Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On the subject of "Making Music"

Greetings to you. I know it's been a while, but it's been that nutty time of year when I rarely have the time to change my mind, let alone share it with anyone. Today, I find myself with nothing but time as I have been forced to stop and rest. My body is playing some nasty tricks on me, and so I am stuck in bed attempting to escape the pain and get the sleep I have been denied over the nights.

I was going to write about how crappy that feels, but you don't read blogs to hear me bitch, although sometimes I will do that. Just go back one entry.

In the middle all this craziness of my illness came one of the most rewarding moments of my life. To understand fully the context, let's go back a few months.

Most of you know about my love for improv, and how that love has changed me, the way I think, and my desire in life to make others happy. If you have followed this blog, you know the story of how my Improv group began, and that we are going to be doing an original show in September.

In the journey to put together this show, the idea was to create as short form show, with a long form feel. As the show developed, the format took on a new air... a world of romance, introspection and happiness. In examining this world of love in the rehearsal hall, we have discovered that when reality sets in for our scenes, trying for what's in our hearts rather than what's in the comedy books, there is a unique take to the world of love. We saw that it was not about who was right or who was wrong... it was everything in between.

At my favorite improv theatre here in town, the second musical production I had seen at the Historic University Theatre was just wrapping up. The show, called Lovetanic, was improvised musical from start to finish, as was "Lease," another amazing show from the same director. Also, I had just taken Musical Improv and loved the musical aspect.

The one thing that both "Lovetanic" and "Lease" had in common other than one word titles that start with the letter L, was an opening song that was not improvised, but rather written especially for the show.

It was always our intention to have music be a part of our show, but only in the form of an opening act. The Chai House wanted us to take a full two hours, and a two hour improv show, especially with a relatively novice group, would be potentially tedious. So I brought on a wonderful singer named Megan Jergens, whom I had befriended from my karaoke days at Hula Hula. We loved the same kind of songs... ones that spoke honestly about love and what it does to the soul.

Rob, the musical director for Lovetanic and I had also become friends over Sounders soccer. We both show our love for the Rave Green and one day in a conversation on Facebook, I asked him what he thought of the possibility of writing a song for our show. The difference was I wanted to end the show with a song, one that sent home the message of the show.. Much to my happiness, he said yes.

He asked me what I had in mind, and I told him nothing sappy, nothing extremely snappy, but something that would make the audience think and reflect on what they had seen. Little did I know that I was, in essence, asking for a broadway show stopper of sorts.

Rob said he already had some ideas, which made me extremely happy. I told him I would send him some notes. I sat down at the keyboard and started writing ideas. I am not one for poetry. The last poem I had written was probably back in college, song parodies excluded.

For some reason, notes became lyrics and before I knew it, there were a set of lyrics staring me in the face. I sent them to Rob, saying it was just an idea of what I was looking for. I didn't hear from him for a few days, so I thought I had blown it... that he thought I was probably a little pompous - writing lyrics on my own rather than leaving it to the pro.

I could not have been more wrong. "Excellent," he called them. Turns out his e-mail had been not gettng to me as he was replying to Facebook messages on e-mail rather than on Facebook.

Last night, with Megan joining me, we met in a rehearsal hall and I heard, for the first time, the song written for the show. It was breathtaking. It was amazing. It was unlike anything I had imagined. And then I realized, the lyrics were all mine. I had collaborated in writing a song.

My happiness was the first thing to overcome the pain I had been feeling for the past weeks. The accomplished feeling was a most excellent tonic.

So when {girl meets boy} makes its debut, it will finish with an original song by my most talented friend, Rob, with lyrics from your faithful blogger, and sung by my enchanting friend, Megan.

When I returned home and played back the recording on the computer for my wife, I realized what the inspiration was. I had written a song on what love with my love was all about. No wonder it was so easy.

If you are not able to come to the show to hear it in person, I will post it following the show in September.

Well, sadly, I have gone back to feeling a little sick and have to go back to lie down again, but I wanted to share that magical moment with all of you.

Take care of yourselves, and may you find your own magical moment soon.

Yours truly,
Johnny Blogger

Saturday, August 8, 2009

On the subject of "needing therapy"

Therapist is busy... so I will blog instead.

My son is on a cross country camping trip that he signed up for and has been looking forward to for months. Now, 6 days in, he has had kids picking on him, has lost his camera, has gone through a tornado watch and is so upset he wants us to fly out to pick him up and bring him home.

Our house is on the market as we have found a dream house very close by. It is everything we need in a house. Meanwhile, we have put a large amount of money into our own house to get it sold, and so far, it's the market we thought it might be... so I don't know what will happen.
When one of the real estate agents called us and told us that he was going to visit today between 3:30 and 5 PM, my wife and I decided that it would be a good idea to go take some measurements at the new house... just in case it all works out. My daughter was at a friend's house, and said that she wanted to have a sleepover... leaving my wife and I alone for an evening for the first time in a long time.

