Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I appreciate all the comments that are published on this blog. I am always surprised anyone is reading it. Take this as a personal thanks to those of you who have taken time find out what is happening on this side of the keyboard.

The intent of this blog has chanced since the heady days of Helen Hayes. I thought I would be able to bring great insight to the working side of a Broadway theater. As I look back on the blog, I remember most of the time being inspired to write not by Broadway itself, but New York in general.

I know why writers live in New York. Every city is a character and since you interact with your environment all the time there are ample ways to write about it. New York is a river town. I remember walking out of my building and feeling an energy rush, like jumping into a fast flowing river. All you have to do is tread water in the direction you are headed and the flow will take you there.

I’m back home now looking for inspiration in Los Angeles. I’ve returned to my regular Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for my semi-daily fix of Ice Blended affairs. On the wall they have a picture of Michael Jackson. He came in and ordered a coffee years ago. Someone had a camera and took a picture of Michael in a hat and surgical mask posing with former employees. I have always wondered how he was going to drink that coffee with that doctor’s mask on.

Yesterday I saw one of the Baristas I know by name. I haven’t seen him since I returned from New York. He says, “Hey Jay, I haven’t seen you in a long time.” I say, “I have been living in New York for a few months”.

I am practicing in my mind what I will say next when he asks me what I was doing in New York. I am trying out the phrases, “Hit Show, Broadway hit, Critically Acclaimed” It will be my first chance to impress the homies with my new status as a performer. Perhaps they will want to replace the aging picture of pedophile Jackson with a new one of Broadway Johnson.

The Barista says, “New York huh?” as he is fixing my Ice Blended Mocha. I am ready with the answer; he just has to ask the question, “What were you doing in New York?”

“So,” he says, “What was the weather like in New York?”
My answer is, “Performing my critically acclaimed one man show on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre.” Well, I don’t get the entire phrase out of my mouth. I get the first syllable out before I realize he asked a different question.

What comes from my lips is “Perf… perfect fall weather.” He gave me my drink and I was off.

Come to think of it who is to say that actually is Michael Jackson in the picture and not just some poser with a mask and a hat?
As you were,
Jay

Friday, January 26, 2007

Okay, I admit it I am an American Idol junkie. I am not proud of it. I only confess it here to my real friends. Supporting this “Idol secret habit” requires me to Tivo the show and watch it in the dead of night when none of my family is around. If they see me watching, they snicker and question my masculinity.

As with any abuse the relationship between the abuser/addict and the substance abused is complicated. My son claims viewing American Idol is actually destroying my aged brain cells. But, I see it as my continuing study to increase my knowledge.

It is a little known fact that for one semester of college I was a Sociology major. American Idol is for me a study of scientific human social and mental behavior. I am fascinated to see how people perceive themselves, competition, their talent, their self-consciousness and career.

Wednesday night there was an example of a classic Bipolar, manic/depressive right out of the textbook. I am looking forward to studying the schizophrenic, narcissistic and sociopathic behavior on next week’s telecast. I’ll bet Dr. Phil is also glued to his television set trying to learn tips on dealing with the dysfunctional and unbalanced from Simon Cowell.

Like a wreck on the Freeway, I can’t turn away from watching people who have totally disconnected from reality. I have known plenty of people who don’t realized how talented they are, but how do you get to be a person who can flaunt a talent that doesn’t exist? Bravura and manic over-confidence is not enough on its own.

I think the first few American Idol shows, before they pick the final 20, should be required watching for anyone going into psychology, sociology, law enforcement and especially show business. The clip of the bipolar audition should be played for every Psyche 101 student. In later episodes the Idol machine takes over and you don’t get a chance to see raw emotional humanity. The show then becomes just the modern day version of an amateur talent contest.

Some think this is voyeurism at its worst; making fun of others and judging their behavior. But no one is forcing people to audition. Everyone knows the pointed and hurtful remarks the panel of judges can hurl. By auditioning they have agreed to be filmed and judged. If you willingly jump into doo doo, you can't complain about the smell.

