Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 College Football Season

We are in a brand new college football season and like any other season there are three teams I follow closer than others. The University of Alabama which looks to be on the path of another excellent season and how they do in certain games will determine National Championship caliber team or just another good season. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is my alma mater and they look to be heading to a bad to mediocre season. The last team is the University of Memphis and unless something drastically changes they are going to have another disastrous season.

Alabama has beaten to bad teams, one mediocre team in Penn St and this past weekend the badly beat the first team that might have been a challenge for them Arkansas. I watched Most of the Penn St game and all of the Arkansas game, and I have been very impressed with what I have seen. Next week is another challenge in Florida. If they get by Florida, they should handle the rest of their games, with LSU and Auburn being the biggest games left on the schedule. They have an incredible defense again and if they can score enough points they will be in the running again. Two years ago they won all the close game and last year they lost a few of them. Last year's season would have been good for most teams but a bit disappointing for Alabama.

The UAB Blazers have been blown out two games and lost a close game to East Carolina. Looking at the schedule, they appear to be better than Memphis and Florida Atlantic, but outside of the it is a stretch to say they will beat any other teams. I do not get to watch UAB up here very much but I follow them as closely as I can, and this year we are going to the Memphis game here in town. In the past few years UAB has been flirting with getting enough wins to make a lower tier bowl, but usually comes up short. Considering they are currently 0-3 I think winning 5 or 6 games would be a successful season. I would love them to get the point where they can win 8 plus games a year.

The last team I tend to follow is Memphis. I have a closer connection to Alabama and UAB, but I live in Memphis and there are a lot of people I know that live and die with the team. Even for a team that has not a huge football tradition the past couple of seasons have been hard for Memphis. Outside of beating Middle Tennessee State and Austin Peay Memphis has lost all of their games and have been beaten badly in most of those games. This year they have another game versus Middle Tennessee but other than that based on what Memphis has done so far the rest of the season looks bleak. So far this year Memphis has scored 44 (27 of those against Austin Peay) and had 154 points scored against them. You are not going to have a good season with that kind of ratio. Since I have lived in Memphis most seasons go like this, early in the season the fans are saying that year will be different, but after a few weeks of disappointing losses or more recently getting blown out, the thoughts of most Tigers fans turn to basketball very quickly. Like UAB fans I think most Memphis fans would like to see consistency out of their football team. Outside of a few good seasons when DeAngelo Williams was here Memphis football has been mediocre to bad. The future does not look good but with some commitment and money from the school and winning a few games to attract some fans back, there is a way to make Memphis a success in football.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

2011 Cooper Young Festival

Dabney and I had a long day at the Cooper Young Festival this year. Running Gag got a booth so we could market the group and possibly recruit some new members. Dabney and I got there about 6:30 and it took about ten minutes to get through all the traffic of other people setting up. Our space was in the parking lot of the Beauty Shop restaurant. It did not take long to set up the table and tent. We had stickers and cups to give away plus a sign up sheets to get email addresses. After that was probably the hardest part of the day. It was still a couple of more hours until people starting showing up, so we were just kind of stuck there waiting. They festival opened at 9 and people starting trickling in. At first it was mostly the other vendors tricking out what else was there and then other people starting coming in as well. At first we just had the cups and stickers and I think we made it a little too easy to overlook our booth. I had Amanda run me home when she got there and we added some items and made our booth more eye catching and it looked like this.

This gave the booth a little more zip and having the other Running Gag people provided some more energy. Once the other people got there Dabney and I walked around some and got something to eat. I find it interesting that is a lot vendors that works the festival every year. We bought a couple of things, got some food, and returned to the booth. Some of the other Memphis improvers came by and said hi. There was also other people that we knew that came by. Overall we also saw the wide variety of people that you see every year at the festival. This one young girl came by and kept playing that game where you stack cups and unstack them as fast as you can. She kept doing the same thing over and over. Then she had a friend and they were racing each other as to who could stack and unstack the cups faster. I was getting to the point where I was trying to figure out a nice way to tell her to move along, but she got bored and moved on. Maybe because of the obnoxious orange color or that I hate UT so much but it seems like I saw a lot of people wearing University of Tennessee gear. By 2:00 it had already been a long day, so soon after that Dabney and I left. Dustin, Amanda, and our new member Mike took over running the booth and tore it down at the end of the day. I think it was a very successful day, we got a lot of names and hopefully we have the start of the next phase of Running Gag.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chicago Trip: Mass Transit

