to me. Also, each earpiece has a wire coming from it. I try to stay away from these types, because the dual wire setup gets caught on things. Many times I’ve plugged things into my camera THROUGH that loop. Annoying. They’re listed at $25, but you may find them for $20 on the ‘net.

BooWeep

With all the bells and whistles.

I haven’t gotten to see or use the Taito versions, but they seem to be a little bigger and a little more durable. A friend of mine who got the R2 version said they were nice, but a little plastic-y feeling. The R2 headphones are chrome, with blue earphones and top (felt?). The sides are the top pattern of R2’s dome. I can see why they feel cheap and plastic, because they are. The chrome on it is that same chrome you seen on kids toys. The C-3P0 ones are similar, but the sides are 3P0’s eyes, they’re gold, and the ears and top are black. The Vader ones just have a red stencil of Vader’s helmet, and the ears and top are red on a black set of headphones. I can’t tell by the pictures, but it’s highly possible each headphone has a wire coming from it. And as I mentioned above, I find it annoying. Listed at $25.

Heavy breathing

I hope these play more than just heavy breathing.

Lastly is Coloud. Apparently all they do is make merchandised headphones. They have Hello Kitty, NHL, Marvel, and Fame (Really?). They have three different Star Wars headphones. Vader – black with red accents (see pic). Star Wars – black with gold Star Wars on a flying starfield. Rebel – white with orange and black accents. They also feature the single wire from one side of the headphones, which is really a plus. They also feature a coiled wire which allows for some tension and less tangling with normal use. I was impressed with these (although I’ve not used them) because the website actually has specs for these.  But these come at a little higher price – $40. If I get a chance to test these out (which I believe to be better than the Sony’s I’m using now), I’d be able to really decide how good these are. The single, coiled cord is worth it to me, really. Add the Vader on the side, and to me it’s worth the $15 extra bucks – everything else being equal.

Each of these headphones seem nice enough. The Funko headphones seem to have the edge to the casual listener, because there are quite a few of them to choose from. Some of the designs are really nice, but others seem to be nothing more than a stencil/sticker on it with color coordinated plastic parts.

Irony

Does anyone else see the irony in this picture?

The Taito ones seem to be a bit more detailed than the Funkos, but there are only three versions. The two toned look is a plus, and the 3P0 and R2 designs seem to be rather inspired.

Burnt.

Of course, I could be completely wrong and we all end up like Owen and Beru.


The Coloud ones are not as inspired as the Taitos, but the quality seems to be there. The higher price tag would probably turn off the casual listener, and the hard core fan would probably shy away from the designs. For instance, I prefer the Funko Rebel headphones to the Coloud Rebel headphones based solely on the design. But the Coloud Vader seems much better than the Funko or the Taito Vader.

Overall, the Coloud headphones are worth the extra $15, simply because they seem like headphones first and Star Wars ads second. The other brands are more dedicated to the fans, and for a casual mp3 listener, they’re more ‘involved’ than the Coloud. Taito has a good offering with the droid headphones, but for a Fett fan, the obvious choice is Funko.

UPDATE – I think I found out why there are three different companies making headphones. Coloud is based out of Canada, Taito is either Japan or China, and I think Funko is here in the States. I may be wrong on this all around, but it’s all I could figure.

Chicken?

Almost had this for dinner.

Shortly after posting the last blog, I wandered to the cafeteria to see what was for dinner. BBQ chicken. Smelled great, but I wasn’t feeling chicken twice today.

They’re doing painting in the one section of the hospital where it’s just a dog leg trip around the corner to the cafeteria. So that meant I had to go through the “restricted area” to get to the cafeteria. Not a big deal, but the door to go back the same way locked when it shut. Great.

Walked around to the ER, where two security guards were. They asked me a question, and I told them I was going to the women’s center. The lady told me that she was working that area and would escort me. What was odd is that she had a tracheotomy. I didn’t understand at first why her voice was all raspy. Then I got it. She told me I could park out front – which I told her I had. I suppose she was under the assumption I just got there. Nope. Been here all day, thanks.

When I got back to the room, I got a text message from Christy. Doc had just broke her water and she was at 3 cm. So, since I didn’t get dinner at the cafeteria, I headed to Carl’s Jr. Which, I noted, I was the thinnest person in the place. Anyway, I ate, and went back to the hospital.

It was about an hour after I got back that the anesthesiologist showed up. Christy was happy. After the epidural, the nurse checked and Christy was at about 5. Now more waiting.

Reach

Yeah, I'm just putting these in here now.

