Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Jesus Saves

Reading through the mountains of information and news about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, I came across this news article. It probably sounds a bit hokey to some, but it brings me joy, optimism and faith.

The story is about a statue of Jesus near the famous St. Louis Cathedral in French Quarter. It seems mighty Katrina couldn't knock it down. The statue is unscathed except for the left hand thumb and index finger that are now missing. Because of the missing digits, people are claiming divine intervention spared New Orleans a direct hit. To quote the article, "it was the hand of Jesus, the missing digits to be precise, that flicked the hurricane east just a little to keep the city from suffering a direct blow." That's friggin' cool.

The night before the storm made landfall, I did some major praying and talking to God. I prayed for a miracle - a downgrade before Katrina made landfall or sparing the New Orleans area, where our families live, a direct hit. I went to bed strangely happy, all things considered. I knew God was, at least, listening to my prayers, if not answering them. Imagine my suprise when I woke up the next morning and Katrina was downgraded to a Category 4 and took a slight turn east. Yeah, ok, it still was one of the worst natural distasters to hit the US, but the last second-ness of the downgrading and turn makes me optimistic and hopeful.

Then, I read this article that says, "Devistating as Katrina was, it would have been far worse, but for a puff of dry air that came out of the Midwest, weakening the hurricane just before it reached land and pushing it slightly to the east." I can't help but believe that Jesus had a little something to do with that puff of air.

With any tragedy, people wonder how could a loving God let this happen. No doubt, millions of people along the Gulf Coast are asking that. And, I don't know if I have a satisfactory answer for you. But, I have great faith that God is working overtime right now listening to people who are calling out to him. I am very optimistic that scores of people will soon come to know the love and hope that Jesus offers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Families Update

WWL-870AM/WWL TV4, the major news station in New Orleans has started a blog for up-to-date information. Here's the link.

As far as our families go, we've heard from my parents and they are ok in OK. It is my understanding that they are able to go home at anytime... at least they are allowed to. Don't know if they are yet. My uncle passed by the house and said it held up well. I guess that means no flooding or downed trees on my childhood home. Yeah! From what I have gathered, the still have electricity, too. Double yeah!

My wife's family is also safe, but due to the flooding and extensive damage in New Orleans will not be able to go home probably until Monday. We've heard that their subdivision was flooded with anywhere between 3-8' of water. Three feet and they should be ok. That's probably enough water to rise up to the front door from the street. Eight feet and no doubt water is in the house. But, there is a silver lining. After it's all said and done, I wouldn't be surprised if FEMA gave them a large check for damages, larger than the house is possibly worth...

Still haven't heard from my father-in-law. The reports I'm finding say his parish is underwater, without electricity, without phones, downed trees, and under martial law. Flood waters got up to the main artery he lives by, so maybe he got flooded out, or maybe he didn't. He's borderline is my best guess. The house is kind of high up, so maybe it's not too bad. I just wish we could hear from them. I'm sure he made it through ok. I haven't heard from other friends or family members, but I'm sure they are all fine, too.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Prayers Please...

It was barely a week ago my sister (who lives in Central Flordia) and I were making fun of, Tropical Storm Katrina and the bad punny headlines that would come from that storm: "Katrina and the Waves - Walking on the Sunshine State." Now, to say it's a bit more serious than that would be a dire understatement.

Hurricane Katrina is hitting my hometown. Our families have evacuated to various safe havens far away from New Orleans. We haven't heard from any of then since early Sunday morning. The cell phone network is completely tied up. And, we have no idea if my father-in-law evacuated or not. Your prayers for my family's safety and well-being would greatly be appreciated.

Looking at the storm track and applying a little bit of Hurricane history/knowledge, I feel ok about my hometown of Thibodaux's chances of surviving the storm. My parent's home will be hit with high winds and lots of rain, but should pull out of it ust fine. They recently cut down big old trees to lessen the chances of one of them falling on the house. I get the feeling Thibodaux will be mostly fine.