The truly sad part is the implausible value our society has placed on fame. The one thing all the contestants, talented winners and hopeless dreamers, have in common is the desire to be famous. Andy Worhol had it right when he said, ”some day everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” What disturbs me is the incredible price people willingly pay for those 15 minutes. Based on the average Jerry Springer guest people are willing to give up dignity, shame, pride and privacy.

The quantum physicist Heisenberg says the experiment is changed to the same degree that we observe it. So by my watching American Idol as an experiment, I am actually creating the problem that I am observing. With out observers there can be no fame. Okay, I’ll stop watching so this stupid experiment called American Idol will vanish. Just let me get all the way through this season.
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A quick one from this weeks Sea Log.

Georgetown, Grand Cayman is a "tender port" which means the ship anchors out in the bay and you have to take a small boat from the big ship to get to shore. It is a hassle, as you might imagine and really hard if you are traveling with several cases full of wooden Americans.

There is usually a stagehand on duty to help me on and off the ship, even when we are at a dock. It is especially nice when the trip requires a tender ride. Disembarking the Enchantment I have five guys helping me. The Production Stage Manager, and three stage hands to carry luggage and a purser to deliver my paper work to Cayman immigration and customs officials. Everyone grabbed a show case and it was a fairly painless process to get on and off the tender boat.

We are a parade of people carrying road cases as we walk a few blocks to the immigration and customs house. I need to be cleared before I can go to the airport and catch my plane home. Most of the guys helping me have come ashore to partake of some native food rather than eat on the ship. The immigration process doesn't take that long and we are done fairly quickly. As I get into the cab for my ride to the Airport, I joke and say, I didn’t know it would take five people to help me get off the ship.

The Stage Manager immediately says, “We’re not really here to help. We’re here to make sure you don’t try to get back on the ship.” I am thinking now they were carrying out Captians orders.
As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Avast ye Land bubbers!"
I am so glad to be back on dry land, blogging at my leisure. It was exactly 13 hours from the time I left the Enchantment of the Seas in Grand Cayman until I arrived in Los Angeles. Very long day and more than a little disorienting. I still have sea legs; it takes awhile for your body to readjust to solid footing.

Most of the Captains in the fleet are Scandinavian, and their accents make them hard to understand over the ships public address system. The Enchantment is no exception. Every comic (and ventriloquist) has some “Captain” material making fun of that fact. My friend Bob has some very pointed Captain/drunken sailor remarks that I could never get away with saying on stage.

With that thought in mind, the last show on the ship was by far my best. It was the second show that night; the theater was totally full. They were an exceptionally good crowd, and I was on a roll (that’s why there’s butter on my pants – Old joke, had to go for it)

I come off stage to what I know will be a curtain call, and in the backstage darkness run right into a very tall man in uniform. In a very familiar Scandinavian accent I hear him say, ”Mr. Jenson cump ear, pleeze..” Which translates “Mr. Johnson come here.” It is the very Captain that Bob has just been ragging on during the show.

At that moment the Cruise director calls me back on stage to acknowledge a huge standing ovation. I say, “I’ll be right back, Captain, Sir,” and run onto the stage again.

It is great to see the theater on its feet, I should be basking in the glory, but all I can do is try and remember the things Bob said about the Captain hoping he has a better sense of humor than grasp of the English language. In my many years of being on a ship I have never had the Captain come back stage during one of my shows. Most of the time I never even meet the Captain.

I milk the bow as long as I can, but finally have to return back stage to face the Master of the Ship. He stands for a minute trying to figure out what to say. Finally he says, “I camp boc steege to say, you er veddy goot.” I interpret that as a compliment and say, “I guess you heard all the bad things Bob said about you?”

