My Week in Review

This week is a premiere example of the sort of life I live. I didn’t exactly spend any time at home in the first week in our new house. Let me run you through the week. Strap in, because by the time I finish telling you, you may be as exhausted as I was last night. But exhaustion is not a reason for me to go home and sleep.

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Making Apologies

One part of keeping lots of balls in the air is that sometimes you drop one, and at times the dropped ball doesn’t just affect you but it affects someone else personally or professionally. And when you screw up, you need to apologize and try to make amends. Best is face to face so they can see you’re sincere and willing to make this contact and try to mend any damage done when you screwed up. If you can’t meet face to face, then do it over the phone. And if you can’t do it over the phone, do it by way of a well thought out and expressive email. Continue reading “Making Apologies”

A Few Things I’ve Learned

Losing your job affects you. It makes you question your comfort, your skills, it makes you ask is this type of job right for you, whose fault was it, what can you do better next time?

I’m a confident guy, I’m not perfect but I am the perfect example of someone who believes they’re Superman and cannot be harmed.

But when Databanq let me go, I was rocked and it took me several weeks to figure it all out and then soon after starting the job hunt again MindComet found me and it’s now been over three months. Here are a few things I’ve learned from MindComet and about myself.

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Pursuing Elegance

Programming is getting paid to do puzzles. Some are harder than others, some are put the cylinder in the round hole level of difficulty, others near MENSA level challenges. Over the past few days I’ve been trying to fix an issue which amounted to numerous hours trying to bang out a solid solution, in the end I went with the less elegant solution.

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Fairly Productive

The problem with having a week long of rain for a hurricane/tropical storm is that it makes it very hard to be productive. I mean, the flooding, property damage and deaths are serious too, but the loss of productivity is hard to overcome. So as a weekend goes this one was quite productive to help overcome the week of slacking. Continue reading “Fairly Productive”

Of Cars, Friends, Email and Twitter

My car died on Monday. The timing chain broke and caused the piston heads to hit the top of their cylinders, in turn causing major damage which would have cost more than the car was worth to repair. So yesterday afternoon I met the tow trunk and got paid for it. K and I had grabbed almost everything out of it the day before, so all that were left in it were memories. Continue reading “Of Cars, Friends, Email and Twitter”

The Magic Castle

I was eight years old, and I was standing right up next to the TV. Normally the parents would have scolded me and told me to sit back down on the couch, but not this time. I had my finger pressed to the screen and listened as David Copperfield was going to let us pick which train car he made disappear. I moved my finger up, then left and left again, down and right, up and back down. By the end of it, my finger was on the caboose, as was everyone else’s in the world (assuming they followed directions.) I was enraptured. He had read my mind from across the television. And now, I watched as he made the train car disappear.

I knew it wasn’t Magic, but it was something that wowed me and something I couldn’t figure out.

Magic was one of those hobbies which came and went, I never had the focus to really devote myself to it beyond a few simplistic card tricks. But I would dutifully come back to it every few months and I always enjoyed a good Magician special on TV.

I’ve reached an amateur level where I understand most of the mechanics and tricks without being able to recreate them on my own.

So when the trip to LA was lining up I discovered the Magic Castle, an entity and organization which had escaped my view throughout my life.

I was excited about this from the start and I knew it would be a highlight of the trip. Brian and I both packed our suits, ties and shoes and when it was time to get ready to go, we looked good. We made Penn and Teller jokes all night as I’m about a foot taller than Brian.

As we’re taking the elevator down, we’re in it with three people in t-shirts and shorts obviously curious why we were dressed to the nines. My cell phone tweets as I get a text message, and as the door opens to the elevator I pull it out, frown and look at Brian straight-faced as I say “My stocks are down.” It was completely spontaneous, but it just was how I felt. Dressed in a well fitting suit, staying at a four star hotel, and about to go out on the town. In truth it was a text from K telling us to have fun at the Magic Castle.

We get the guy in the top hat and red tailed jacket to hail a taxi for us, and we head off to the Magic castle. We had dinner reservations at 9:30 but we had both eaten around 4 so we weren’t too hungry.

