Life As I Know It

It’s a Shame That We’re the Weird Ones

As most of you know, my ex-wife (Jess) and I are still really good friends. In fact I’m also friends with her boyfriend John who is pure awesome and absolutely perfect for Jess. I am, in fact, friends or at least friendly acquaintances with a large portion of my exes. The few that I’m not aren’t because of any bad blood, I just don’t know where they are or they lead insanely busy lives and even their families don’t hear from them much, or other such circumstances.

I find it sad that so many people seem taken aback that I such good friends with my ex(es). I can understand why in a way but that’s a whole other subject. Most relationships end up being somewhat dysfunctional, end badly, or at least end unevenly with one person hurt by the other. Last October when I would tell people “I’m going to visit my ex and her boyfriend” many times I’d get that look, that kind of polite vacant smile that says “Oh, okay…interesting…whatever works for you”.

At least the three people involved (Me, Jess and John) are all cool with it. I not only feel lucky to have such a great friendship with someone who obviously meant (and means) a lot to me, but feel very lucky that she’s with someone who I love and who has no discomfort (at least as far as I know) with me or my friendship with Jess.

One of the things that has been hardest about my divorce is when I realize things like the fact that I’ll probably never see many of Jess’s family members ever again (her family is all in England). Or many of the mutual friends in England that I met through her. It’s not that couldn’t if I wanted to, it’s just that it probably won’t ever happen. I love all those people. It’s sad. The mummos and daddos, the grandmas and grandpas, the Flons and Helens, the mUrts and Delles, the Scotts and Caths, the fun friends and co-workers of these people who we met, cavorted around Liverpool with, went to bachelor/bachlorette parties with, the Clares, Richards, Maxs, Nells, of the world and so many more.

I was talking to my friend Staci about this last night. About how, sure I could and hopefully will go back to England someday but even then, I just don’t think I could go back to Leek by myself just for a visit. London is one thing. I mean it’s London and there’s so much more there to be had than just my old memories. But Leek or Stoke are so small that it would just be weird to be there on my own, visiting Jess’s family without Jess and John there.

This led me to a simultaneously awesome and kind of sad thought. I thought “Oh my god! Visiting England with Jess and John would be AWESOME!” It reminded me of when my cousin Casey came to England with me and Jess. Only this time, it would be me visiting with Jess and John. It would be more cool people and fun than the universe could probably tolerate and very well might cause some kind of tear in the space/time continuum. For me, it would be just like going on a cool trip with Casey, or Greg or any of my amazing friends. However then reality hit me that this would far too weird for the rest of the world. Not that I really care about what the rest of the world thinks but I would be really self-conscious about being a “third wheel” or some lingering ghost from the past that won’t go away. I’m sure John would like his own future with Jess and vice versa. And again, it came back around to the same initial point. It’s sad to me that there’s these extenuating circumstances all because of a shared history. Circumstances that would not apply to any other friend. They didn’t apply to Casey when he came with us. They wouldn’t apply to any other friends but in our world, there has to be some “weirdness” about it because I’m an ex. It’s a shame that Jess and I are the “weird” ones because we remain close. Because people find it too hard to believe that’s possible without some hidden drama or something not being at face value.

More than anything, it’s a shame that I at least in part, put these shackles on myself. Not just with Jess and John. Several times, my friend Greg has invited me along on trips with him and Becky and I think “I can’t go on a trip with you and your girlfriend!” Total third wheel syndrome! Huh. It also only just occurred to me that none of this would be an issue if it was me and a girlfriend in the equation instead of just me. Interesting.

2010 State of the Eaf Address

I figure my birthday was a good day for a general update and some random odds and ends. I have bullet pointed the subjects so you can skip whatever you’re not interested in.