Apparently, 8pm is about the time everyone checks facebook, because that’s when all the messages started flowing in. At some point, the baby bed started going off with a ding dong carnival sound. Then almost immediately afterwards, something else started beeping. And the phone got text messages. SHeeesh. Lots of noise!

It’s almost 9pm now. Grey’s Anatomy is wrapping up and Christy’s watching. I’m typing this up and waiting for the final stretch, which should be soon.

I hope.

I went to bed about 12:30a this morning. Mostly because I stayed up playing Halo: Reach. Hey, we had a good team and we were dropping opponents all over those maps. Big Team Battle, if you’re curious.

HaloReach

How can you sleep when there's so many kills to get?

I fell asleep almost immediately. Next thing I know, it’s 6:30a and it’s time to get the kids up and rolling. Christy got up and got ready to head over to the doctor’s office.

Quentin was especially grumpy this morning. He didn’t want his cereal. He didn’t want to get up. He didn’t want to get dressed. He didn’t want to go to Nana’s. He did, however, want to play Xbox. As much as I would have loved to sit next to him and make that happen, it just wasn’t the time.

Spider-Mug

The only way my mug could get cooler is if it spit webs.

David and Zada did well. I had to prod Zada a bit – she’s always a little slow to make it happen in the morning. She’s actually been a little groggy in the morning, not sure why. But by ten after seven, we were all ready to head out.

But I couldn’t find my coffee mug. CURSE YOU MISSING MUG.

We got to the school, David and Zada got out, and they were both excited because they knew they’d see their new sister this afternoon. David was talking about how he was going to tell his whole class. Zada told her class yesterday. Makes me feel good, because I wasn’t the only one who didn’t catch that it was supposed to be today. Apparently there is something to the miscommunication between men and women.  Hopefully we’ll be able send some pictures to school with them tomorrow. Pretty sure we won’t be sending Macy tomorrow.

Bom bom bada bom bom.

Quentin may one day dance as great as the Late King of Pop.

I dropped Quentin off at my mom’s, but he wasn’t too pleased about it. I’m not sure where he wanted to go, but it was not Nana’s at that point. He got out of the car and put his backpack on (diaper bag). Then he just froze. He stood there. I tried to pull his arm to get him to walk up the steps, but he wasn’t moving his feet. It was rather humorous, really. Think Michael Jackson in “Smooth Criminal.” Eventually I got him inside and I grabbed my mom’s keys to put the booster seats in her car. She’ll be picking up Deezo and Chickie this afternoon.

When I was getting Q’ball out of the car, I spotted it. My MUG!!! Sweet. Caffeine will be mine!!! Needless to say, I was pleased.

I pulled up to the hospital and headed to Christy’s room. She was already set up and ready to make things happen. The nurses hadn’t hooked up the IV and they were still doing the blood work. I was still sleepy, so I tried napping in the rocking chair. No go. Then the nurse pointed out that the arm of the couch slides out and makes a cool little bed. So I took a little nap. About 30 minutes worth. A little longer than I normally do, but refreshing.

Puzzle

This game is fun, especially when you're waiting on a baby.

Christy’s been hanging out, just watching TV. Waiting. I got some coffee, came back. Played on the iPod (which, by the way, the hospital’s verification thing doesn’t like Safari), went and got some more coffee and called my sister in law to give her the heads up. She said she wanted to call, but because she has a bad habit of calling as the baby is coming out, she’d wait until we called her.

When I got back into the room, Christy told me they started the Pitocin. That’s good, means we’re progressing. The nurse popped in to see if the doc had stopped in. He hadn’t. Apparently he’s performing a C-section right now. So, we waited.

chicken dinner

Almost exactly what I ate for lunch.

I looked up and realized that it was almost one o’clock. I realized that there was a chance that the cafeteria may close soon and I didn’t want to have to leave the hospital to grab a bite. Seems like last time I was here, I tried to get to the cafeteria but missed it. And I didn’t miss lunch. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies and a soda. MMMmmm good. I didn’t tell Christy, though. Didn’t seem right. They’ve given her broth, jello, and water. Yum.

No, no, NO!

I may forget to bring diapers, but I usually don't substitute fruit.

Just before 2p, my mom called. She was running out of diapers for Quentin. I thought I had enough, but who knows. Apparently she either changes a lot of diapers or she changes no diapers. There’s no rhyme or reason, apparently. I usually get about 3 or 4 a day, sometimes. But I’m not sure how many were in the bag. I do know that I had gotten some out to take with us but forgot to take them… oops.