One of the great things about being in a city like Chicago is that have real mass transit, where you can easily hail a cab, grab a bus or train. You can easily get around a city without a car. When we were in Chicago Jana got us CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) pass. We took a train back from the improv show and the next day we took a bus to the lunch. Unlike Memphis there was a cross section of people using it. In Memphis people use mass transit because they have no other option, but the mass transit sucks and people have to work around it. In big cities mass transit is a viable option because there are multiple ways of getting around without using a car. Some of it is simple mathematics you have a lot of people crammed into a relatively small amount of space. If those people are living in high rise apartments that can make parking very difficult and expensive. I am envious of cities that have real mass transit and being able to use it without it being a giant pain in the ass like it is Memphis. I understand there are certain things that make mass transit in Memphis difficult, but I think it could be better than it is.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chicago Trip: Sirius Radio

One of the problems we had when we traveled to Florida was with the Sirius radio was we kept having to change the channel because as we traveled stations kept bleeding and made it very frustrating. It seems like every time we got a channel set it would not last long. So before we left for Chicago I checked to see if there was a way to get a more consistent single. Best Buy said they could said they could set up so that it would be on one channel only and it would be wired directly into the radio and not wirelessly through an open channel. I felt it was worth not to deal with consistently trying to find an open station. We did it and when we were traveling there was no problems with the radio, there was a strong and clear single the whole way.

With that taken care of the only issue was what station to listen to. Dabney really likes the 80s station, that features all 80s music and has the original M TV VJs as the hosts. The play a wide variety of genres with pop, rock, metal, rap, R&B all from 80s. They tend to play the hit music instead of more obscure songs. You could get Madonna, Springsteen, The Police, Prince, Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, etc. The station I like is similar but has a little different spin on things. First Wave plays alternative and new wave music from the 70s and 80s. The went with genre of time period so you get a mix of hits and more obscure tracks. Between the two stations there is a lot of crossover but I think think there are specifics of the stations that each of us prefer. So we took turns of playing of our stations and I think it worked out well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Improv Olympics

One of the conditions of going to Chicago was seeing some improv. The first choice was IO or Second City and we chose IO. The second choice was an improvised Shakespeare show or long form show featuring two teams, Wonderbat and Revolver. We chose the long the form show. After we ate dinner with Dabney's friend Jana, we met Alison and Josh who got us seats right by the stage. After a bit of a wait the show started.

The first group up was Wonderbat, and the performed an open long form set similar to what we have been doing with Running Gag. They had good energy and they did a really good job of letting scenes develop. They had strong characters and made strong offers. The main part of their set was based on Halloween. Some parts worked better than others but overall I really liked what they did.

After Wonderbat finished both groups got on a stage and did the game A Day in the Life, where they take an audience member ask what they did and perform what was described. I have seen this preformed before but the IO guys did it a little differently. I was the volunteer and after I described the day of going from Memphis to Chicago they asked questions about my life, Memphis, and other information. I talked about Memphis, my life with Dabney, and some other things. Based on the information they gathered they did a series of open scenes based on it. It is in a sense it was kind of like the Wiseguys Storyteller format. Although I did not perform being able to get on stage and being involved with the show was very excited. They did a really excellent job of what I told them, and they worked in specifics of the information.

After A Day in a Life it was Revolver's turn. They performed A Harold which is a long form format that started at Improv Olympics. You perform a series of scenes and and periodically come back to them. I guess it must be an IO thing, they start with a group where they all perform together and develop an idea from there it breaks down into the scenes. They started off where one guy is a robot and a lot of their scenes were based on the root of robots. Of the two groups I preferred Revolver they were a little bit sharper and the performers were a little more polished. They were very comfortable with each other. After Revolver performed both groups came back out and performed a game of Freeze Tag. It was a good game to end things.

