Wednesday, August 31, 2005

hamhock watch, 2005

i mentioned the buffet in a few earlier posts.
i am over it, y'all. way.

i've learned that in general, i eat good-for-me things. here in louisiana, at least where i am, that doesn't exist that much. to clarify: people here have been ridiculously generous and let us eat for free on the trip in addition to our pay. that means it's buffet or bust (and sometimes both, if you like it). rance and i are grossed out. we've been eating salads like rabb-os.

the buffet is not unsimilar to old country buffet or bonanza/ponderosa - with tons more choices that are all preservative-based; buttered everything, gravied whatnot, mystery desserts.

what i've learned for sure is that i don't like hamhock.
hamhock is a word i have thrown around in improv scenes for years. years. if i'm cooking something, and i stagger for what it is, it's hamhock or possibly "hamshank", something i don't even know exists or not.

never had it before.
now i have.
hamhock here apprears in the following on the buffet:
*baked beans
*anything au-gratin
*macaroni and cheese
*black-eyed peas
*collard greens
*some cold salad with cukes
*the hearts of the workers


12:12, make a wish

the last item was posted at 12:12, i just noticed.

ever make wishes on clocks with double time? double time = 10:10, 3:33, etc. i think this stems from grade school - everyone did it. you would casually notice time on a clock, and if applicable, we would say "11:11, make a wish!", and you had to lift your feet for the whole time remaining. you had to focus on your wish - hard, for that whole time, the seconds still left in the minute.

i still do this. religiously.

i also:
catch loose eyelashes and blow them away for wish (stems from folklore)
kiss my fingertips and slap the roof when going under a train for wish (stems from ital grandma, most fun person ever)

i like wishes.
i can honestly say i have no idea if any of those made while watching a clock have come true... but, it sure is worth it to let go and believe they positively will, for that time remaining.

tannins + me = beautiful unprofessionalism


tonight, we went to dinner late with a member of the casino staff, nicky. nicky is a lovely man who has been nothing but sweet, supportive, and uber-profesh with us the whole time, in the rallies and workshops. two of the ladies in charge had to bow out of last-evening-here dinner because there was additional work to be done at the evacuation center, so it was just nicky and the four of us. we got to eat at a steakhouse on-site, which ruled, because a. the junk was good, b. it wasn't a buffet (info coming soon), and c. we ordered like 83 bottles of wine, gratis.

beginning of meal, we're all playful - silly, lighthearted bits are circling, appropriate ones. cut to us about 1 bottle in: suddenly, i called alida frigid and accused her of a coke problem. the world is blurry and bits are flying! uncensor me, restraints of corporatehood!


i playfully told the lovely rance that he "hated life" (i.e., he doesn't drink, something that is of course completely legitimate) and told elwell at one point to suck a dong, something like that. later, i laughed out loud for about a minute and had to take a time-out, because some reference to bush (the president, not other) was made and alida pointed down.

you guyyyyyys, i don't care what they say!
7th grade is fun!

hey, this stuff - that's businesslike, right?
it was all charmingly done.
at least, i remember it that way.
i'm very charming.
i'm a total charmbot.

it's been a long week.
well, at least my behavior is as appropriate as seeing strippers after a gig... right guys?

prince albert in a can

m cell service is better, and my text works now.
i'm hoping for a lot of hot pranks.

patch adams

i know this is a rough bunch of posts - after this, i'll probably eagerly go back to posting about things that don't matter as much, but know that this stuff is permeating the lives of those down here; it's near all we can think of.

here is friend of a friend's blog, a man who decided to "stick it out" during the hurricane. he's running everything off a generator, and posting by text message. there seems to be a lot of info here that isn't on the news re: looting, prisoner escape, and death tolls. i don't have a good world-view being here; are people as concerned up north as they are down here in LA?

today we're going to town - the casino people we're all working for have let us reshuffle our workshops, allowing us to get into the evac center and lend a hand instead of waste time. one of the people i'm with, alida, is also fascinated by everything going on and is eager to help - she's very kind. the united way may want us to do a show. there are 1800 people at the center with little to do (800 of which are children), and pressure to find things to do is high. the people here are urging us to act by sweetly telling us that we "have a gift", which i'm assuming is the gift of ye comedia. everyone believes in the power of laughter in healing (and distraction, moreover), but let's be frank - if some jagoff told me to watch a bunch of goofy bits while my house was underwater... maybe i'd feel differently about forward-reverse. we'll probably only do a show if people can choose to watch us in a quarantined space within the building, an optional thing maybe even for just the kids, rather than forcing it on people who aren't ready. that'd be gross. in any case, we hope to help out somehow tonight - even if it doesn't include jock jams and a whistle; or, i should say (let's be honest) - hopefully, it doesn't include jock jams and a whistle. we're prepared to do what they think is best.