We returned home and the agent had not arrived and had not left a message. When I called the agent, he announced he was on his way and would be there in minutes. My wife had left to pick up the daughter who no longer wanted a sleep over. We had to get the dog out of the house again, and could not leave the injured (neck) dog in the house because nothing says "buy me" like a house with a high pitched whining dog.

The wife returns home and helps me get the dogs so the wife, daughter, dogs all pack up and go to Grandma's house to allow the viewing.

At Grandma's house, her dog had left a piece of rawhide on the floor which our injured dog decided to pick up and chew and start choking on, so when I went to go try to help him he bit me, thankfully not breaking the skin. He coughed it up and them decided to chew it again and swallow it and coughed. Now, my daughter is trying to help, not hearing me in saying that she will need some protection to do that. He bites her and inflicting a puncture wound on the finger.
This was while my son was on the phone freaking out over the tornado watch which was in the area of where he was camping, which I assured him was okay, as I had lived through many tornado watches in Texas and South Carolina, and checked the local weather there to see that the chance of rain was only 30 percent.

Meanwhile, my daughter's doctor says she needs to be taken to the emergency room for xrays. The Vet bills on the dog were already in the 700 dollar range, and who knows what this will be.
And this call comes after a trip to the doctor's office myself where I am having numbness throughout my left side around my waist, and which apparently is a textbook precursor to shingles. I asked the doctor if stress could cause this and he just laughed.

Happily, he said that I seem to be having the symptoms but not the rash, so I may be out of the woods. However, when I am stressed, there is a pretty intense pain in my side. So needless to say, I am waiting for the pain to hit.

So... how are you doing?

Yours truly,
Johnny Blogger

Friday, August 7, 2009

On the subject of "50 more questions"

Hello internet friends. Sorry to have been gone for a while, but it's the busy season for me... and sadly, I had time for this. Who knew!

I haven’t done one of these in months… but saw that my fellow {breakout} cast member, Megan used this as “Morning Red Bull for the Soul”… Okay, it woke me up a bit, but not like a Red Bull.

No one was tagged, but let me know if you do one.

1. What time did you get up this morning?

8 AM – I used to sleep all the tiome, now I get up early. Don’t like it a bit

2. How do you like your steak?

Medium Rare

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

The Hangover... and it was very funny.

4. What is your favorite TV show?


5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?


6. What did you have for breakfast?

4 Eggo Frozen Waffles, just like every morning

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

American… I am a steak and potatoes kinda guy.

8. What foods do you dislike?

Brussel sprouts and creamed spinach

9. Favorite place to eat?

Lunch: Chipotle

Dinner; A good steak house

10. Favorite dressing?

1000 Island with Caesar being a very close secons

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?

A very bright blue Toyota Highlander

12. What are your favorite clothes?

My karaoke dressup clothes, my Teatro Zinzanni and {breakout} American Apparel Long Sleeve T-Shirts, Lucky Brand Jeans (Lucky You!)

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?

Australia with my wife

Europe for a Football (Soccer) trip with my son.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?

Half full

15. Where would you want to retire?

Somewhere quiet

6. Favorite time of day?

Night time

17. Where were you born?

Washington, DC

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?

Now, Soccer with my son… on my own, College Football

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?

No one cause I won’t tag this.

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?

See number 19

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?

You, of course.

22. Bird watcher?

I was an Orioles fan once, does that count

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?


24. Do you have any pets?

Two dogs, three cats, two kids

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?

The new phone books are here, and I have already placed them in the recycle bin.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?

A television announcer

27. What is your best childhood memory?

The Olympics in 1972 at age 9 and sitting with Howard Cosell talking sports.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?

Used to be a dog person, but then the constant barking of my current two drives me nuts, so the cats have won me over.

29. Are you married?

Yes, for 15 years

30. Always wear your seat belt?

I used to not… but now I do… hate the fact that the government had to make a law, but I guess it’s for the best… although I gave up riding bikes when they said you have to wear a helmet..

31. Been in a car accident?

Flipped a car at age 16 when I fell asleep at the wheel

32. Any pet peeves?

People who are not nice, and Washington state drivers (who have taken over the title from Virginia drivers)

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?

Pepperoni and Mushroom

34. Favorite Flower?

Anything beautiful – white rose if I had to choose

35. Favorite ice cream?

Haagen Daas Lemon Sorbet

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?


37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?


38. From whom did you get your last email?

The people handling my Dad’s estate

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?

The Apple Store

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?

If I have to think of it, it probably wasn’t spontaneous… how’s that from an improviser!

41. Like your job?

The boss is a real… oh, wait a minute, I work for myself! I do like it. Stressful owning your own company though.

42. Broccoli?

Only when my wife makes it for me and insists.

43. What was your favorite vacation?

My recent Alaskan Cruise

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?

My wife

45. What are you listening to right now?

A clock ticking and I want to throw it out the patio door

46. What is your favorite color?

Cobalt Blue

47. How many tattoos do you have?

None and none.

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?

None and none.

49. What time did you finish this quiz?

8:52 AM with 1:26 left on my battery

50. Coffee Drinker?