When you arrive at the Magic castle, you enter the ante room where you check-in. Then after checking in you have to speak the magic words to an owl on the book shelf for it to reveal the bar area. It’s silly and absurd but an amazing piece for the feel and aura of the place. I won’t tell you all what the magic phrase is, but it was cute.

So we end up chilling in the bar and discover that the close-up magician’s last show has only 1 seat open. Now the  There were two Asian guys in line in front of us who decided not to split up so it came to Brian and I, we sort of looked at each other and he was the first to say “You go.” I tried to, but honestly, I wanted to see Eugene Burger very badly. Thanks Brian!

The show was fun, short and entertaining. He did some awesome tricks which boggle the mind.

They work very hard to make the Magic Castle feel right. It’s a Victorian home, lots of wood, carvings, paintings etc. They also disallow any photography inside the place etc. I wanted to get a photo with Eugene but I followed the rules, settling for a handshake after the show.

I reconvened with Brian who was chatting with a girl at the bar, it ended up that she was the daughter of one of the head honchos at the Magic castle. It was a fun conversation, discussing various things before it was time for our dinner reservation. We got seated and relaxed, ordering just appetizers each. We tipped well since the waiters obviously didn’t want us to order so little. The food was great. From there we got our tickets to the 11 o’clock show with Jeff McBride.

JEFF McBRIDE. Do you know who he is? He’s awesome! Watch this Youtube video. He’s another Magician I had seen numerous times on TV and actually watched one of his teaching DVDs. He’s a judge on CelebraCadabra, a reality show on VH1 that makes C-list celebs into magicians. In short, he’s amazing. And his show did not disappoint. Brian and I discussed his show for the next few days trying to figure out his tricks but a number of them completely escape us.

In short, it was mesmerizing and fascinating to watch a master work. We were in the second row and it was an experience of a lifetime. I can’t wait to go back.

When we left we asked the front desk to call a cab for us and we stepped outside to wait. As we’re waiting we strike up a conversation with this other couple who had called a cab but had someone jump in before them. So when our taxi pulls up we go to get in and they pick that moment to ask to split the ride with us. I should have said no, but I’m too damn nice.

Their hotel is on Sunset, the girl says the name and when the driver doesn’t immediately confirm that he knows where it is she begins reeling off the address. It’s moment’s later I realize that both of them are drunk. Now, I don’t have great drunkdar, I really can’t tell unless they’re slobberingly drunk. We’re chit-chatting and we get to the address the girl had named off and it obviously wasn’t her hotel. So this sets the driver off (who had previously cursed at a guy in another car) and the woman begins trying to quash the fire while the drunk guy in the back begins muttering that he’s going to get out as soon as we stop, wherever it is.

We end up making it to the hotel, the driver had known the address. They get out and the guy has to go get change. He flashed the driver a Franklin before half stumbling inside to get change. Brian had tried to stop him as he could make change but we end up waiting a few minutes for the guy to come back out. The fare had been $17 and they gave the driver a twenty.

Brian and I are apologizing the entire way to our hotel, we didn’t know how drunk they were. He’s a nice enough guy, just tired and since he’s a foreigner he has to deal with people not understanding his accent and such. We tip him well and call it a night.

Man, that night was awesome.

Returning to Improv

After I left SAK as the house manager I stepped away from improv really. I was burned out and I just didn’t know it. Over the past few weeks K and I have gone to a few shows and then last Saturday I had an audition to join the Tuesday night cast.

The audition, I felt, went fairly well. Even the part where I stepped off the stage and took a fall. Thankfully I’ve been a clutz for over two decades and I was able to catch myself and bounce right back up, however the fall was rather surprising and guaranteed my adrenaline was flowing.

The procedure after the audition was that I would either get a phone call if I was accepted or an email if I wasn’t ready. I’ll admit, I was fairly confident I would get in, but I had the little voice in the back of my mind nagging at me saying that I was rusty, that I wasn’t good enough, etc.

Thankfully I was wrong and the call came not more than 30 minutes ago. And so it is with great joy I proclaim my full return to Improv.