I was very excited to see improv in Chicago. I was more encouraged by what I saw than intimidated. I felt like the things I saw there were things I could do with Running Gag. I picked up a couple of things that we can try, and I was encouraged by the idea of Running Gag doing long form over short form Who's Line style.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicago Trip: Lambert's

On the first entry about the trip to Chicago, I want to talk about eating at Lambert's in Missouri. Lambert's is a country cooking restaurant about 2 hours north of Memphis on the way to Chicago. I have heard about the place for a long time, but have never gone there before. Dabney and I decided to eat there as part of the trip. Dabney said she ate there before but it had been a while ago. We got there about 11:30 and the place was already packed. We were seated and somebody came by and offered some fried okra even though we had no dishes or anything. The way Lambert's works is in addition to huge servings they have these homemade rolls they famously throw to people, sometimes across the room. They also walk around with pots of fried okra, fried potatoes, black eyed peas, and couple of other dishes. We looked at the menu and it was mostly fried foods, but they also had meatloaf, steak, and other hearty dishes. Dabney and I ordered and while we were waiting one of the guys threw a roll at me. I caught it and realized how hot it was. We split the roll and it was pretty tasty. About that time our plates arrived and they were large plates covered with food. While we were eating they were walking around offering more of the sides. When you talk Europeans about America one of the things they tend to talk about is how much Americans eat and how their serving sizes are so huge. It was a mind boggling amount of food for a restaurant that was not a buffet. We both left with to go plates because there was no way we were going to eat all that food. We left Lambert's a lot more full than we arrived and continued on to Chicago.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011



This is something I found on The Nerdist site the other day. A girl named Josie Carlwood uses a guitar, keyboards, and a computer to create a cover of the Gorillaz sound Feel Good Inc. I am sure people do stuff like this all the time, but to see someone do this life and in person. The way she is all the tools to create the Gorillaz sound by herself is so awesome to see. One big difference is that is a rap section that is more aggressive in the original, but Josie is able to keep it in her style but it still sounds good. I think it is fun and exciting. I am very impressed by all the trial and error that must go into learning how to use all these tools together to make something.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Three Day Work Week

I have a three day work week this week. Monday was Labor Day, Dabney and I spent the day chilling, watching movies, and just enjoyed being together. I have to work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then Friday Dabney and I are heading to Chicago for Dabney's Math get together. Dabney and I had an excellent day today. Hopefully we will have a good but short week starting to tomorrow, followed by a trip to Lambert's followed by heading North to Chicago.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I have been working on eating better and making a commitment to changing the physical aspect of myself. I have been doing this for a couple of months, and it has not always been easy. It has not been difficult in the obvious way though. I have not been tempted by eating unhealthy food or things I shouldn't. It has been the energy it takes to do this. I am not good at doing things half way, I need to be all in or not all. I guess that is why I have problems with follow through because I know the energy it takes to do something properly. In the case of losing weight and eating better I know it is a long term project and it happens a little bit a time. There is a lot of waiting and being patient enough to take it one step at time. I want this to happen faster but it simply can not happen faster. Your logical brain can say it did not take a few weeks to get this way, so it will not take a few weeks or months to fix it. It can be very, very hard to accept these terms. You want to be smaller, you want to be able to wear different clothes, and it can be a very frustrating process. I just have to be happy with the progress I have made, I have to remember that each step gets me a little bit closer to my ultimate goal. It just takes a lot of energy to do this, and my brain keeps thinking about this. It makes difficult to start other major projects when this is my current major project. I am going to work on multi-tasking and making this is one of the things I am working on.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Low Country Boil

Rusty McSpadden had us all over a Low Country Boil. It involves a large pot of water with shrimp, crab, sausage, corn, and potatoes. I have never had this but I have been to plenty crawfish boils which is basically the same thing with mudbugs instead of shrimp & crab. The whole gang was there and everyone seemed to have a good time. As usual there was ton of other food there. When you have that big group shared food thing, there is a fun communal aspect to it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sekisui and Atan's