Christy suggested I go get some and drop them off. So I headed to the house, picked up the ones I pulled out originally (still neatly stacked on the coffee table) and headed out. I pulled up to my mom’s, knocked on the door, and went in. Quentin was sacked out on the floor, as he normally does. I put the diapers on the table, grabbed a soda, and then helped my mom get him into the car. She was about to head out to pick up D and Z. I headed back to the hospital, and she off to the school.

snoozin

Despite the decor of the delivery room, the seating arrangements were no where near as comfy.

I came back and everything was the same. No doc, no baby. No nothing. The lights were out/dimmed, which made me want to take a nap. I did shut my eyes for a minute. Who knew waiting would be so tiring?

And for the next two hours, we just waited. Christy’s contractions were coming about every 3 minutes. No real change, and no doctor. It’s rather disappointing. I was hoping to have been celebrating by 5pm. Christy was really tired of being stuck in the bed.

It’s 5:30p right now – and there’s no baby…

I’ll post more later. Sorry no baby yet. 😦

Vader's kid

This isn't me.

My wife’s been pregnant for quite some time now. I forget when it happened, but it was obviously earlier this year. February? Who knows. I stopped paying attention after she told me we were adding another member to the family that didn’t eat out of a bowl on the floor.

Everything’s been progressing normally. She’s gone through the typical things she always goes through. She has had some issues with her legs cramping and her ankles swelling, but it’s because she works retail and she’s been on her feet for 9 or so hours a day. Other than that, everything has been pretty similar to the other three pregnancies. So normal, in fact, that I really haven’t been paying much attention to how far along we’ve gotten.

Baby be reading, dog

Daddy, it says here you have a knack for not paying attention.

With the other kids, we induced. They were all ‘big,’ and they were anywhere from 9-12 days early. Apparently the hospital has changed policies on induction. I suppose some doctors have been ‘abusing’ the induction thing – because the hospital won’t schedule inductions more than a week from the due date. That would be fine, I suppose, but there’s some issue on the due dates. The date the hospital likes is Nov. 7th. There’s also a Nov. 3rd date that’s out there and depending how you calculate it, there can be some discretion. Based on the baby’s growth, we were looking more towards the 3rd.

On Tuesday, my wife went in early for her normal appointment with her doc. Afterwards she called me to let me know we were going to induce after all due to some ingenuity of the doc. The way she told me sounded like she was going to go in for her appointment next week at the normal time, and then on Thursday they would get things rolling. That’s the information that got processed in my tiny little bald head.

But that’s not the real info.

I thought I had a full week and two days to get things handled. I thought it was rather odd that my wife was pressing me to do things when I had a while to get it all taken care of. Oops. In the car this morning, I said that I was planning on getting over to the Velveeta Room tomorrow night to record comedy. She looked at me like I was the most insensitive jerk she’s ever known. That’s when it came out that we were not only on different pages, we were in completely different books. Yeah, slight change of plans.

WHO IS THIS?

My mom looks nothing like this. And really, who has corded phones?

I went into overdrive, making those calls and trying to correct things. A quick status update on Facebook and a few emails changing the plans I’d made for things. Everything is still sort of in limbo – I haven’t gotten in touch with my mom. I need her to watch Q-Ball for us. He can’t really be running around the delivery room. Mostly because he’s going to be yanking crap and breaking things. Adorable as he is, he’s not really going to be instrumental in bringing Macy into the world. Plus, he may remember some things, and truly, there are some things that only need to be seen by a doctor…

So what now? Well, there’s still a lot of things that need to be done. Christy pointed out that we should re-arrange the bedroom, which was cool with me when I thought we had a week. Not so cool when it’s just a day or so. Ugh.

I have some things that I have to do work wise. No Thursday night, obviously, but Friday I need to go to Austin with a client to pick up gear. Friday night is taping comedy in San Antonio. Saturday is some time out doing some foot work for the client. I think Saturday night is free, but Sunday is all about knocking out these spots for the client. I’m sort of sad, really. I’m more excited about knocking out these spots on Sunday than I am having a kid. I know. I’m going to the land of fire and brimstone. Which is quite nice this time of year, from what I’ve heard.

Today will be spent making sure everything is ready for tomorrow. I was really hoping to play some good games of Halo today, but I suppose that’s not going to happen. I am sad I won’t be making another “Daily Challenge” today. But that’s fine, I suppose.

Also, if you enjoy watching kids, let me know. Added bonus if you don’t mind watching kids while I’m playing Halo.

Halo Reach

If Halo:Reach had been out earlier this year, I probably wouldn't be posting this blog right now.