Monday, August 29, 2005

the new windy city

things here are super interesting.
tons of people have called and texted to make sure we're okay. we are. thank you - you're great.
alida, matt, rance and i keep running outside every chance we get to look at the sky. it's not too much more windy than chicago might be on a super windy day, but the wind is hot and heavy. right now, clouds are flying by like one of those fast-motion time sequences. everything appears trippy, like a strange film interstitial around us - kinda like something in requiem for a dream (but not herion-y), or the video for madonna's ray of light. remember that?

speaking of music videos, in lighthearted news- i hear the mtv music awards were last night. i don't know what happened, but i'd assume some people got some moonmen. i'd also put money on kanye west singing my new favorite jam, golddigger. am i right? i hope i'm right, because that song rules.

one rally down, two to go today. the first was very early, 7am. who doesn't want pep then?

people are lined up in the lobby to check into our hotel. we are obviously amazed by everything going on, but have to remember to be cautious - talking about everything with nervous excitement is pretty thoughtless, considering these may be people who evacuated. boyd owns three properties in louisiana - this place (delta downs), a place called samstown, and another called treasure island. they aren't sure if treasure island is going to fare very well. scary.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

katrina and the waves

long day.
it's sunday night.
took several breaks to run outside.
the hurricane is now upped to highest, category 5.
high school friend nicole in new orleans evacuated - all the way home to columbus.

weird to think about doing arms expert the same morning people leave their homes behind.

man, we're a lot closer than we thought.
if you believe in such things, send these peops some good vibes down here.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

send me your tired

i leave for Vinton, Louisiana at 7am tomorrow. this has been a stressful week of writing, so i'm ready to get the ball rolling and tech tomorrow, to move forward. i'm sick of not being home - i never realized how taxing it is to be away all the time. i've been home for the past two weeks and it's seemed like forever.

right now, hurricane katrina is at category 3. did you know this? yikes! there's a serious threat to LA, MS, and AL.

my friend, nicole, from high school, lives in New Orleans. the town she and her fiancee are evacuating to is right next to Vinton. that means that i'll get to see her - or maybe, they'll even stay with me. if you have friends there that need help, please don't hesitate to send them my way - i'm on the texas side, inland. we're staying at the racetrack and casino! i'll be real sweet, try to score all free buffets, and teach them lovably dumb improv games...

every hurricane has a silver lining.

people rule so much.

i think it'd be neat to write a blurb about a random, awesome friend - like, once a week on this thing.

i am blessed with some of the finest friends in the world... so maybe, like a high school newspaper spotlight, i'll feature one random friend for kicks and give you all the background i know about 'em. a friend featurette...?

it's deserved.

happy anniversary, io!

today is io's (formerly improvolympic) 25th (really 24th) anniversary!

tonight is celebrated in a huge way that is more public than for improvisers - there's a big show going on downtown at the chicago theatre tonight with loved alums (rachel dratch, andy dick, david koechner, neil flynn, amy poehler, mike myers, horatio sanz, etc.). this is probably something that might be more exciting or a bigger spectacle for a non-improviser, but it's pretty fun nonetheless.

congrats, home of the harold.

Friday, August 26, 2005

she's a [LADY]

pre- my drive tonight, i went to walgreens for back to school tolietries (i like to make believe). be warned: you think a product like adidas deodorant would work like a charm - NO! it smells like mop fluid and gives people headaches (i've talked to several girls about this). i wanted to like it very much, but i cannot. i was driven to then buy a product of the "lady" variety. you know, lady speed stick, lady mennen, lady wheni'mwithyouiamsmilin', lady whatthefuck.

if you wanted to see my dander up, you should've talked to me about "lady" things in '92-98. i think it all started way back when, when all our sports teams in high school deferred to the men's teams, calling us the "Lady Eagles". i hated it. hated.

i don't know why exactly, and sure, i could go on a women's studies diatribe, one which is fair: products mandate male things as standard, and categorize female things as "female", thus leading products/sports teams/unisexing to brandize a counterpoint, instead of making it the standard as well. simply said - it's stupes and outdated just to mark things for girls. can you imagine if the girls had been "the eagles", and the men were "gentlemen eagles"? that sounds better anyway. at the very least, it's funnier. pip pip, good gent!