He says, “No. I dunt understand his accent.”
As you were,
Jay

Sunday, January 21, 2007

'Over Bored

Not only is this ship computer expensive it is also slow. By the time is let me on to write I've spent ten bucks.
Some of my ship savy friends have suggested I go and find the computers in the crew quarters. I remember the last time I went to the crew deck I was almost tatooed and kidnapped as a roommate for a Russian named Beefy. I'll spend the money and avoid the threats.
 
I have done nothing since I did my show the first night here. There are some funny guys named Bert and Howie on the ship. They are jugglers. I have been accepted into the secret society of novelty acts. Bert hurt his back the other night at the gym and could not do his show. He is better now, but I will probably be off the ship before they do their act again. I will miss it. I draw and I write in my journal, and I watch the same ship board movie over and over. I don't know what day it is and as far as the time goes. I don't have a watch and my cel phone is not working in the middle of the sea.
 
I feel about as far from a Broadway actor as I can be. The whole Hell and Haze experience is somewhat of a blurr now. I am back to the bread and butter of show business. I am trying to figure out what that New York blip was in my life last year. It seems to have just been a weird singularity and for the most part I forget that I ever performed on Broadway.  Performing on a ship is sort of the same.  Seems to sound a lot better than it actually is. The difference is I get paid the same whether anyone comes to the show or not.
 
I now have plenty of time to comtemplate that experience since I am out of time on this keyboard sea monster.
I look forward to writing for free very soon. I will be glad to be off this velvet prison.
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, January 18, 2007

HI Sailor New in Town

I am here on board the Enchantment of the Seas. I have been on this ship many times but not since 2005.  That is when  they cut the ship in half and added 75 feet to the middle. It is a much longer walk from my cabin aft to the theater in the bow.  The theater is beautiful and the production staff is mainly from England. The cruise director is a Welsh lady, there are some great accents backstage. Tony the PSM calls places with, "Act one beginners on stage please." It is still me, but I do feel like a show when he does it.  However, I do miss the kind way in which the Wiz would tell me to "Get you ass out of the Chair" for places on Broadway.
 
We're currently anchored in Belize and I joined the ship in Cozumel. Sounds much more exciting than it is. I slept through Belize and all I saw in Cozumel was the tiny airport. I had to perform last night, which was the first night I was on board. Usually they give me a couple of days to chill.  I don't work again until Monday.  Until then I will just be cargo. This is a 4 day cruise so the average age is much lower than normal. There are actually some people on board who can laugh with out fear of a heart attack.
 
Okay, I have spent my allowance on this Internet fee.
As you were,
Jay

Monday, January 15, 2007

I’m back in Los Angeles after my week in Ruston, Louisiana. It was warmer in Ruston than it is now in sunny Southern California. The ice storms in the Midwest made air travel even more miserable than normal. After having my entire trip cancelled and rebooked, there was still an hour and a half delay at the Monroe Regional Airport and three hours delay at DWF Airport. I finally got home at 1:30am PST, that is 3:30am Ruston Standard time. That works out to 12 hours in transit. I could have gone to Paris in the same time.

DFW Airport looked like a reenactment of the fall of Saigon when I arrived. Hundreds of pissed off people clamoring to get out on any available flight. Lost luggage was stacked ten deep and three high. I think they should have issued taser guns to the gate agents yesterday. I have rarely seen such bad behavior from such a large group of selfish travelers.

I hate to travel, especially by commercial airplane. However, there doesn’t seem to be any way out of “air commuting” to do my job. Tomorrow I fly to Houston, and catch another plane to Cozumel, MX and board the Enchantment of the Seas, to fulfill my RCCL contract.

It is hard to engender pity when I say I have to go work on a ship cruising around the Caribbean for a week. However, getting to the ship means three airplanes, three times through TSA security, twice through customs American and Mexican, twice through immigration and a Mexican taxi ride which is death defying alone.