  • 2010 passed amazingly fast to me. Overall it was a year covered in kind of a grey haze of funk. There was some good and not really anything too terrible but for some reason I just spent the year in a kind of perpetual state of “meh.” A lot of emotional stuff really weighing on me and just trying to figure my life and myself out. Many times of numbness or a kind of general down feeling. I find that as I get older and accrue more experiences, more memories and just more life in general, that I feel the weight of it all. Memories and experiences have weight. And the more you accrue the heavier it gets. Generally I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky optimist so this was strange year.
    *combs my hair over my eyes and looks all emo*
    I don’t feel like really did much this year. I sort of feel like I just coasted through it. I can’t believe it’s over but I’m glad to see it go! Onward!
  • I seem to have completely lost my yoga mojo. I started yoga a little over a year ago and loved it. I felt a steady improvement although not as much improvement as I thought I would achieve. That’s alright, every body is an individual. Then a few months ago I felt like my practice went backward. Suddenly I couldn’t seem to do things I used to be able to do. One theory I have is that I started pushing myself too hard, thinking “I should be further along than this at this point,” so maybe it just seemed more difficult because I was making it too difficult for my level of ability. I was still going 5 times a week though.Then I went to Florida for 9 days. I came back, went to 1 or 2 classes then got sick and busy with theatre shows, band gigs, holidays, etc. and basically only went 4-5 times over 3-4 weeks. My last class yesterday was my worst ever. Even worse than my very first yoga class. I really felt my heart pounding and I felt faint several times and had to just lay down and rest. This didn’t even happen on my very first time in the room (I do hot yoga so it’s 98 degrees at 60% humidity). I attribute it to a combination of several factors: though I don’t think I’m sick any more, maybe I’m still recovering (I have been sleeping insane amounts), I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, I’ve been eating like crap, and I haven’t been to class much in the last several weeks. All I know is I really want to find my yoga mojo again.
  • I had a wonderful birthday, however. Woke up to a veritable plethora of messages bursting from the internet. Had a great party with wonderful friends, food and fun. Many friends from out of town and in, super supreme Rock Band setup, Leslie’s cake balls, and so much more. I never even got to all the cake ball varieties or the actual cake Greg and Becky got! To all of you who made it, I’m sorry I didn’t get to spend more time with each of you but please know that your presence meant a lot to me!
  • I love my new sheets so much, I never want to get out of bed. Perhaps this is part of my sleeping insane amounts lately.
  • I have very *suspicious* looking scratches on my back and shoulders. Sadly, they are only from me scratching myself silly after having a weird itchy attack at the end of the night tonight. This has happened to me a few times randomly. Usually after I have been at least a little sweaty. I’ve wondered if I’m allergic to my detergent or something but I would think it would happen a lot more if I was. One reason I link it to detergent is that I think it only itches where clothes touch. Like my bare arms were fine. It also seems worse in places like my waist where pants/underwear have the most contact. Bizarre. Of course if anyone were to somehow see these scratches and pointedly ask “Sooo, where’d you get those?” I could just smile coyly. But I won’t. I can never keep up a front. For better or worse, I’m mister honest, open-book, gotta-lay-it-all-on-the-table-guy.

Well I think that’s about it for this middle of the night brain dump. I’m sure as soon as I publish this, I’ll think of tons more. That’s the way it always works. Thank you all for being a part of my life.

hits you with a loaf of bread
Love you! Byeeeeeeeeeeeee!

In Memoriam – Or…Life Is Hard But Please Stay With Us

An old friend of mine apparently took his own life this week. Now, I hadn’t spoken to him in many many years and we were never super best buds or anything but I did hang out at his house from time to time and really enjoyed our time together. He was one of the nicest, sweetest, funniest, most genuine people I’d ever met. We grew up in the same neighborhood and continued to hang out now and then into adulthood, playing video game and chatting about life’s mysteries. I think the last time I saw him was when we got together to play a Star Wars RPG game. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I saw him but never the less I miss knowing his presence is in the world.

I don’t know the details of his death. I don’t know what was going on in his life. He was a gentle and sensitive soul. Maybe too sensitive to live in what can be a very rough world sometimes. And while I’m sad that for whatever reason, this is how his journey ended, I can’t be angry, as is the natural reaction sometimes when someone commits suicide. Because I understand in a way. This isn’t to say I condone or in any way endorse it but I can understand it.

While I have never actually contemplated suicide, I have been in that place. Where everything seems so bleak, so heavy, so overwhelming. Where even if you don’t actually want to take your life, part of you thinks “I wouldn’t mind if I just didn’t wake up tomorrow, though.” I’m sorry that whatever he was going through obviously overwhelmed and blinded him to the fact that he was loved and that many would be hurt and devastated by his loss. Even old friends who he may not have realized even remembered his existence any more. Any time I’ve been in the depths of a funk, this has always been my overriding thought. The thought of how much losing me would hurt my mom, my dad, all those who love me and all those who I might not even know love me, all those who I don’t even know I mean anything at all to.

I’m always kind of surprised at how much I’m affected when I learn of the death of someone from my past. Someone who I’ve had no interaction with in years, or decades. But then I think about it and I shouldn’t be surprised. Every single person I’ve ever known, loved, or had any meaningful interaction with is part of who I today. Chuck Pehl who lived down the road from me as a child. James Mikel from 4th grade. Sheila Vincent, my major crush from 4th through 8th grade. Dave Westerman (RIP), the bass player in my first band. Hundreds, thousands of people. You’re all a part of making me who I am today and who I will be in the future (just to make sure that was clear, those people are all alive as far as I know except Dave).

No matter who you are, I can promise you that there a lot of people who love you and would miss you. Maybe you know that, maybe you don’t. There are countless more who you have no idea even think about or care, but they do. And if it ever gets too hard to believe that or remember that, then focus on this: I love you and care about you.

RIP, my friend. The world is a lesser place without you. For those of us still here, please believe me, it would be a lesser place without any of you as well.