but, when it comes down to it: i think i hate it, really, because lady is just a dumb word. i mean, it's fine and doesn't bother me day to day, but i am not a lady! i mean, i'm not some crass a-hole (just proved wrong, possibly), but i'm not a "lady". it signifies age, it signifies class. doesn't it?

then, when i'm fake school-shopping, i'm left with little choice. it's either a., adidas or sport-town; b., what i imagine to be hooker spray; or c., lady whatnot. so, next time, when you see a bunch of girls slapping "lady" products of various kinds on - think of the consequences, america.

think about it.


they're in towels in a locker room...
all wet from showering...


maybe this lady thing isn't so bad.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

nightdriving, deserves a quiet night

tonight, i realized i had been out of the house less times than i could count on one hand in the past two days - once to do a show, to workout, to get cash out, etc. that pissed me off. i was mad that my summer nights were being stolen, so i went and grabbed coffee with a pal. normal!

then, since i was driving around and usually don't now, it seemed like a perfect night for a drive. as long as i've had a car, going on drives and listening to music has consistently been one of my favorite evening activities in the world. so, even though gas prices are now 3.15 in chicago (mark it; this is one of those points that will be on someone's you-were-born-in-76, and-milk-was-93-cents! birthday card), i went. i think the car drive is the equivalent to strolling when it's too late to stroll.

it's a nice night here - not perfect, but pretty enough; the air is heavy. this week has been unusually cool outside, and it's made me start to have seasonal regret... you know, where you feel like you didn't do enough that you wanted to do, in the summer days of long sunshine and late nights. there's got to be more to do.

what's left to be done?

would you rather / i never

i am eager for the weekend...
feel like playing a pseudo-drinking game with me?
i'm an adorable drunk.

in order to save the earth and get a free credenza, you have to bang a smithe brother.
which one, and why?

for those afar:
*these gents make fine furniture in the chicagoland area, and are famous for their jagbag commercials.
*bonus points if you bone the dad.


i had an urge to look up the word debated term chickenhead after the last post.

i did, here.

it's worth it.

can i get some fries with that questionable racism?

finishing up another creative, and i'm watching the local news for a break.

my people did it again: some douchebag made a dish at an itals beef shop called "ghetto fries". uh-oh. yep, ghetto is a neutral word racially, technically speaking, but is it anymore? interesting.

is it offensive?, nbc 5 asks us - it's your call! either way you think, there's certainly arguments to both. obvs, i'm liberal johnny, and offstage my personal level of screening my own semantics is pretty high. either way, i bet all can agree that there was probably a better name out there.

like, hoodrat fries.
something like that.
hoodrat? chickenhead? hoochie fries?
i love these chickenhead fries!
...neutral, y'all.
go rent do the right thing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

pity cab (for cutie)

had some shows tonight at IO, which were a little tainted for me by a horrible migraine headache. after the show, i stopped into salt and pepp diner to get a soda, thinking it was maybe a caffiene-or-hadn't-eaten-problem. the diner that usually closes around 10pm was open later than usual for a cubs game. a guy came in and slapped down a dollar.

"hey darlin'," he said, "can i get a glass-a water in one of them things for the guy in the pity cab?" the server, a kind girl who i've chatted with a bunch, didn't bat an eye and ran off to get a plastic to go cup with ice water and a straw. "this guy's in bad shape," the cab driver smirked.

apparently, a pity cab is when a driver knocks off the fare-keeper, and drives someone home out of pure good-samaritanship. pretty cool. i'd never heard of it, even after almost 6 years of living here.

rewarded!: the drunk of wrigleyville.
god bless.

let's get some runs.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

new distractions: hbo on demand

last night, i watched 4 episodes of something titillating called Cathouse.
then, today, i wrote for several hours while eying you got served.

h e l p m e.



this project has brought out the worst (best).

take that, ivy league!

hey, here we go, bobcats! OU's voted one of the best midwestern colleges, and top 50 public universities in the nation. my big broth Vince is beaming - because, now more importantly, this:

i knew we could do it.