My wife's family lives in New Orleans, where the worst part of the storm is expected to hit. Sure, the worst winds (presently clocked at 155mph, sustained... Gusts are higher) and the most heavy rains will do the city much harm. But, it's the storm surge that will fuck the city. Every news report I have seen about New Orleans says the city is a bowl. That's true, New Orleans is below sea level and the levee system it has set up can keep (I believe) 13' of water out of the city. Plus, the pump system can handle a little more than an inch of rain an hour. Trouble is the storm surge is expected to be 20-25', about 10 feet more than the levees. Add to that the possibility of 4-12" of rain an hour and New Orleans is going to be very soggy for a while.

I'll update you on our families as soon as we hear anything from them. In the mean time, please pray for their safety and for the well-being of everyone in SE Louisiana and SW Mississipi. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


In the interest of fair play, I've decided to relay a story of a show that I was completely unprofessional on. I might sound hypocritical after my last post on professionalism. But keep in mind, this story takes place nearly 10 years ago and I was a stupid 20 year old punk. I've learned from my stupid mistakes...

The show was "South Pacific." This would have been my second (and last) time performing in this show. I really hate this show. Not as much as Annie or the Sound of Music; however, it's a distant third. But, I digress.

I was cast as Stewpot. Not the part I wanted, mind you. Stewpot is a bass, a deep bass; I sing high tenor. Reluctantly, I accepted the role. I wanted to play the comedic relief, Billis. That role was filled by a Jeff Edwards, who I first met at auditions. Tangent: I instantly hated Jeff because he stole the role I wanted and to add salt to the wound, I was to play his dimwitted sidekick. The funny thing about life is Jeff is now one of my best and closest friends. I'm Godfather to his oldest child. Like I said, Life is funny that way... Back to the story...

During, what I recall, the very last performance, some of us actors decided to change a few things, add things that weren't originally there. For instance, there's a part where Billis and Stewpot walk across the stage and catcall after the young, native hottie - Liet. That night, instead of just whistling, I added something along the lines of "She's got a nice ass." Later, Billis makes it over to the enchanted isle of Ba'li Hai (it will call you). Another actor and I decided to goof off and "pretend" to be native islanders. So, when Billis leaves the scene to take part in some island action, we came out dressed in grass skirts... dressed ONLY in grass skirts. Ok, not buck naked, but you couldn't see my underwear and it looked like we were completely naked... and fat and hairy to boot. We thought we were being funny, but in reality we're destroying the show for the audience.

Later, we're offstage during a big dance number the girls are performing. We decided it would be fun to stand in the wings where the audience couldn't see us, but the girls could... with our pants down. Still had the underwear on. I remember THAT vividly because the director (who was just as unprofessional for letting us do all this) decided to mess with us. She snuck up behind us and pulled our boxers down. I was quick enough to prevent any appendages from being seen. My compadre was not as fortunate... and neither were the girls who got a eyeful of him...

At some point, the theatre board got wind of our antics. They were NOT PLEASED. It seems we had jeopardized their lease. Something about possible sexual harassment. To appease the leasor of the building, we were banned from performing with the company until we wrote a written apology for our actions and promised to never do something like that again. We were even sent spiffy letters on official playhouse letterhead, complete with notary seal. We fucked up and paid the price.

Throughout the next year, I was a stubborn fool, not caring about doing a show there... Bigheaded, but small actor... Fuck'em if they can't take a joke right? Eventually, the playhouse is auditioning for a show I really wanted to be in, "Damn Yankees." Alot of my friends were auditioning and would get parts; I wanted to join in the fun. A year or so had passed and I thought maybe things had cooled down. I was met at the auditions by the President of the Board asking me if I wrote my written apology. Darn it.

We talked about it and we agreed that I could audition but my being cast was dependant on the written apology. I ate a major crow sandwich, but learned a valuable lesson in professionalism. The moral is, kids, learn to act professional or you won't be acting for very long...

Monday, August 22, 2005


"'Professional' is an attitude, not a paycheck."

That's is the basic idea that I live by when it comes doing theatre. It doesn't matter to me if I'm doing Community Theatre, or by chance, actually getting paid to act. There is a certain way to behave, there are certain things you do and don't do, when it comes to putting on shows. It's all about putting on a good show for the sake of having a good show. It's about working as an ensemble, not a crowd of extras and "small" actors vying for audience response. It is far better for the entire show to be well-received by the audience than it is for them to say, "I was too busy laughing at the antics of such and such kid to follow the plot." Which is, in my opinion, what happened with our Sunday Matinee performance.