On the ship I have passenger status, which is really great. This means I don’t have to pull lifeboat detail, run the bingo game or swab the deck. I also get to go anywhere on the ship and am not restricted to crew quarters. I do about four shows over the week, which is a very easy schedule. The theater is very nice and the equipment great.

The bad part is, although there are ample computers to use at their cyber cafĂ© on board ship, I am charged passenger rates, usually about 75 cents a minute. At that rate I would have already blown 20 bucks writing this. I know you are thinking, “It takes him more than 5 minutes to write this crap?” Well, it does. A dyslexic can never spend too much time rereading what he has rwittne. Wdors can just get jumbled. It takes tmie.

So if the blogs are short and sweet the next week you will understand. I will try to at least fill you in on where I am.

Thanks again David Wylie, Scott and Paulette, Mark, Darby and the entire cast of the Op Shop for making my time in Ruston so great. Great people, great performers and new friends. (Special mention to Scott and Paulette without whom I would have starved to death alone and forgotten at the Holiday Inn Express. Also to Mark Guinn and family for my only home cooked meal while I was in Louisiana. And of course, my old, old friend David Wylie, who by now has forgotten my name)
As you were,
Jay

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The weather gods have decided that my stay in Ruston was not yet complete. They cancelled my flights. I will be here another 9 hours. I think there is more to it than that. There is some conspiracy now that I have penetrated the Bulldog society of Louianna Tech.

To the cast and crew of the Opera Workshop. What an honor to perform with you. Thanks for making me feel so welcome.

Yipes. David Wylie has just shown up to take me to the airport. He is 5 hours early but he is also very old and forgetful. More later,
As you were,
Jay

Saturday, January 13, 2007

There is a MySpace for me or the show or something involving me that has been compromised. I am sorry if you have received anything with the name of the show or my name attached that is not appropriate. It didn't come from me or anyone associated with The Two and Only.

I don't participate in the Myspace site and never have. MySpace is not my style. It is like attempting a substantial conversation with someone while wearing a rubber face mask. I asked the company manager of the show to take that site down. This is the only place you will get a message from me.

With that said I am still in Ruston, Lousianna. It seems that professor/director Wylie printed out my blog and read it to the cast during last night's pre-show note session. Yipes. I have to be more careful than I thought. My cover has been blown and my mission has been compromised. I am keeping detailed notes and when I reach a city with more than one area code, I will expound more fully on my covert operation.

The master class went very well yesterday. I had fun pretending that I had any useful information to present to a group of really terrific students. I am in the buckle of the Bible Belt. I thought I had scoured my language and left coast attitudes enough to pass, but not so. There are some things you just can't anticipate.

My new friend and narrator for this show is Scott Gilbert. He was a teacher here for a while but now lives a sinful life of theater director in California. The Subaru he rented in another city to drive while he is here has caused a scandal. This left wing non-American vehicle is only tolerated because we are from "out of town".

There is a story I heard yesterday at the Blue Light resturant about a high school driver-training lesson. It seems during the lesson the instructor yelled to the young driver, "Stop pull over." When the young driver quickly complied the instructor reached for the pistol under his seat and flung open the door to shoot at a fleeing varmit. I suppose drivers here are suppose to know the exact date squirel season opens.

Have to go the Motel manager wants to use this computer to search the internet for rodent bait. Shhh... more later.
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I am attempting to use a high jacked computer at the Holiday Inn Express in Ruston, Louisiana to communicate. I may get caught at any moment and asked to get out of the Motel manager's office, so this could be shorter than usual. I am also attempting to post the blog in a different way. Hope it works.

I am performing for the Opera Workshop for Louisiana Tech. Actually this is an annual performance with students singing selections from Broadway Musicals. The production is directed by my friend and college roommate. I am doing some of the material from The Two and Only. This is great fun, theater as it should be, done for the very love and experience of doing it. The stage managers back stage are doing the choreography alone with the performers on stage. They all call me Mr. Johnson and they are the age of my kids. I do feel like the old salt on the table. We will run this show for four days, and as I understand it we are "sold out" for the entire run. "Sold out" is not a theatrical term that I am very familiar with.

