Friday, May 30, 2008

Goodbye Spurs...

Jeannie's from San Antonio so she and her brother Bud were a little disappointed last night when the Spurs were eliminated from the playoffs.

However, I know a way to cheer them.

A few nights ago, Jeannie and I were watching the Spurs/Hornets game and something odd caught my eye. I grabbed the Tivo remote and rewound it so I could look a little closer.

As Manu Ginobli steps up to the foul line the camera pans to the audience to show the crowd trying to distract him from making his foul shots.

Look in the middle of the screen and you'll see a guy working super-hard to try to throw Ginobli off his game.

What is that guy doing with his knees?

That's a dance move Jimmy Stewart did in "It's A Wonderful Life". My grandpa Herchel used to do that move when my sister and I were little kids and we thought he was magic.

I love that he thinks that move is going to cause Manu to miss a free throw. If you go back and watch the first clip that I put up there you'll see that the closer Manu gets to shooting the ball, the faster he pumps his knees.

I don't know if anyone else thinks it's funny, but Jeannie and I could not stop laughing at that guy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hello Winter...

Hello Winter. Surprised to see you back in this area again so soon.

Seriously!

It was 40 degrees yesterday.

Today's not that much better. Are we ever going to have Spring or Summer here in Chicago?

***

The past few days I've been running around getting things ready for our departure. We found Bud a place to live. Started packing up some of our belongings. Found a self-storage facility where we'll store our things for the next several months. And...

Went to the optometrist to get new packs of contact lenses. When I went in to speak to the doctor he asked if he could do a quick check up to make sure the contacts were working properly.

My shoulders slumped and I begrudgingly agreed.

An hour later, I was finished. Apparently, the previous optometrist had given me the wrong prescription. I knew that I was seeing as well with my new contacts, but I thought my eyes had been getting worse. I never imagined that she had screwed up my exam.

Ugh.

I hate eye exams.

***

Last year while we were in Bar Harbor Jeannie, Brett and I spent an entire evening watching YouTube videos of game show bloopers.

This morning as I was organizing some files on my computer I found one that I had saved. Please watch both of these. They made me laugh so hard that my jaw aches!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Jeff Griggs Event

This past Saturday was the Jeff Griggs Event race at Arlington Park Race Course.

It was a huge success. So many of our great friends were able to come.


Look at how much fun we had.



Here's a video I made of the day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Boat stuff...

Yesterday Jeannie and I met with Beth at Second City for our Official Meeting. She gave us an overview of the ship and explained what we would be doing and what would be expected of us.

It was very informative and helpful. We have a much clearer idea of what we're about to embark upon.

One of the subjects she spent a great deal of time discussing was that we're strongly encouraged to interact and mingle with the passengers of the cruise line.

She went on to another subject and then circled back around and re-emphasized that Second City and Norwegian Cruise Lines really wants us to hang out and talk to the passengers.

It was at that time that I got a little self conscious. I wondered if my reputation of being a little anti-social had preceded me into the room.

Actually, I don't know if anti-social is the right label for what I am. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I hate going to bars. I'm not a good "chit-chatter". And, I never go to parties.

I don't think that's anti-social. I just think it's "pro-going home and watching TV".

So, mingling and interacting is something I'll have to work on.

On the way home from the meeting I stopped into a store to buy a new tie for this weekend. Next to the tie section was the "formal wear" section. At the meeting Beth informed me that I'd need a black suit for our scripted shows on the boat. I have a black suit, but it's double breasted and the lapels are a little too wide. It's not that old, but it's kind of outdated.

To my astonishment, the suits at the department store were on sale for Memorial Day weekend. I found a super nice one that was very stylish and priced perfectly below the clothing allowance that we've been given. I snatched it up and headed home.

Buying a suit is now off my list of things to do.

Now I just have to work on being pro-social.

Friday, May 23, 2008

This blog is about to go international...

Holy Smokes!

This week has been crazy.

By crazy, I don't mean it's been busy. I mean it's been crazy.

Around 9:00 on Monday evening as I was busy cooking dinner and Jeannie was engrossed in her favorite TV show, Little People, Big World, I received a surprising e-mail. It was from Beth Kligerman, Director of Talent and Talent Development at Second City.

I read the e-mail and gasped.

I gasped a little too loudly. It was a little too dramatic and it startled Jeannie. She thought I'd just read an e-mail that someone had died. I compounded her worries by telling her she needed to turn off the TV because we needed to have a serious talk.

To make a long story short, Beth had extended an offer for both Jeannie and I to perform with The Second City on The Dawn, one of the Norwegian Cruise Line Ships.

As if that wasn't momentous enough, the offer was being made because two performers had canceled and they were going to need us to be ready to go on the ship on June 15th.

June 15th!!!

That was just a little more than 3 1/3 weeks away!

My first thought was that there was no way we were going to be able to do it. Jeannie had a new job...I was scheduled to perform and teach at 2 different theaters in other parts of the country...Jeannie's brother Bud was spending the entire summer with us here in Chicago...I had freelance jobs that I was still waiting to hear if they'd been picked up or not... there was four months left on my lease at the apartment...

It just seemed impossible.

And then...I settled down and thought it over.

It might be able to work.

I picked up my phone and started making phone calls. At the same time, I began sending e-mails. One by one, my schedule opened up. Before I knew it, my summer was completely free.

