Thursday, November 30, 2006

In the office, working late on a special project.

Harry: God, I hope this still seems funny in the morning.

My fortune cookie read, "It is quality rather than quantity that matters. Do a good job."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

By the seventh grade, 'School Days' abruptly stops asking what you want to be when you grow up. At that point, the question disappears from the book.

I wonder if there's a time when certainty about the future returns.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Everyone in this picture is participating in a group conversation via Instant Message. Me too. Every once in a while, someone will ask a question out loud. "Do you have any examples?" And then everyone will go back to typing to each other.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

5:30 am.

Just finished a red eye flight.

Riding the inter-terminal tram.

Next I will get on a bus that will take me to my car in Economy Parking Lot F.

Then I will drive home.

In a few hours, the new workweek begins.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My last day in L.A.

Natasha is a member of the Writer's Guild (she's written an award-winning Oxygen movie and done rewrites on 'Three's Company' and Martha Stewart tell-alls, among other things). She took me to an awards season free movie screening of 'Children of Men' at the DGA building.

Natasha: It seems like there are more screenings than usual this year, but I usually can't go because of Harper. They used to send out more DVD screeners, but not so much anymore. This year we got two movies we've already seen and two 9/11 movies.

Driving through Laurel Canyon on the way there ("Why do I somehow know more L.A. street names than names of streets in Chicago, where I live?"), I joked that I would stomp through the halls declaring, "For MY consideration?! I'm not considering this!"

I enjoyed the movie, and the goofy feeling of being at least a stutter-step "inside." I was disappointed by the lack of popcorn, though.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Talked to Sarah on the phone. She had a nice Thanksgiving in Boston, eating with a friend's family. But when she went to use the camera I'd given her, the view screen went green and the camera locked up. When I gave it to her, I knew it was a little old and beat up, but I didn't realize it would crap out in less than three days. It's definitely broken, maybe beyond repair. I can see her looking down and saying, "Oh no, my camera." Again. This time it was my fault.

Sarah: Why does everything I touch these days break?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Brett and Natasha both work from home.

"I spend a good part of my work day doing this," Brett whispered over a noise machine, bouncing up and down on a fitness ball, working at his computer, Harper bjorned to his chest.

Later we talked about memory, and the idea that some people claim to remember things from when they were babies. Brett is a bit of a skeptic, but said, "Her brain is taking in so much information, processing it, storing it... I believe it can stay in there somewhere." I conceded it's possible, but I think our brains are more likely to trick us than anything else.

Me: [leaning my face in close to Harper's] Remember this. Remember this moment.
Brett: We'll find out if it works in seven years. Seven years seems like a good amount of time, right?

Then I told her a secret phrase to remember. We debated changing the phrase to something else, something less stupid, but ultimately decided to stick with what we had. In seven years we'll see if it worked.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving in L.A. with Brett, Natasha (Mother/Freelance Writer) and their daughter, Harper (3 Month Old). Brett and Natasha moved here from Brooklyn, shortly after their wedding last summer. Neither of them seem in love with L.A., but it made sense for both of their careers.

A number of people commented on how much Harper looks like Brett. I think she looks more like Natasha, and, all joking aside, I suspect people get distracted by the fact that Brett's bald.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Waiting for my flight at the O’Hare Airport, I talked to Steve (Administrative Assitant) on the phone about the WNT video project and the fact that the studio is becoming increasingly certain it would benefit from having a laugh track added. They’ve suggested adding fake applause when a character enters, “like Kramer or Fonzie.”

Steve: It can be frustrating, but at the same time I guess it’s pretty stereotypical of what happens to everyone when they deal with the entertainment industry.
Me: Only it’s weirdly distilled to its essence because we’re only working on something that’s five minutes long. There so much less room to keep the things we like as these other ideas edge in.

The flight I was waiting for was to Los Angeles, and I could sense people around me, watching out of the corner of their eye, thinking, wrongly, that maybe I was somebody.

On the plane I watched the latest cut on my iPod. Odd to see myself and Steve (and Alex and Megan). And odd to see how much it’s changed and is changing.

After that I listened to a podcast that included an interview with Jim Gaffigan, a very funny comedian and actor. “The level of humiliation that exists in acting, I think, is like a hundred times worse than any humiliating moment I’ve had in stand-up. Even when I’ve bombed, when I’ve heard boos, it’s not as bad as some auditions I’ve been to.”