Tomorrow I will do a master class. Actually a question and answer session on whatever they want to ask. I am having a great time reconnecting with my "old" friend and roomie David Wylie. When I get out of town I will tell more stories about him. He is holding my check from the University, and I can't say too much yet.

Okay here comes the motel manager back from lunch. Must go.
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Wiz report for Tuesday

I do not have a story about Tony Bennett. I wish I did – it’s a great story. I have an uncle who resembles him, but that’s about it. I DO, (much like Jay) have a story about how we remember things – or how our memory fails us. I call it the Air and Space Museum Story.

This story takes place about 13 years ago, before Wiz Spouse (WS) and I were married. My best friend had moved from the New York/New Jersey area to Washington DC. We went to visit her there a few times. While my friend was at work during the day, we would wander around DC doing all of the “touristy” things. One of those excursions was to the Air and Space Museum, one of my all time favorite museums. I remember everything so vividly. There was an exhibit of Thermographic Silk Screenings that were images of the coastline of Maine. WS is from Maine and I remember him showing me (on the silk screens) the various towns, rivers, etc. The colors were rich and they were very beautiful. WS’s Dad is a retired Air Force pilot. I remember WS showing me which planes he flew and reading me the histories behind them. I remember showing WS the same exhibits that my dad showed me when he took me there as a kid. I even remember telling WS that I was going to buy my little brother some “space rock space candy” as a souvenir. I still remember all of this vividly today.

A few years pass and WS and I are now married and visiting his family in Maine. My best friend was with us and I was telling WS’s family about our trip to the museum. In the middle of my story WS says, “I don’t remember any of this – I’ve never been to the Air and Space Museum”. That’s when the argument began. “Of course you were there, don’t you remember…” Nope. He didn’t remember a thing. He didn’t even remember going on the trip. “Of course you were there” I kept saying. I re-counted all of my memories to him, after each one saying “don’t you remember?” Nope. How can he not remember something I remember so vividly? It was incredibly maddening, and now his entire family thinks I’m a lunatic. Finally to end the (huge) argument, I said “I have pictures, I’ll show you when we get home.”

We get home and I find all the pictures. WS isn’t in any of them. Why didn’t I take any pictures of him there? I should have taken at least one picture…

Nope. Nothing. The family is now divided. I am convinced WS was on this trip. WS and his entire family are convinced he was not.

As time goes by, we (me, WS, his family, and my best friend) piece this all together. We look at pictures, train tickets, airline tickets, books we were reading at the time, anything that would give us some insight. It turns out that they’re right. WS was not on that trip with me. He was never at the Air and Space Museum until years later. I must have missed him so much that I wished him there. But it’s all so vivid, just the way everyone in Jay’s story remembers Jay pulling out a banana. To this day I remember all of the conversations that he and I had on that trip – all the places we saw, the museum, everything. It’s an odd feeling to vividly remember something that didn’t happen. I can swear he was there. The mind can play some mighty tricks on us!

Until the next one,
Wiz

Friday, January 05, 2007

By popular request I will recount the Tony Bennett story. I am always surprised who reads this blog, but I am fairly sure he does not. This is a better story "live" when I can do the hand gestures and Tony poses, but you will have to imagine that.

Roger Vorst used to be head of APA New York and the personal agent responsible for Tony Bennett before he retired when Tony passed away. (Okay, Roger just retired... he got bored waiting for Tony to croak). During this time I am represented by APA Los Angeles. Roger thought it would be a great for me to be Tony's permanente opening act. I think CAA made a fortune on that idea in the 80's by calling it "packaging".