Amazingly, it was all beginning to feel possible.

The only things standing in the way for me where the freelance jobs and my corporate traveling job. I talked to the corporate folks and they were agreeable to using my friend Mike and a couple of my other friends to replace me.

After a great deal of consideration, I decided that I was going to have to step away from the freelance jobs. They were still very much up in the air and I could wait all summer before someone made a decision as to whether or not they were going to be picked up. I could gamble and hope they got picked up or I could take the secure job that was being offered me.

Another big, big, BIG factor was that the offer was for both Jeannie and I. I was being offered a job to perform, work and travel to Bermuda with my girlfriend! How could I turn that down?

I couldn't.

On Tuesday, I wrote Beth and accepted her offer.

Since that e-mail on Monday, everything has been insane.

Neither Jeannie or I have slept very much and I've been working like crazy to get things ready for she and I to leave Chicago in 3 weeks and to be on a cruise ship for 4 months.

Highlights so far have been:
Amazingly, my landlord let me out of my lease early without a penalty.
Jeannie was able to quit her job without too much trouble.
RCN Cable, Com-Ed, Netflix and Sports Illustrated have been canceled without much fanfare.

Things that still need to be done:
Find someplace to store my furniture for the next four months.
Find someplace for Jeannie's brother Bud to stay for the next 3 months.
Buy Cabana Wear.
????I don't know. Lots more things. Thinking about it makes my head swim.

Needless to say, I'm very excited.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lincoln Karaoke

After Jeannie's Mrs. Dad show on Saturday she and her friends went to the newly discovered Lincoln Karaoke.

It looks just like something you'd see in Lost In Translation.

It's in Little Korea on North Lincoln.
I have to say before going to this place I was not a big fan of Karaoke. After being there for an hour, that feeling didn't change.

I do not like Karaoke.

Not one bit.

I stayed as long as I could, but eventually I had to leave.

The rest of the group had a grand old time. Jeannie, Curt, Gina, Greg, Molly and Brian stayed until 2:30am.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Houston,...again...

Boy.

I feel like I'm in Houston more than Chicago.

This trip I'm in on Thursday, out on Friday.

The only exciting thing about the trip was that I was able to find a Whataburger!
Even their meals look adorable!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day and Hair Cuts...

On Saturday Jeannie and I drove down to Decatur to spend a couple days with my family for Mother's Day.

Saturday night we went out to eat at Brian Jack's favorite pizza parlor, Monical's Pizza.
Monical's is a big pizza chain in Central Illinois and I wanted Jeannie to try it. She loved it.
On Monday, Jeannie got her hair cut. She was really nervous about it because she'd grown it out for 3 years and it had grown pretty long. The new hair cut is great!
The great part about the old hair is that she donated it to Locks Of Love. Wow!

There are a lot of pictures of Jeannie and Brian Jack in this blog entry.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ugh...

Man-oh-man. The Cubs have been awful the past few weeks. Jon Leiber just gave up 4 home runs in the 4th inning.

I don't have anything else to say about that.

***

Jeannie bought me a balloon on my birthday. 33 days later that balloon is still flying high.
How cool is that!

***

Here's a little life lesson that I hope will help you play better with people.

If you are insecure about your talents and abilities, talking poorly about others doesn't make you appear to look better in other people's eyes. It just makes you look petty and bitter.

***

After traveling and working for the better part of 2 months I've finally had a chance to get back to writing. In the past 3 days I've been diligently working on finishing a manuscript that I started eons ago. In these few days I've written 8,000 words which equals out to 25 pages.

I can't tell you how peaceful that makes me feel.

If we could just get the Cubs to play better everything would be great.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Eau Claire...

Thursday we flew up to Minneapolis and drove to Eau Claire, Wisconsin for a meeting.

We ate at a nice restaurant called Mona Lisa on Thursday evening. It was especially nice because both of my bosses were there. It's been rare that we get to hang out with both of them so it was nice.

Friday our meeting was at the Florian Gardens. It's a meeting hall, but it specializes in wedding receptions. On it's website it says "Our elegant venue features beautifully appointed ballrooms overlooking exquisite gardens."

It's brochure says:

Well, it certainly does have a secret. The secret is that it's a sham. Every aspect of their "exquisite gardens" is manufactured and fabricated. By looking at the photos it looks like this place is nestled in the forest of some countryside. It isn't.

It's on industrial property right next to I-94.
They've built a bunker on their property to hide the "exquisite gardens" from the road, but if you're standing outside all you can hear are the semi-trucks barreling down the freeway. Blech! This place really annoyed me. It seemed like a crappy cardboard cut out where you place your face through a hole and there's a funny image beneath you. To prove it, I had Mike pose like a bride at several of the photo locations.

If I was getting married in Eau Claire, I'd skip Florian Gardens and have my wedding next door at Action City.
We stopped over there during a break.

We played Deal or No Deal and raced on Go Karts.
Those Go Karts are fast! Mike and I were the only 2 people on the track so we were able to zip around as fast as wanted. He slammed into the wall a couple times so I came within milli-seconds of lapping him.

After our meeting we drove back to Minneapolis to fly home. Mike flew back to LA, but my flight was canceled because of t-storms all around the Midwest. I was forced to rent a car and drive 7 hours back to Chicago.