Monday, August 22, 2005


some might say blogging is a way of stalling.

that is all.

laguna f*cking beach

tonight, i have to cloister myself away to write a corporate treatment for a casino rally in louisiana. it's weird work, generally not impossible, but kind of mind-frying. during the day, i've had the same feeling i've had when i used to cram for exams, or write thesis papers in half the time i should've used.

to revisit this college feeling is bizarre, and totally, totally great. pulling those all-nighters was always such a challenge, like cross-training for a marathon or something. when that run was over, and you handed your paper in the next morning, you got to wear your track pants, hoodie sweatshirt, and b-fri's ballcap around like trophies of your victorious wrestling match with the night. seeing those trophies on everyone else during an exam week was like a secret handshake to other members of the same fraternity; students fighting the night.

so, always, as i've learned more about being a comedy writer and complying with inordinate amounts of deadlines, i've also resorted to the same habits i had a few years back. this equals a considerable amount of stalling and distraction during the time that should be most fruitful.

biggest distraction to me - and apparently, america - is laguna beach. my stupid roommate megan stupid o'neill stupid turned me onto this show, and at first i thought it was pretty awful. it's the real OC, y'all! that's what they say! no one has any personality! the girls are whores and the boys are dumb as rocks (and whores)! graphic tees abound in this mtv classic.

tonight, i cracked under the pressure and actually waited for it to come on.
i have been turned.

for anyone who watches, my favorite is easily, easily kristen. she is super pretts, she is fun, and she tells it like it is. yeah, she cheats on her boyfriend! so? she talks about people behind their back - and then she tells them to their face! so? at least she has opinions and thinks something! she is a complete hooker. so? go get yours, girl! you are 12! i like her. eat it.

i hate myself.

Friday, August 19, 2005

into the wild blue yonder

air show's this weekend. it's on the lake, and it kind of rules.
i don't care what people say, i like it.

i lied in the post below, i won't be sleeping at all this weekend. i'm writing a gig, and inbetween - on sat, i'm playing kickball in the park, and on sunday, i'm checking out the blue angels and their finest with some friends. jjjealous?

man, their practice run is roarin' over my apt as we speak.
here we go, machismo!

Stone Cold Comedy

part of me hates that title, but thought i should note that csz did a thing called theatre thursdays last night. lots of restaurants, including sapori trattoria and coldstone creamery, donated treats and whatnot to patrons that came by yesterday evenin'. it was nice. plus, we had a heated debate over whether it was trat-or-REE-ah or trat-TOR-ree-uh. worth it!

fun cast, fun show, plus 'scream.

i have been reffing the shit out of shows. i am tired. i think i realized it last night. i sure do love it, but i can tell i'm losing it when i'm in the middle of explaining a game. i shift to autopilot. that's not fun. it works, but it's not funfun. i don't know that people can tell at all, but i can tell. i'm gonna try to get it back when i ref on sat again. to giving your all!

p.s., here's this weekend of shows, you loyal f*cks:
thurs - 8pm Theatre Thursdays at CSz, ref
fri - 8pm show at IO, with Merman closing
sat - 8pm show at CSz (ref) / 10:30pm show with CSz (red team)
tues - TAG at IO, 8pm / Merman closing 9pm harold shows.

also, you can see me in my b-room, sleeping it off, anytime between.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


paula abdul knew what she was talking about.

this past week, i got hit on three times directly associated to an improv show i'd just been in. one of these was by a cute guy (for anyone in improv, he was the Dreamer) who was shy and lovably sincere. the next asked me on a date from another show he'd seen at io, then came to csz. the last frat guy, my favorite in spirit, said easily the crassest thing to me ever uttered after a comedysportz show. for those not faint of heart, it heavily featured the word "cunnilingus".

something in the water?
am i that good?
i must have some hot object work.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Buy It Now!

ebay is an institution. it consistently amazes me. there's a lot of good stuff on there, of course, but it always amazes me what people will buy.

this week, i again joined the sleu of people who buy and list items on said service. i have so much stuff. i hate it. in the past year or so, though, i've done a good job (way to go, self-praise) of consistently narrowing down my stuff. a packrat isn't exactly what i am - but i save a lot. i think i've always like saving letters and sentimental things, and i certainly got way worse as important people in my life passed away through my young adulthood. everything suddenly seems super important, the most important - it could be something they just owned, something you never even saw them touch. what was an afterthought to them is something i now stare at everyday.

these things can't be touchstones forever - or, at the very least, i need to filter out whichever truly aren't touchstones. dear reader: the word "touchstones" is now pissing me off. anyway, so, getting rid of things - well, it's a big deal. for me, at least... and good first things to seperate with are clothes that have no memory attached or inherent value. i've given away countless bags to goodwill, but started noticing that people love sh*t with tags on it, so i gave it my all and sold some stuff. you bet they bought, too. never worn sweaters, bras, dresses - a virtual what's what of my closet that could've been (and shouldn't have). but, someone's always buyin'. this week alone, three items for 42 bucks.

i'll take it.

i wasn't kidding about people buying and selling anything - and everything. clothes? sure. purses? yeah. ipods? uh-huh. normal. not this stuff, though. as an honorarium, i did some searchin', and here's some of the weirdest stuff i could find, auctioned now.
p.s., these aren't bits:
* Pres. Bush on Bread
* Haunted Cinnamon Toast Crunch
* Adulterous Barney Doll
* a human soul
*and, only in America - a cheaper human soul

My favorite thing about the Bush toast?