I was hired to open for Tony at Caesar’s in Atlantic City for a couple of days, so Tony could see my act, get to know me and okay this package. It seemed like a done deal. Roger came to my dressing room before the first show and waxed eloquent about how perfect our two acts would fit together. This was a "dream team", and "great for the Agency". He stayed in my dressing room until it was time for me to go on stage.

The Caesar’s gig ended. I never met Tony Bennett, never heard from Roger Vorst, and was never asked to perform with him again. It had gone very well, I thought. The audience he drew in the Casino was certainly one that I was able to entertain.

Five years later I am in New York with a new personal manager. We walk into Roger Vorst's office for a visit; I was still represented by APA. After the pleasantries Roger says, "Well, we were certainly upset that the Tony Bennett thing didn't work out. We should have warned you."
"Warned me?"
"Yeah, how were you to know that would offend him."
"What would offend him?"
"We try to be so careful, and then something like this happens, well it just broke our hearts, because we thought the two of you were going to make a perfect team."

This vague conversation goes on for sometime and it becomes obvious that I have offended Mr. Bennett in some way unknown to me. I don't see how I could have offended him since I never even met the man.

Here is what I was told. Sounds weird, but the whole thing was "a couple of taco's short of a combination plate."

Tony hates bananas. It has something to do with being called "banana nose" in his youth. His real name is Bennidetto and he has always had a weird nose. (Didn't want it fixed because he thought it would change his sound) Instead of Tony Bennidetto they would call him Tony "Banana Nose". Rival singers used to send bananas backstage in his early days just to screw with his head.

Okay, because of his banana phobia he is on the fence about monkeys. Well Darwin was in my show when we did Ceasar's. Tony evidently came out front with Roger to watch my act that first night.

Five years later Roger is recounting, "I think he was okay with the monkey, but when you pulled out the banana, he walked away. I knew it was all over."
"Roger, I don't use a banana in that act, or any act."
"Well, you did that night."
"No, I didn't. I never have. Banana is a "B" word and I have avoided all banana references because of that."
Roger was insistent that I had used a banana in the act, as if he remembered my act better than me. For whatever reason, I didn't get the opening act job because Tony hates bananas.

That night Roger and his assistant came to the club I was working. I did the same Darwin the Monkey act I had done at Caesar’s. After the show he said, "I'm glad to see you cut the banana bit."
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Wiz report for Thursday

Happy New Year to you all! Well it’s been just over a month in the new apartment, and other than it being a rather long trek into Manhattan, we’re quite happy with it. When we signed the lease, we discussed some minor renovations with the landlord. The kitchen was less than functional and in need of some serious updating. We agreed that we could do whatever we wanted to in the apartment. Once that was decided, I went into “renovation mode.” We chose the week between Christmas and New Year’s to begin the project. Wiz Spouse (WS) was off from work that week (and this week as well), and since he would be doing most of (if not all of) the work, that seemed to make the most sense.

I’ve heard many stories of the horrors of home improvement. I am also rather thick skulled and chose not to believe them. Of course we can do this! Wiz Spouse is a technical director – having built many sets and most of the furniture we own. Me? I am very good at holding things, locating tools and asking very silly questions. Between the two of us, we could tackle anything.

Being that we do not own our place, we chose to go the least expensive route. Our plans included putting in a snap and click laminate floor and replacing the cabinets. The floor would come from Lowe’s, the cabinets from Ikea.

Let’s start at the beginning. The floor would be first on the list. I’ve had a little experience with a snap and click floor. I helped install one on a set, and it was relatively easy. As I said to WS, “you just snap and click it together – it’s not that hard.” That will be the last time I ever use that sentence. It was more than moderately challenging. First of all, it turns out that the room isn’t square, so fitting the planks is not an easy task. They must all be cut to size – something we had not anticipated, but also something we could overcome. Secondly, there is ceramic tile at the bottom of the walls, making for a less than pleasing transition to the floor. But most importantly, “snap and click” really doesn’t happen that way. WS started saying “I don’t hear the click”. So I tried. I didn’t hear it either. After several hours of attempting to hear the click, WS did it his own way. I didn’t ask what that meant. I felt it was best for me not to know and more importantly not to ask. It took just about 2 days, and it was how we spent New Year’s Eve, but most importantly, it’s done. To the staff at Lowes – thank you for dealing with me. I know it’s a challenge.