And after that I half-watched the in-flight movie, ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’ It was predictable but charming, and by the end, like movies often do, it’s tone had rubbed off on my mood. I had taken on some of it’s ‘can-do’ spirit. Although what, exactly, I now feel I “can do”… I’m not so sure about.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thing have been busy at work lately, so there's been a temporary moratorium on playing 'Call of Duty.'

I've never been good at or fond of first person shooter games, but I have to admit I'm experiencing a little withdrawal. I'm not the only one.

Woody: I think about 'Call of Duty' all the time.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sarah's last day in Chicago. This is her digital camera with something shattered inside the display. The display, in case you didn't know, is the most expensive part to replace, more or less costing the price of the camera.

This is the 10101st picture I have taken with my own digital camera. I know this, because the camera keeps a tally, numbering each picture and keeping it somewhere deep within its code. Maybe someday everything will have it's own internal odometer, so we'll be able to quantify everything. ("Hmm... I'm eating my 679th bowl of Future Cereal.")

This is also the last picture I took with my digital camera. Sarah didn't want me to buy her a new one, so I bought myself a new one and gave her my old one. As romantic gestures go, it's not that grand, but it'll work.

"Hey," Sarah said, taking pictures of herself with my old (her new) camera, "I'm pretty good at taking pictures with this."

[Today, I received this text message from my friend, Brett (Web Designer), in L.A. "I just saw Morgan Freeman walking down Franklin playing a flute and walking a chihuahua. I swear to god."

I'm heading to L.A. for the Thanksgiving weekend.]

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sarah and I went to a birthday party for Nick and Katie's (Speech-Language Pathologist) daughter, Jane (3 Year Old).

Nick: A couple weeks ago, we were going to go to the park. Jane came out of her room carrying an armful of toys. I said, "Jane, we can't take all this stuff to the park. You can take one thing." She sighed, looked up at me and said, "Dad, you're killin' me."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Whirled News video project is in the editing stages. Rough cut. Notes. Another cut. More notes.

Each stage of this process brings new voices and new changes. Some for the better, some for the worse, many just different.

Friday we received e-mailed notes from the studio that's hired us to do this. The notes were mostly very astute and helpful. Mostly.

Studio E-mail: This one I know you're going to hate, but how about a laugh track?
Glynn: Goodbye cruel world.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sarah's in town again, this time for her grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. Here her family gathers to have pictures taken. It's a horrible picture in a lot of ways (too much flash, for one), but I think it accurately captures the family photo experience.

Photographer: Okay, let's take a couple without the beer bottle in the background.

The dinner itself was very nice, and included a number of speeches. Here are some highlights.

Sarah's Grandfather: I said to my wife, you should wear that gold dress of yours, since it's our golden anniversary. She said, "I'm wearing red. Blood... sweat... and tears."

Sarah's Grandmother: I'm happy that there are many people here tonight who were at our wedding 50 years ago. Of course, there are many people who are not here, because they are in heaven... we hope.

Sarah's Uncle: I asked Mom how she knew Dad was the one and she said, "Because I knew he would never leave me."

Another of Sarah's Uncles: Here's a poem my Uncle Bill read at my wedding, and I thought I'd read it here tonight. "Love each other/ Never give up on each other/ Have children/ They are the glue that will keep you together." [folds paper up and puts it back in pocket] Uncle Bill was a bachelor...

Sarah: The next morning, everyone realized that Grandpa had told every child that had walked through the room that night that they were his favorite.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The best thing about the wrap party last weekend was getting to see people from the old project who aren't around anymore.

Mary wrote on her blog, "I had a real nice time. It was good to see familiar faces and reminisce. From my 8 months there, I have an imprint that includes: yoga, a tea whistle, laughter, worry, reading passages, long meetings, Peapod, Josh the Dog*, confidence, and a sense of belonging."

As far as I can tell, no one else blogged about the party. Maybe they were all too self conscious, knowing how many of us read each other's blogs.

Or maybe they simply felt like Mary, who also wrote, "I would be wise to let the reminiscing end when I turn out my bedside lamp tonight. There is so much on the horizon that needs a great deal of thought and much action--no time for history."

* Josh, the dog, also, sadly, does not work at Jellyvision anymore. He was not at the wrap party.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Last night was Otis-giving, the annual Thanksgiving celebration for my improv team, Otis. Here, everyone takes pictures of the turkey.

We sat around a ping pong table covered with a sheet. There weren't enough chairs so I sat on a stereo speaker. The speaker was softly playing during dinner so it kind of felt like Sufjan Stevens and Seu Jorge were singing up my asshole.