Thank god; we couldn't take another one.

DeFran Surprise

here's something neat i forgot to mention - last week (8/6) i ran out as captain of the red team, high fived the first row, and went to my bench. we were playing 4 on 4, and someone on my bench noticed a little girl sitting out in the audience. it was 10:30, and it's pretty unusual to see many kids at that show - although the show is "family friendly", the later it gets, the more risque the audience gets. "must be tourists," i said, implying that they don't care about the time as much.

or, my family!

after about five minutes, i walked out to the audience for a bit in the show's format, and the lights finally didn't block my sight. it was a bunch of defrans! becky, melissa (becky's daughter), and melissa's three daughters were there. it was amazing. they had come into town to shop and have a lady-weekend, hitting the hard hittin' chicago classic, American Girl Place. they surprised me by popping into my show, and had a great time. so did i! thanks to them for catching a show - it was a really great one, too - and the more people in my family that know that i'm not a stand-up, the better. ;)

sidebar: during typing this whole thing, i realized that i had no idea what to call my relatives. truly, melissa is my (second?) cousin. wait. what does that make becky? when i was little, anyone who was older than me, even if they were a cousin, was called "aunt" or "uncle". is this an italian thing? it's caused a lot of trouble in my adult life, where i've actually considered what real relationships must be. if you're a family tree kinda guy, gimme a breakdown, won't ya?

Friday, August 12, 2005

mark it!

this has been a week of really great shows.

sometimes, it's really easy to get in ruts in our biz. if you have a show or two that is lackluster, you start beating yourself up. that reflection is sometimes useful, but more often than not, the stars just haven't aligned for you that week. like everything, it's much easier to notice your rut than when you're flying high. too often, my pals in the biz deserve to feel better, more.

so, i'm noting a "flying high" period - i love my friends and am so pleased with the projects i'm involved with. comedysportz was such a blast last week - everyone so into it, so committed, such fun. had a show last night with Merman at IO - a sold out house that loved it, loved improv, and paid us the highest of compliments after we were done. we've gotten better at playing goofily, but with patience and groundedness, it's neat to see. i like it.

in addition, TAG, the team i did SC Unhinged with and is now running at IO on Tuesdays, got a great review in Time Out Chicago Magazine, a respected tour-ish guide here in big cities:

"TAG: Members of TAG run circles around most other improv troupes. If it's just good old-fashioned laughs you're after, TAG is one of the sharpest, funniest teams performing anywhere in town. The cast of TAG is makde up of veteran improvisers who have earned their stripes at I.O., the Second City, and ComedySportz. In this fast-paced show, the actors focus on creating characters, then "move" them to different scenarios and change their voices to wring everything they can out of their conventions. The show is consistently funny and never drags. *DON'T MISS/HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PICK - M.S./ IO Cabaret, Tuesdays 8pm, $10. Open run."

pretty awesome.
thanks to anyone i share these experiences with!

Monday, August 08, 2005

playin' with the boyz

this saturday, i had the pleasure of playing beach volleyball with c-spo. every saturday, comedysportz-ers get together in the late morning with a bunch of gear and play for a few hours. i had always taught on saturdays in the former part of the summer, but now that i'm taking a small teaching break, i am able to go.

it was a perfect day on lake michigan. we played only feet away from the water, right on north avenue beach. if you'd like to join us sometime, please come by! friends are always welcome. a word of caution, though - the sand was so hot, we had to stop eventually. what to do there? for pics, check out my pal rance's site. these make me laugh.

top gun, y'all.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

tara d., improv nomad

my roommate and pally megan has taken a shine to calling me the "improv nomad", which makes me laugh a lot. who can blame her? in the past two and a half weeks, i've been to cleveland, columbus, back to cleveland, chicago, to appalachia, back to chicago, then this week back to michigan city, indiana again for one of the blue chip rallies. i also go to las vegas, louisiana, maine, and possibly canada within the next two months.