The cabinets were next. (I am skipping over the demolition, as there’s really nothing exciting to tell. Demolition is demolition.) Once again, both of us have some experience with Ikea furniture. Whatever furniture in our house that WS didn’t make, Ikea did. Both WS and I agreed that this was going to be a painful process. There is nothing more tedious than lining everything up and making sure that it is level and square in all directions. WS doesn’t have much patience for that. For those of you who may not be familiar with Ikea, here’s a bit of background. First of all, everything has a name that you can’t read or pronounce. Second, everything comes packed flat in boxes. Third, the directions are all in pictures – not a single word! So we drive out to Ikea Elizabeth and purchase our cabinets. As luck would have it, the cabinets themselves were in stock, but the doors were not. They would be arriving separately in about 7-10 days – just when WS leaves for Toronto for a month! Our timing couldn’t be more perfect. So we purchase our cabinets, drive them home, and haul them up the stairs. We’re ready for the tedious process of putting them together. We know it’s going to be terrible. We couldn’t have been more wrong! They couldn’t have been easier. OK, the directions still don’t make much sense to me, but WS figured it out very quickly and he and Wiz Kid (WK) had most of the cabinets together within a few hours. Doors? Couldn’t be easier! There are pre-drilled holes for the hinges (which are really cool and snap together much better than the floor did!) and the shelving brackets AND they even have a “hardware template” that you use to determine where to put the handles and/or knobs! These guys have thought of everything! The cabinets went up without too much of a problem. The worst part of the countertop portion of the cabinet installation was our non-square room. The doors arrived today (much earlier than expected) and are already in place.

I very well could be the first person without a major horror story on home renovation. We are ahead of schedule. We are under budget. We didn’t come across any major surprises while doing this project. We only have a little bit of repair to do from the demolition – (the previous built-in cabinets were really built-in many, many years ago.) But most importantly, I’ve learned some things in the process:
1. never say “it just snaps and clicks” – it doesn’t
2. when it’s not going well, don’t say to your spouse “well I can call Lowes and hire someone.”
3. don’t do demolition on New Year’s Day – your neighbors won’t appreciate it
4. when you ask a question, remember the answer and then don’t ask the question again. Trust me.
5. the best time to shop at Ikea Elizabeth is at 10am during the week. It’s empty!

We still have one drawer to buy and install, one set of doors on back-order, knobs and such must be purchased and installed, and then there is the task of repairing and re-painting the wall and ceiling. We should have drawers and knobs on Friday. The rest will have to wait until WS returns from Toronto. He’s done a terrific job. My thanks to WS, WK, Lowes and Ikea for making this go smoothly and look great!

Until the next one,
Wiz

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Welcome to 2007. I will never forget working one New Years Eve when the boys were small, I left in the afternoon for the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach. I said, “See you next year, boys,” and gave them a kiss. Taylor was too small to get the reference and thought I was leaving for a year. We joke about it almost every New Year’s eve.

Taylor also reminded me of another New Years Eve memory. He was 8 years old and the only one in the house awake when I got home from a New Years Eve performance. I was wired from a tough evening. I fixed hot chocolate; we huddled under a blanket on the couch and watched a video tape of Pinoccio until the sun came up.

I really never liked performing on New Years Eve but the money became very tempting every September when I would start getting calls. For a while I decided that I would take every other year off. One year working, one year for myself. The last three years I just haven’t been that tempted.

Where ever you were, and what ever you did, I hope it was a memory that will be with you for a long time.
As you were,
Jay