I have been eating more sushi lately. There are two places that we have been getting sushi from. Atan's was originally a Chinese restaurant but they bought the space next door, and expanded adding a hibachi grill and sushi bar. Dabney does not eat sushi, but there are things that she can order from there. The sushi is not quite as good as Sekisui but it is a good compromise. Speaking of Sekisui they are the number one sushi place in Memphis with several locations. They have my favorite sushi roll. It is called a Nasville roll. They take a roll with spicy crawfish inside and seared tuna on top. The nice thing about Sekisui they have a full sushi menu, but they have a full Japanese menu and wide variety of small dishes to choose from as well. There is a variety of options that are not sushi. It is a little expensive, but the food is really good. I have enjoyed eating more sushi, and like the fact that both places have options for Dabney.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spinach & Bean Tacos

I had a kind of strange leftover dinner tonight. Dabney had a girl's night out with Stacy so I was on my own. I started off cooking some onion and mushrooms. I added some leftover spinach that had onions and mushrooms in it. After all that heated up some I added some leftover chicken and some fresh spinach we had. When the spinach cooked down, I added a can of red beans. So I had this kind spinach & bean Mexican mix. I put that on some flour tortillas with salsa and cheese. It was very tasty and I enjoyed it very much. I was tempted to go somewhere and grab a quick bite but I came home and made myself dinner. I was almost wooed by Central BBQ and of course the one time I decide not to eat there, no people were waiting in a long line coming out the door.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Improv Choice

When Dabney and I go to Chicago we are going to go to Improv Olympics and catch a live improv comedy show. They have two theaters and in one theater is a group called Revolver who will be performing a Harold, which is a style of long form improv. I have never really seen a true long form like that performed. As someone who does improv it would be very interesting. IO is where The Harold started. In the other theater is something Improvised Shakespeare. The group will take a suggestion and then come with a play in the style of Shakespeare. This would be fun to see because it is a performance based on a specific style and format. I am still thinking about which one I am going to do, but I have a couple of weeks to think about it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Awesome Nerdist Show

Bryan Cranston on Nerdist

Bryan Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad did The Nerdist podcast recently and it was amazing. I was not a big Malcolm fan but Breaking Bad is one of my favorite shows. I had listened to the long form interview Bryan had on the Kevin Pollak Chat Show, so I knew he was an interesting person to listen to talk about acting and life in general. The talk with Chris and the guys was really fun and relaxed. Bryan really appreciates his position of being two very popular shows that are very different. He is more concerned about performing and entertaining people than being famous or being in the limelight. Having that attitude gives him a very zen look at life. It also might be he has been able to be on good shows, because he would rather be on a well written show than being on some big blockbuster or making a lot of money. Bryan also talked about acting and being to find the emotional core of the character. Hal on Malcolm was afraid of everything, and Walter White on Breaking Bad was depressed and so depressed he simply shut down from life. The character has evolved from the early days of the show and really like seeing how he has changed over the seasons. Bryan is the heart of a really good show. There are some really funny parts too. It was a very good listen. Good job guys.

Monday, August 29, 2011


One of the things I have been missing with the low carb is cutting out bread and specifically sandwiches. To me there is nothing satisfying than a really well made sandwiches. Po Boys, Cubans, subs, cheesesteak, BLT, chicken salad, club I love them all. I have not really had as much problems with sweets or fried foods, but no sandwiches has been a bit harder. One of the things I have been doing is substituting tortillas for bread. Making some wraps and tacos. All you need is something to help get the food to your face with sauces and other goodies, not just meat. It is funny that the winner of the Next Food Network Start has a show about making sandwiches. Also there is brand new slider restaurant that just opened in Midtown. There always challenges when doing something like this, and my challenge is cutting back on sandwiches.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chicago Trip

In a couple weeks Dabney and I are traveling to the big city of Chicago to see one of our internet friends run in a marathon. There is a good number of her internet specifically a group called Math. So there will be a convening of the Math people and families in the Chicago to help support their fellow poster. I think it will be very exciting to be in Chicago for a couple of days and I am excited that Dabney will get to meet some of the people she has shared and talked with online for so many years in person. The one bad thing is that our schedule is kind of full so we will be limited in the Chicago things that we can do, but oh darn I guess that just means will have to go back to Chicago at some point. One thing I will get to do Chicago is see an Improv Olympics show. So we get to see some real Chicago improv. Other than that on Saturday there will be a big group Italian meal, and then on Sunday we will be going to the marathon. After that we probably heading back to Memphis. More on the Chi-town fun later.

