Head Over Feet

My wife would probably kill me if she knew I was doing this instead of…I dunno, sleeping.  Let’s not tell, her, shall we?

I’m currently working on a show that I know a bunch of you probably enjoy; it more than likely makes you giggle, if you’ve caught it on cable.  But I shan’t say more here, lest I violate that NDA I signed.

Anyrate, my days start really early, as my call time is ass early, and my drive ass long.  The Days are ass long, too, busy, and rough, and then I get home late, sleep little, get up early, do it again.

But then my wife’s days are like that too.  Every day.  All the time.

She’s up ass early to first work from home, and then, deal with the kids.  She’s on the road early, and her commute’s long to get to a job that, while she loves, can be tiring and taxing, full and busy–sometimes more so because she’s an introvert with little reset time in an office full of extroverts who really really really REALLY like meetings.

Her commute home is long, and then she’s working late with the kids; up for a while after working on whatever she has left, with whatever she has left before going to sleep and doing it all again.

Every day. Rain or shine.

She does more of this, longer, and rougher when I’m working on shows like this, these shows that some of you have heard of, watched, or be completely unaware of.

My wife is a superstar.  A powerhouse.  A giant.  And I love her.

I just had to say that before I go collapse, lay down my tired head and rest my weary feet. Maybe, in there somewhere, I’ll dream of the lady sleeping in the other room.

Of a smile, a giggle, and soft touches exchanged in the light.

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Musicology

Michael Jackson died on my 35th birthday.

I had just become a father, and was sloughing through it with my then partner and ‘baby mamma,’ and was all set to celebrate the milestone of becoming a true grown ass man, and then the news broke.

I was…horribly hurt by it.  Not just that “Happy Birthday!  The King of Pop is dead!” but that we had lost a true artist of song, dance and general entertainment.  But because it was as if I’d lost a friend.

I spent a week playing Off the Wall over and over…


I had been dancing my ass off for 4 hours and was taking a break by watching a bunch of drag queens perform “Dragspell” on the makeshift stage in a club up behind Dodger Stadium.  The clock had just spun past 1 am or so:  Easter Sunday, 2001.

The Matron of Ceremonies stopped the party, grabbed the mike and announced that she had just gotten a call from a close friend that Joey Ramone had died in New York.  We wouldn’t find out for hours that this was pre-mature by about twelve hours, but the crowd, drunk sweaty, and way too worked up, kind of lost it for a moment.

The DJ played I Wanna Be Sedated, and it was the happiest, friendliest mosh pit I’d ever been in.


I honestly don’t recall where I was when Kurt Cobain was found…I think someone came into the college dining hall, dropped the news flatly, and then a bunch of us kinda wandered around humming All Apologies.


I was sitting in front of the computer checking my twitter feed when I saw that David Bowie had left us–almost on cue–after celebrating his birthday and leaving a song and an album to say goodbye with.


Sometime, for no really good reason, I purchased a biography/career examination about Prince titled I Would Die 4 U:  Why Prince Became An Icon.  It was a solid piece by a journalist who’d been invited into Prince’s world on several occasions.  It talked about his love of music, his childhood, his life, his faith and how that all plays into his music.

It was a fascinating read, full of insight and hypothesis that make listening to Prince even more powerful.

One of the more interesting things posits that because of how his childhood was, how his relationships were, Prince came to never say goodbye.

The author, MSNBC commentator and pop culture critic, Touré tells a story of a time he visited Prince at Paisley Park.

After spending a couple of hours chatting and getting owned at basket ball by Prince, the Purple one excused himself to leave the room. Touré waited patiently, albeit uncomfortably; after almost an hour, one of Prince’s people came out and spoke to him–In my words:

“Hi, that’s it.  It’s time to go.”
“Wait, what?”
“Prince is done with the visit; he’s not coming back.”
“He just got up! Why didn’t he say goodbye?”
“Yeah, he doesn’t do that…”

Prince’s death today caught me off guard–caught a lot of people off guard, and for a bit there today, I think I felt like Touré probably did, waiting for the joke to finish, or The Artist to come back out.

Yeah, he doesn’t do that…

Prince left us the way that any good musician and entertainer should:  He left us with enough powerful memories to stick with us, enough songs to keep us entertained for years to come, and he left the stage with us wanting more.

When you do that, do you really need to say goodbye?