But the food was amazing and the company even better. As dinner began, everyone took turns saying what they were thankful for. Between the jokes and the long lists of genuine thankfulness, by the time we'd gone all the way around the table, everyone was done eating.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Today is my Dad's 57th birthday. Mom e-mailed me pictures. She sends pictures with captions attached, sort of like her own photoblog, but her captions are usually written from the point of view of my nephews, Ty and Will.

I called Dad to wish him a happy birthday.

Me: Did you do anything exciting?
Dad: No. Not really. Went to work. Had practice. That's pretty much it. A big fan of the team invited me to a birthday party. I went to that for a little bit. We have the same birthday.
Me: So you went to someone else's birthday party?
Dad: Yeah. He has one of those million dollar houses.
Me: Were there a lot of people there?
Dad: Oh yeah.

Christmas is coming up, so I asked him if he had any ideas for presents.

Dad: Well, I got two Bob Evans gift cards for my birthday. Those should last me a while. I usually get the same stuff. Bob Evans gift cards, shoes, and golf balls. [laughs] It's a small world I move around in.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sarah and I met while working (Job #15: Promotional Work). The job involved having our faces painted blue and walking around in crowds pretending to talk on cell phones. We were supposed to come up with random funny things to say ("He was obviously lying to you. Unicorns aren't real."). This is hard to do for hours at a time, so we eventually just started calling each other on the work-provided cell phones. We would wander around public places, talking on the phone, often walking side by side. That's how we got to know each other.

Now that Sarah has moved to Boston, our relationship is 90% cell phone.

Sarah also has a photoblog similar to mine. It's nice to have another way to feel connected to her. After a flag football game this weekend, she reached into her bag to get her camera (the one she'd bought for herself just before moving, as a way of easing the anxiety of leaving Chicago) and when she pulled it out, the screen was shattered. There was a footprint on her bag. Someone had stepped on her bag and destroyed her camera.

When she told me this story, over the phone, I felt sad and very far away. I know she can't afford another camera.

Cell phones. Digital Cameras. iPods. I remember a time when they seemed ridiculous to me. Then, slowly, they start to seem less ridiculous. You save up, and when you finally let yourself buy one you're both excited and horrified by how much money you spent on something so small and fragile. Money you worked hard to earn, grinding out the hours at strange jobs.

Yesterday was our one year anniversary. I offered to buy her a new camera as a combined anniversary/Christmas/birthday present. She said no, it would be too much.

Me: What if I throw Valentines Day in there too?
Sarah: No. Don't make me cry.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Whirled News cast shot our video this weekend (hopefully the first of many, but who knows). I wanted to seem somewhat professional, but seeing the cameras and the lights and the set, it was hard not to have a dumbstruck grin on my face. Especially the set. Our set.

Glynn: It's crazy that this little sketch I doodled a couple days ago is a set now.

This was the moment when it hit me...

I was on the set, getting ready to shoot the first scene, an easy scene, short, uncomplicated. I didn't have any lines to worry about yet. I knew my character, I'd written it myself and knew it fit snuggly within the limited range of my acting ability. We'd rehearsed. We'd set up shots. Everyone was laughing and making jokes. It was just like hanging out with friends.

Then someone yelled, "Quiet on the set," and everything went immediately quiet. Every last noise disappeared, as if sucked out of an airlock, leaving behind a deep empty silence.

And I thought, "Holy shit."

And someone yelled, "Action!"

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Carrie (Executive Assistant) and Lee's (Business Operations Assistant) wedding. Carrie was in my first improv group in Chicago, James Jackson.

The wedding was elegant and fun. Bag pipes. Carrie's flapper dress. A sixties cover band.

During the toasts, one of Lee's relatives said, "I'm sure everyone knows Lee and Carrie are talented performers. And they have lots of improv friends. If you look around the room and see a face that doesn't bare a familial resemble to either of them, you're probably looking at an improviser."

It was true. The place was packed with improvisers. Repeatedly I heard the comment, "Are Chicago's improv stages empty tonight? Everyone's here!"

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Jellyvision Wrap Party brought back together the team of people who worked on the last project, the educational project we were working on when this blog began. We started out the evening at North Beach. Ping pong. Darts. Basketball. It's sort of like the YMCA if it served beer.

Harry stood up on a folding chair and gave a speech, thanking everyone for their hard work. "These things stay around a long time. Years and years to come. A whole generation will be learning from your work."