Metamorphoses

I used to live my life utterly and completely honestly and openly on the internet. I blogged about everything, good, bad or ugly. My life was an open book for anyone to read. I enjoy being a completely open, honest person with no boundaries and I still live extremely openly on the net but sometime last year I changed a little bit. I started keeping a lot of the darker, more painful or negative things out of public view. I’m not sure what exactly changed, I just know that I decided there were some things that I just didn’t necessarily want to spew onto the web any more.

I think there are several layers to this, one being that I really want to be a positive person, and I believe what you put out into the world is what you will get back. Maybe it’s also because, while I still talk to friends in private about anything I need to, I don’t think the world at large necessarily wants to here me whine, complain and be all emo. During this process, I’ve found that being forcefully (and sometimes slightly falsely) positive about something, actually does make me feel happier and more positive in reality. That was something good to learn!

It’s also made it harder in some ways when things have been going on. The open part of me wants to share and be honest and cry out but it just doesn’t feel right any more. That’s something to do in private with those close to me. Part of me misses the days when I would share that, but I do think I’m overall happier in my new skin.

It’s been a year of a lot of changes. I’m still dealing with a whole lot of things in life, but I always try to remember as I’m going to bed that in the grand scheme of things, my life is charmed and I’m a hell of a lucky guy. And every now and then, I get a glimpse of something that shows me that I’ve taken a step closer to being the person I want to be.

Well now, I guess I should use my new website

Now that I’ve redesigned my website I guess I should once again start putting some content on it! As I’ve said earlier, Twitter has pretty much taken over what this blog used to do. Obviously, sometimes you want to say more than 140 characters but when I became an active Tweeter (and my Twitter updates automatically update my Facebook status too), my blogging pretty much went extinct. Maybe this new new shiny desin will encourage me to blog more in depth here.

2009 was probably the hardest, most tumultuous year of my entire life thus far. My marriage of 6 years dissolved after which I had another very intense relationship which also didn’t work out. I find myself now doing a lot of internal work in my ongoing lifelong quest to always become a better person. Still lots of wounds to heal and mourning to do. Lots of thinking, pondering trying to figure out the “right” way to live and relate to others, “right” of course, being completely subjective and individual. Searching for the path to my own growth and happiness. I feel very heavy, like there’s a lot of weight on my soul at the moment but I also do my best to remain positive and always keep perspective. Every night I try to let my final thought be of gratitude for all that I have and how wonderful my life is, even at the worst of times. Just like working out your body, your mind, emotional health and soul need to be worked out and strengthened too. Accepting our own flaws while working out those muscles to become stronger in the power of our minds and thoughts. I still fail, many times on a daily basis in many ways, but that’s O.K. And you have to accept that it’s O.K. Life is a journey and we are always growing and changing but the fact is, everything that’s every happened in my life, every person I’ve ever met, every experience good or bad, it’s all led to who I am today and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

My periodic projectile blogging

I tend to go for long periods without blogging (especially since I twitter so much now) and as time goes on and more and more things accumulate it becomes more daunting to try and write about it all to play catch up. So inevitably I end up with a post like this that just spills out a dense summary of my recent life.
First, as most of you probably already know, Jess and I split up a while back now. She moved out and is moving to Seattle this week for a great opportunity with her job. There’s no big drama, no bombshells to drop or anything like that. It’s all very cool and amicable, just a case of us not being right for each other. I’ve been incredibly public in the past about my entire life including relationships but there was a point when I started playing things closer to the chest and keeping some elements of my life a little more private. Still, I’m pretty much an open book so no need to walk on eggshells or anything. I’m fine. In fact all in all my life is pretty great. Which leads me to…
Now with that news out of the way, the next development in my life is that I’ve met someone. After Jess and I split up, I got to talking tosomeone on Facebook that I’d actually gone to school with up through 9th grade. Being that my 20th high School reunion is coming up, a bunch of us have been reconnecting on Facebook. I never really knew her in school. I knew who she was (her name is Tina for future reference) but we weren’t actual friends or anything. I don’t think we ever even actually met or spoke to each other but we knew a lot of the same people and as it turns out grew up less than a mile or two from each other and went to a lot of the same places frequently. The more we’ve talked the more we’re can’t believe that we never managed to really know each other back then. At the moment, it’s a long distance relationship (though we have met in person and will be seeing each other again in July) but still amazing and totally fulfilling.
As most of you know I live my life very publicly. If you read my blog/twitter/facebook then I think it’s pretty easy to get a good idea of who I really am and what I’m really like. Apparently Tina had found me very intriguing from the moment she added me as a friend. Of course, at the time I was also married so she didn’t really pursue that line of thought. Quite often there are fun comment threads on her page involving lots of cool folks. I started participating and leaving more comments and such and once she found out I was available, we started some pretty heavy flirting. Facebook comments led to messages, texts and then phone conversations. We very quickly realized there was some serious and rare chemistry between us. We had a LOT in common and yet just enough differences to make us interesting and have areas in which we could enrich and educate each other. And she’s hot. Seriously, like Kelvin scale hot. She makes the sun sweat. Part of me wants to just go on and on about it here and part of me wants to not say too much as it’s still new and sort of special and precious to me. Suffice to say we formed a fast, intense, deep bond for a lot of different reasons.
Next up in all the news that’s fit to print: Lars and I filmed three scenes from the feature film we’re trying to get funding for “Brimstone Orphans”. We wanted to film some samples to submit for various grants and to use for further fundraising purposes. It was by far he most ambitious and most professional thing we’ve ever done. We had an awesome crew of about 25 people who were all immensely talented and more than that, were genuinely excited and enthusiastic about the project and being a part of it. Thanks to many generous donations of time, equipment and materials, we shot for about $2500 what should have cost more like $10,000 or more. We picked three scenes from the script that we thought showed the various tones and atmospheres of the story and that would make a good sample of what we wanted to do with the full feature.
Life has been very turbulent, wonderful and magical for me for a long time now. As I’ve said before, there’s something in the air lately. I believe big things are just over the horizon. Even though life can be full of vertiginous highs and heart-wrenching lows, I am incredibly lucky and happy to be who I am. Who wants to live a life of mediocrity in the middle anyway?