"Professional" means that when your lead actor has gout and doesn't have an understudy, he gives the same performance with the same energy as he gave in every other performance DESPITE the excruciating pain he is in. He, quite literally, "puts on a Happy Face" and dances his ass off because the audience who paid $12 a pop DESERVES the same performance. He doesn't limp, he doesn't show pain while in front of the audience because the character doesn't have gout, the actor does.

I am quite ashamed and embarrassed of Sunday's overall show. It was not the same show that previous audiences paid to see. Honestly, some of my complaints probably weren't even noticed by the audience and maybe a little nitpicky. But, that's not the point. The point is that we worked hard for two months in order to put on a great show. Once the run starts, that's the show. It is HIGHLY UNPROFESSIONAL to change any little thing about it. And, I'm not talking about a dropped line here or there. It's live theatre and that happens...

No, I'm talking about a character walking out in a scene with a cigarette (that from the audience looks like a joint) tucked behind his ear when that's is inappropriate for the time and place. I'm talking about a kid dialing the prop phone when another actor is clearly using the prop. I'm talking about people wearing a costume that was not approved by the costumer. I'm talking kids flashing gang-fingers when the show is set in the late 1950s. Anything changes which the audience can see completely destroys the magic we're trying to produce on stage. It devalues the show and it's an insult to the hard work the rest of the cast and crew has put into creating colorful characters and wonderful memories and moments on stage.

What really ticks me off is that despite being told what not to do, despite being told how their actions are unprofessional, despite being told how they are ruining the show, these small actors continue with their antics. Well, I can guarantee they won't have the last laugh. No, in the end, directors, producers and fellow actors will refuse to work with such unprofessional monkeys. In the end, they bite themselves... well, in the end.

*Sarcastic side note: The best part is that THIS was the performance that was videotaped for the archives. Forever immortalized...*

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I got the gout

Well, that's my unofficial, self-diagnosis. Gout is a form of arthritis that generally hits you in the joint of your big toe. There's swelling and inflammation caused by a build up of uric arid crystals. It is also (lucky me) one of the most painful forms of arthritis. Interesting enough, it has history. Gout is known to have been around for over 2,000 years. It is called "the disease of kings" because wealthy, overweight men who overindulge in rich foods and drink are the ones who usually get the gout (If the wealthy part were as true as the overweight and overinduldge bits, I don't think I'd complain).

This has been a recurring pain for about three years now I'd say. I'll get a bout of the gout maybe two or three times a year. However, this is the first time I have to dance on my big toe during a gout attack.

There's not much you can do in terms of treating gout. Take some ibuprophen for the pain. And that just takes the edge of the pain. Sure, I could call the doctor and make an appointment. But, by the time he can see me, the attack will have stopped and you can't really diagnose and treat what ain't there no more.

In the mean time, I'll be limping. Yeah, walking is a chore. Hopefully, the "Happy Face" dance in Birdie won't be too painful. Probably, I should test it out. I think I can tolerate the pain well enough that the audience wouldn't realize that something is wrong. I don't think the "Rosie" dance is nearly as difficult. The second I get offstage though... Well, I'm not looking forward to that. Hopefully, I won't wince every time I "step-ball-chain..."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mike TeeVee

The weird thing about working in television is that I really have no inclination to watch TV at home. It's like bringing your work home. Of course, it helps when there's actually something worth watching... like WWE Smackdown. No, I watch that WITH my son. It's a bonding thing... really... It is... Shut up.

I am looking forward to new episodes of LOST. That was quite the cliffhanger ending. It's a really good show. House is also a good show worth watching. Beyond that, not much else interests me on broadcast TV (no cable). Everwood is a favorite, but I've missed the last year of new episodes and have no idea what's going on. It's moving to Thursday nights and I suspect will fall off the map soon. The plan is to catch up when the DVDs come out.

I've had to go through some Sex in the City clip reels looking for soundbites that will work in promo form. Mind you, I don't and didn't have HBO when this show was on. I've never seen it and don't quite understand how it's going to be as good as its buzz was in syndication (where you can't show boobies or say muthafuck). Let me say, though, that after watching a few clip reels, Mr. Big is my new hero. It premieres on one of the stations I work for next month and I might have to watch that show and live vicariously through him. Big is better, apparently.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Colds and More Important Matters...