Giving up on a dream

Everyone has dreams - a dream career, an ideal partner, the perfect day. It can be something small or something huge. In the end, it doesn't even matter what it is because it is just yours. Two people can want the same thing, but I think it is rare for two people to have the exact same dream with the exact same intensity.

The funny thing about dreams is that you can think the dream is gone. You can think you gave up on it a long time ago, but it is just lurking. Ready to come back and be front and center, when the smallest crack appears.

Every now and then, though, you have to give up the dream. You have to say out loud to yourself and to others, this is not going to happen. You have to mourn, but then you have to be okay with it. It is hard and sad, but I think if you come to the other side of it, you are better. You find a new dream. A new goal. Something else to strive for. It doesn't lessen the previous dream, but the excitement of the new dream helps you heal.

So, here is to a new dream. A new something I never knew was out there. Something that makes the old dream disappear for good. Bring it on!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I have been on Google+ for a couple of weeks and frankly I don't quite get it. I understand that it is a variation on Facebook, but I still trying to see how it is more awesome than Facebook. I don't have a ton of friends on + yet, but I am trying to add too many people. I am trying to keep the people in my circles to people I really know instead of acquaintances or people I know second hand. I am trying to keep my Google+ uncluttered but because of this I may be missing some of the parts of the program. I need to explore other avenues of Google+ like playing some Angry Birds. I don't want to rush and add a bunch of people just to add them.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Slacker Weekend

Now that the Running Gag show is over we don't have anything planned for the weekend. I think we are going to have a nice quiet weekend with nothing much today. Tomorrow we are going to go and get some lunch, then go to the Kosher Kroger and get some supplies for the weekend. If we get food for the weekend we don't really need to leave the house again until we go back to work on Monday morning. I think it will be a good weekend for some slack.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Running Gag & Wiseguys

On Friday night the three remaining Running Gag members will be joining up with Joe, Austin, and Warren from The Wiseguys for a show. It will be the first show with so many members gone from the group. The first big exodus happened last Summer and this Summer three of the remaining members have left. Running Gag is at a crossroads, and it will be interesting to how the group will change over the next few months as new people come into the group. We are in the process of recruiting new people to join. As far as tomorrow night's show it is always fun to play with The Wiseguys, and think the show will be good and we are going to have a fairly big crowd because of the tie in with the CBU Honors Program.

Update - We had a great show. There was a crowd of about 50 people. Everybody had a good time, and it was pretty fun evening. I got to play Paula Dean in one scene which was pretty fun. Joe, Austin, and Warren all seemed to enjoyed performing with us, and the audience was into the show.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ready Player One

I am listening to an audio book called Ready Player One written by Ernest Cline and is read by Wil Wheaton. It takes place in the future where the economy has collapsed and people have found solace in a game called Oasis. The game is like a combination of the internet and a MMO. The genius inventor James Halliday has died and upon his death he released a message saying he has hidden an easter egg in the game and the person who finds it inherits his vast fortune. The main character is Wade Watts is trying to solve the puzzle and win the prize. One of the fun things about the book is Halliday a huge fan of 80s pop culture, video games, and comic books. The clues to the easter egg is thorough knowledge of 80s pop culture. I have only listened to part of the book so far, but I have really enjoyed it, and Wil Wheaton has done a great job of reading the book. I can't wait to see how it comes out.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I have enjoyed the show Eureka on Syfy since the show began a few years. The concept of the show is that in the 1940's a town was formed for the smartest people to be able to work on their projects in privacy. The show is quirky and fun, well written with some good characters. I can suspend my disbelief most of the time. However there is one major flaw with the show that I have a hard time getting around. The basic formula of the show is something screws up in the town and they spend the rest of the episode trying to fix it before the town town blows before something terrible happens. It is variation on the X-Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer monster of the week model. The problem I have with all this is these are supposed to best and brightest but yet they fuck stuff up. For uber smart people they do some really dumb things. Does it always have to be about something going wrong? They have had a few story arcs that have used ongoing stories, but the vast majority of episodes have been the F-up of the week problems. It appears the show is coming to an end, and I will be curious to see how it all comes together.