New song completed!

My latest recording can be found here.
Aside from that, I know it’s been all quiet on the blogging front but I don’t have much I want to say here at the moment. More video blogs coming. I have also been Twittering quite frequently though!

Jihad!

I’ve called a realtor. I want to sell this condo and go back to a rental house. I’m meeting her on Friday to at least get the ball rolling.
I’m tired of living in a sound prison because our downstairs neighbor gets disturbed if we fart too loud. An exaggeration? Only slightly. Sound travels all to well through our floor. Ever since we got Rock Band there have been problems. The first day we got it she came up after we had been playing for like 6 hours. Now I can understand how that might have been annoying, don’t get me wrong, but then there was the day she came up at 4:00 in the after noon. And then yesterday at 5:00 in the afternoon. Then began the exchange of letters taped to doors. Starting with my letter to her:

More >

Fun with movie scenes

Often there are casting calls for students at the university casting for scenes from well known movies to be performed in their directing class and then filmed later. I’ve done several of these and tend to audition for the ones that interest me. Yesterday I received an email from someone I’d worked with on a few occasions saying he wanted me to be in a scene from “The Producers”. It was all very last minute as the performance was today. It was nice to be sought out, out of the blue and just offered a part. He asked if I knew anyone else to be in the scene so I suggested Larry.
We went over the scene a few times then went to meet him for a rehearsal. A few hours later we performed in class and it was a resounding success. Going into rehearsal, Larry and I both thought that there wasn’t really much room for interpretation. The scene was pretty much on the page we thought but through rehearsal with the director we ended up finding some interesting angles. I play Max Bialystock much more sinister, creepy and slightly insane. It was fun.
From there I went directly to another audition for a scene from “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang” which also felt like it went well. Wednesday I finish up filming a fun short film and Thursday I am auditioning for scenes from “the Princess Bride” and “Once”. I also have my first session with the six month voiceover/video gig for an educational software company. Then on Saturday it’s off to the Ren Fest where Jess and I got married 6 years ago on November 9. Good times!
On a sad note, our Xbox 360 died today and it looks like it will cost Larry $100 to fix it. Not to mention we’ll be without it for weeks! And in the middle of our Fallout 3 addiction!

Ricardo Montalban and a life update.

I read this quote from Ricardo Montalban and thought it was awesome. Here are Ricardo Montalban’s 5 stages of an Actor’s career:
1. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
2. Get me Ricardo Montalbán.
3. Get me a Ricardo Montalbán type.
4. Get me a young Ricardo Montalbán.
5. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
I was Khan for Halloween. It was awesome. I’ll try to see if I can get my hands on someone’s pictures.
I think I just got a 6 month long voiceover/on screen gig for an educational software company. They wanted an SNL style group of people who could do multiple characters/accents/impressions. I’m quite excited about it! Also worked a pretty fun four day Production Assistant job. Filming a short film two days this week, performing with Capital City Mystery Players doing murder mystery dinner theatre and private shows, scenes from movies for student’s directing classes, and much more!
Larry and I pitched a page of ideas to a company that may have us film a bunch of “viral” youtube type spots for them. Could be our first outside client possibly paying us to write, direct and produce videos. I don’t think they like our budget though even though it’s RIDICULOUSLY low. We’ll see when we present it to them.
Life is a roller coaster but generally beautiful.
Hopefully going to England for 3 weeks around Christmas!