Just when I think I'm over this cold, I woke up this morning and my throat was coated with mucus. Not that I had a sore throat or was in any pain from the cold. Not that I was stuffed up or was coughing. No, my throat was just coated with mucus that no amount of hacking up cleared. I guess that's where I am with my cold. I feel fine. Fine enough to go out and drink copious amounts of alcohol. Note: I won't be drinking. In fact, I've decided to give up alcohol. We'll see how long that lasts. Probably the first cast party where Killian's is served... But, it's about choosing the pain of disipline...

I digress. So, yeah, I'm still "poppin' up cold" every now and then and I need to blow my nose every little while. Otherwise, I'm fine... respitory health-wise, anyway.

I've been reading the Gospel of Acts the last few days. I'm very much identifying with the Apostle Paul. In the past, I have looked down on Christianity, not to the point of stoning anyone like Paul before his conversion. But reading his story of conversion, I'm struck by the simularities.

I feel God calling me to better serve His purposes. I don't think he's calling me to become a monk or a priest - we can't prove those high school Buddy O'Pals right (I was voted "Most Likely to become a Monk). But, I do feel him calling me into some sort of ministry. I guess I need to figure that out. Exactly what does God want me to do? Good Question.

For now, I'm just going to keep praying and looking in the Bible for some answers. Plus, I'm going to start volunteering more at church. I'm waiting to hear back from the leader of the Creativity Team right now. I figure that's the best place for someone like me to start, in a creative environment.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Another Openin' Another Show...

Birdie opened last night and it was very well received. It's amazing what a live audience will do for a performance. The audience dress rehearsal the night before dragged a little. But, opening was very good, had lots of energy. Thanks to God for helping me get over my cold quicker. I've got a bit of a cough but my upper respitory system is pretty much all clear, and that's what I need for singing.

My two favorite scenes in the show are "Baby, Talk To Me," and "Rosie." The songs sound great. "baby, Talk To Me," is the main reason I wanted this part. It's such a great song and my voice, and the quartet, really shine. And, "Rosie," is such a sugar-sweet ending to the show. Ah, love. The "Happy Face" dance is third on my list of favorite scenes (I'm in). Our choreographer, Mandy, really worked with my strengths and weaknesses (a dancer, I ain't) when it comes to dancing and helped make it a cute, little moment of joy.

And, as much griping I do about shows, honestly, I've had a really great time rehearsing and performing this show. It's so great to work opposite of someone who gives you alot to play off of. Thanks Amy... And Danny, it's always fun working with you (We need to have Hedwig night! And maybe, add on Eddie Izzard, too!)... And Sue and Devin, I cannot thank you enough for your hard work and professionalism... I'd mention everyone but really this post willtake 100 years to write, so I'll just say thank you to the entire cast... *Tweet Tweet, Ella*

Call (317) 815-9387 for tickets and more information.

Here's hoping we don't have the "Great Opening, Second Night Let Down..."

Thursday, August 04, 2005


The show opens tomorrow. If you said to yourself, "Does he have a cold?" you win! This will be my fourth show in a row, all in Indiana, that I get sick for. I am convinced that these colds have become psychosomantic. Meaning, something about these shows is psyching me out and my body's reaction to my mind is getting sick.

Mostly, it's a sore throat and runny/stuffy nose. I'm able to keep the nose clear enough with Advil Core and Sinus, as well as 12-hour Afrin. The throat pain is what really bothers me. I'm constantly sucking on some lozenge or drinking water. Sometimes, I'll eat some honey and let it's soothing gooeyness slide don't my throat.

A friend turned me on to Fishermen's Friend. It's a menthol lozenge. If it were candy, it'd be an Altoid. Think of them as the curiously strong throat lozenge. Since I've got singing to do, I'm also drinking ThroatCoat tea. Someone else turned me onto that product.

These colds when I open are really getting on my nerves. I think I might have to go see a shrink to figure this out. It's not like I'm really nervous about performing.

Well, at least I discovered a bonus that came with completely shaving... I don't have to worry about mucus remaining on my moustache after I blow my nose.

Also, sorry if this post is disjointed and somewhat meandering without really getting to a point... Cold medicine plus very little sleep has me a bit loopy right now...