improv nomad!
it's funny to me, but man, she's right. me and several of my close pals are really lucky to travel a hell of a lot to wherever the f*ck. i guess, essentially, we carry our homes on our back and get around. funny. here we go, nomad!

today, for the first time in a long time, i'm home in chi, and man, it feels great. i don't even know what to do with myself. i guess i'll just get stuff in order before the weekend takes off, since i have c-spo and all that this weekend. can't wait. it'll be fun to be back to norms.

joey's in jeopardy

joey filmed jeopardy yesterday!
now, he's under contract, so don't go asking him what happened. donnnn't! leave the man be! but he did get to hang with the cast and crew all day. nice note: gotsick's out there to visit her brother for several weeks, and she got to go to the taping and met up for dinner afterward. yeah!

hang in there until october 27th, all - that's the air date. garf!

the carter fold

maybe some of you haven't heard of the carter fold, but chances are, you've heard of the carter family. carter-cash, specifically. while we were in heather's hometown, we went to a true appalachian experience, one of the homes of country music. in the woods of a tiny route, there was a wood house that had a dugout behind it with stadium seating, a tin roof, and a stage. it sat about 500, and it was full to the brim.

the carters sang a bunch of things on an old time radio hour that i bet you didn't know was them - keep on the sunny side, let the circle be unbroken, etc. there was one woman, janette, who sang the night we were there with several younger generations. she was the last of the june carter era, and she was in poor health. she couldn't stand on her own, so she sat in a chair in the front of the stage with the youngest surrounding her.

she sang a few slower paced songs with help, and then one came to an end. they asked her to speak. she waited, then softly said into the mic, "i'm not feeling well... and i don't think i ever will again." the place became silent, and then applause filled the dugout. two members of the family came over and helped her shuffle to the back of the stage, where she sat the rest of the evening.

usually i write about anecdotal things because they are funny or laughable, and i realize this is neither. it was just a moment where i felt the history of that place just flood over us. later, as the soulful bluegrass made way to happy folk for flatfootin', we got caught up in the characters swarming the dance floor, dressed to the nines in clogs and bolo ties. even after, though, i've thought about her moment several times since we left.

Monday, August 01, 2005

pretzel seating, please

once upon a time, up in a hill, there once was a land of no service.
i know, i know - it sounds crazy!
but in a world of real livin', artificial life hardly found a way to creep in.
so stories were born, visiting was done, and good times were had.

this whole week, in SW VA, not a minute passed that was unfilled. appalachian kindness was everywhere - every night was a visit with a different character, every night a dinner with a friend or relative, or a drive through hills accompanied by stories of a different timeline. it was beautiful there- rolling hills and starry skies as far as the eye could see.

my company was amazing - heather and joey were so fun, and it made me realize that not everyone is that easy to spend slow time with. seven days with anyone that intensely is unusual. they were the perfect hosts, though, always giving me lots of backstories and context to keep up.
heather's parents were super nice, and were super kind to put me up that long.

camp was amazing, too - the reason we went, yep. MAD camp - music, arts, and drama - was the first of it's kind down there. because of that, not all the details were sussed out quite the right way - we realized while there that every group had 80 minutes with us each day. that's not hard when your kids are 12, but it's extremely hard when they are 6. joey and i were a great tag-team, and finally started falling into a great pattern of sensing each others' limits; so when one of us would hit the wall, the other would take over on the littlest's glorified babysittings.

our oldest group had some great talents in it, though - and teaching them improv was about the most fun out there. they truly got tons of joy from it, and several of them seemed shock by the things that were pouring out of their mouth. considering that some of these kids had never heard the word "improv" before monday, it was a huge success. that success culminated in a show we had to give for the parents and community on friday night - and parents were laughing a ton and beaming at their kids.

also, on this trip, besides a million things, i was given the gift of the Joey Bland Parade of Stars - before, i'd been lightly encouraging Joey to become the new Rich Little, seeing that he'd pick up imitaitions pretty easily. after this week, i'll be pushing for it way harder. he could imitate the most eccentric of our classes as if it was down to a science, emphasizing only one thing a tad more to make it even funnier than real life (seemingly the key to a good impersonation). he had at least 8 people's numbers. it is amazing. this will be less gratifying to you to see, but know that it is dead-on in accuracy should he pull one of these out.

so, we achieved a bunch this week - our dream of being the cool counselors in camp was achieved, and kids seemed to really use us as a resource for info and continuing ed. neat. i also learned that when your cell phone cuts out, sometimes, that's okay.

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