Proudest Monkey

Sometimes, it’s okay to pull off the masks and just be, right?  It’s perfectly OK to just live in the moment and be who you are, right then and there–in the seat that you’re sitting in, in the line in which you’re standing; with the potato chip in your hand, the bar you’re leaning against, the toilet you’re sitting on, the towel that you’re folding or the gum stuck to your shoe.

It’s OK to be mad, sad, frustrated, scared, happy, orgasmic, stupid, senile, distracted, confused, tired, driven, withdrawn, outgoing, closeted, loose, enraptured, self-deluding, smug, or damned.

Masks off and removed; unguarded, shields down.  Pretense discarded.

The hardest pretense is letting go of expectations–not of what we expect from others, but what we expect of ourselves–what my mom used to call the “Iffa Coulda Woulda Shouldas.”  We try so hard to steer our ship to what we want to happen in our life, what we planned to happen in our life; we match our course to where we thought we wanted to go, and not to where we’re going.

I’m guilty of it.  And you probably are too, to some extent.

I had been planning to write something well put together about my personal history being a dog owner (and I still might) (Yes, I sometimes plan what I’m writing.  It’s not all from the hip… I do in fact have some that brew for a couple of days…sometimes), but I ended up distracted with chores, life and then (of course) the internet.

I ended up discovering an amazing youtube channel about character actors and bit parts called No Small Parts.  It’s created by an actor who has taken many small parts, and has managed to steadily work.  It’s a passion project, to say the least, but if you have any love of film of TV (like me), then it’s worth a look.  You’ll grok it, I’m sure.

So, rather than visiting the dryer in the washroom (sorry, wife), I’m devouring the videos there–20 minute documentaries on faces that you probably know, but–with a couple of exceptions–probably don’t know or remember their names.  It’s compelling, and to be honest, in one case at least, beautiful.

Mask off, being in the moment.

I sifted through videos and came across a short “mini-sode” from the spring last year about the late character actor Taylor Negron.  Taylor was the epitome of “That Guy.”  You know:

“Don’t I know you?”

“Maybe, did you ever watch those Savage Steve Holland movies during the 80s?”

“HOLY CRAP!  You’re THAT GUY!  In that movie with…YEAH!  Hey, Beverly!  Tom!  It’s THAT GUY! from that movie we saw over at your mom’s house!”

I sat watching the video trying to figure out where exactly I remembered him from, and I *did* remember him–and then it hit me as they flashed a clip–“YEAH!  He was the Mailman from Better Off Dead!”  (Yes, “That Guy.”)  With each clip from the video, I recalled him again and again and again, and I thought “Man, this guy was everywhere.”

But, in his own words, from the article in which the video takes its voice, he was never famous.  Never really sought fame.  He had changed his expectations early on, to just ride where he was, what he was, and enjoy that ride.

The end of the video and article forced me to share this; brought tears to my big stupid mug, like a waitress bringing coffee to that guy who’s obviously been up all night.  For some reason (many storied reasons that I’m just going to keep to myself, OK?), it touched home, resonated and invited me to remove my own mask for a moment.  To just be in this moment, of a guy sitting, procrastinating and watching YouTube like a procrastinating jerk.

He wrote:

“By letting go of what you thought was going to happen in your life, you can enjoy what is actually happening.”

We’ve heard it before.  It’s not new, or original; you probably know the quote from Yoda or the other one from Doc Holiday, that one Jesus Jones song; but it is insightful.  It’s insight from a man who lived (at least his career) in such a way.

It’s food for thought.  It’s food for thought that hit me, sitting here, now.  And I wanted to share it with you.

We have to evolve to this–at least I need to.  It’s easy to forget that we are here, on a big planet spinning ’round, and orbiting Sol.  We are infinite monkeys, typing on infinite typewriters attempting to write the story of us; but instead of evolving to just write what comes, we’re trying to write our histories as we would design them.

Sometimes history happens.  Sometimes it’s better to stop, watch and be in the moment.  Take the picture and post it to instagram without a filter; tweet raw without editing, or counting characters; typing up a blog without thinking about it at all; writing the directions down and following a sheet of paper without google maps telling us which way to go.

Listening to the wind without documenting it.  Looking at your child without a camera in your hand.  Spending an afternoon with your family without a phone in your pocket.

Sharing your thoughts without pretense, or design, as it comes, stream of conscious, here and now.

Evolving to be proud, here in what we are, where we are; not denying ourselves the desire to be greater, or more, but to sometimes–from time to time–to look around and appreciate what we are and what we have.

Trying to be That Guy.