The speech was only slightly undercut by the jukebox, which was blaring Paula Abdul's "Straight Up."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Went out to lunch with my friend, Jeanine (Music Venue Promotions Manager). We talked about her band, the 1900s, who are currently working on their second album.

Their first album got a lot of great press. Around the same time, Jeanine decided to leave her office job to try working in promotions. Everyone at work thought she was leaving to be a rock star.

Jeanine: Everyone was like, "You did it!" But really I was just going to be working part time at a bar and being very poor. Poorer than I've ever been. It's funny... if you're in a band and your face is in a couple magazines, people think you're famous.

I paid for lunch.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

There's a poster of me (and the rest of the Whirled News Tonight cast) in front of the iO theater. I rarely use that entrance, so I forget it's there. It's not as big as the one of Sarah in Boston, and it's not surrounded by lights. Frankly, I'd be surprised if a stranger ever recognized me from it.

There are smaller versions of the poster up in the Student Annex (the part of iO where many of the classes are taught). I took this picture of one that someone marked up with a pen. They gave me sunglasses and a handlebar mustache. Just me. No one else was doodled on. It's a good look for me.

WNT's big fancy video project goes in front of cameras this weekend. Supposedly there's a press release out there somewhere. Cautious optimism.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Drinks after my weekly Otis rehearsal. Lauren (Early Childhood Teacher) and Shotts (Marketing Coordinator) talked about wanting to travel across the country as grifters.

Lauren: We'll use our "charm."
Shotts: I'll be in charge of the old ladies.
Lauren: And I'll be in charge of the mens. [beat] And some ladies.
Shotts: We'll get old timey suitcases and I'll wear a hat.
Me: And one of you will accidentally kill the other one.
Shotts: Exactly.

We left early because everyone had to work in the morning.

Monday, November 06, 2006

This is what I see at work, when I sit at my desk and lean my head back as far as it will go.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Because we thought it would be a weird fun thing to do, I went to Red Lobster with Hansen, Meador (High School Science Teacher), Martin and Trupe to have All You Can Eat shrimp and watch the Bears game.

Driving out to the suburbs, Trupe and I talked about the recent report that by 2048 the world's seafood supply may be exhausted.

Trupe: That's scary and crazy.
Me: Hopefully it's something that can be fixed. Maybe cut back on certain areas and let them repopulate.
Trupe: He says on his way to having All You Can Eat shrimp at Red Lobster.

The Bears lost to the Dolphins, 13 to 31.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Job #13: Charter School Teacher

I spent a year teaching creative writing and improv at a Charter High School in Arizona. The couple who ran the school had no education experience, but they'd started five other business ventures that went under, so I guess they decided to try to make some money off of the growing privatization of public education.

The school itself was in a rundown strip-mall, credit card stickers still up on the windows from when the school had previously been a series of restaurants and boutique stores. Some of the teachers suspected that the owners of the school were misusing the government money charter schools receive. I don't know if that was true or not, but they did drive around very nice "school vehicles" and they did buy a "school boat."

Coming in, I was warned that most of the students at the school had flunked out or been kicked out of nearly every other school in town. I also learned that there were only three teachers returning from the year before. The majority of the old teaching staff had either quit or been fired. One of the returning teachers said, "It's not because of the students. A teacher has never left here because of the students. It's because of the administration."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Chris: I'd kill to look like Ryan Phillipe.
Me: Really?
Chris: Oh yeah. He's the celebrity I'd most want to look like.
Nate: No joke, several people have told me I look like Ryan Phillipe.
Woman Across the Table: I think you look like Kieran Culkin.
Nate: Go on.

Nate had tacos for the second time today. So far I've documented every time he's eaten tacos in his entire life.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I got comps to the opening night of the new Second City ETC show, Disposable Nation, from my friends in the cast, Niki and Nicky. Free drinks. Free food. A chocolate fondue waterfall.

Mostly, though, it was just exciting to see the show. This is the second run of shows on the ETC stage for both of them. Sadly, I missed the first (I'm a bad friend), but I loved this one.

Backstage, after the show, Niki and Nicky would only let me take their picture if I was in it with them. I miss performing with both of them.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Marc: [greedily drinking a beer] This tastes awesome!

I took this picture on October 27.

Me: So... is it November now, then?
Marc: No. It's Not-tober. "Not October." [takes a swig of beer] This whole weekend it'll be Not-tober.

And another Sober October comes successfully to a close.

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