I have attempted gardening for the first time this year and I have to admit the results have been mixed. The good is Greg gave us a window box for herbs. Last year he pre-planted some seeds. One of the things he planted was some garlic chives and they just came back in the spring and actually are doing better this year. We also planted some sage and rosemary. Overall the herbs have done well and we have enjoyed using the fresh herbs for cooking. Now for the not so good. We have two pepper plants and tomato plant and the results to say the least have been disappointing. The tomato plant had three little tomatoes we picked and used that were great. The problem now is they produce flowers, but the little flowers will not become peppers or tomatoes. I do not know enough about gardening to know what I am doing wrong. I am pleased with the results of the herbs, but I was really looking forward to eating the plabano peppers that I grew on my own. Hopefully there will be enough time to grow some peppers before it starts getting cold.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nerdist Writers Panel

I know I have become a total pimp for Chris Hardwick and his Nerdist Industries podcasts. Chris has a space at a comic book store called Meltdown and the space is called NerdMelt. One of the things they did at NerdMelt was the Nerdist Writers Panel. It was a series of discussions with some of the top tv writers in the business. Each panel features four writers from various genres drama, sci-fi, sitcoms and so forth. It covers topics such as how did you get it started, was is your process, what is it like to be in writer's room, and what is like to work with JJ Abrams & Joss Whedon type show runners. I find the show is fascinating. Although I am pretty sure I will never be a professional television writer, but to hear discussions of the creative process and the idea of working with others and working toward a collective goal is very helpful and informative. Also with writers of some of my favorite shows like Buffy, Angel, and Lost, I get some of the behind the scenes view of what it was like to work on some of these shows. Even when they talked to someone like Jeff Greenstein who worked on show like Friends, Will & Grace, and Desperate Housewives I enjoyed because it is still about process and being creative. My very favorite was Jane Espenson who wrote on shows like Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, and Torchwood. If you look at some the episodes that Jane wrote for Buffy she played a hand in the goofy but fun nature of the show. This can be seen in an episode called Band Candy, where all the adults devolve and start acting like goofy teenagers. It is that kind of fun that marks her episodes on the show. Even though Jane was my favorite, I still found interesting things that all the writers had to add to the discussion. It is a very good podcast and I have listened to two of the three episodes and just downloaded episode three.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fajita Challenge

Last Saturday Dabney and I some folks over for a birthday cookout. I cooked fajitas for the grill. I have made fajitas for the two of us but I have no cooked so many different items for so many people. There was skirt steak, chicken breasts, portobello mushrooms, red & pablano peppers, and some pineapple. So I was dealing with different cooking times for all the items. If you look at the picture you can see the progression of what I cooked. I started with the chicken because that was going to take the longest, then the skirt and peppers. I wanted a nice char on the peppers because I was going to peel all of that off. The last things I put on was the mushrooms and pineapple because that was going to take the shortest amount of time. I had the hotter side of the grill on the left and the cooler on the right. So as things got ready I would move it over to the right of the grill. I think everything turned out good. I think maybe a couple of the smaller pieces of chicken got overcooked but otherwise things turned out well. Everybody enjoined the food and there was not a lot of leftovers. Most of the leftovers we were able to use the next week for lunches and dinners. So I am very pleased with how everything came out.

Bourdain versus Dean

Anthony Bourdain in his books and on television have never been shy about poking fun or out and out mocking Food Network stars. The most pointed comments are for people like Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, and Sandra Lee who are not professionally trained chefs and tend to use a lot of canned foods in their cooking. Paula Dean has fought back against this and it has become a very public feud.

Bourdain vs Deen

Admittedly Bourdain can be a pompous ass and a generally cranky bastard. In fact one might say that Tony has made a career as a professional chef being lovable but cranky guy. One of the things Bourdain seems to disdain his people he does not feel worthy of his respect. In his travels on No Reservations he deals with plenty of people that are not classically trained cooks but stills respects them for doing what they do really well. So based on that what is his major beef with Food Network and it's mix of professional chefs and other chefs with variety of backgrounds in cooking and food. They have a found a wide a broad based audience and I can see with a professional chef like Tony that can't be seen as a good thing. However I think there are more people that can relate to Rachel or Sandra who will make something that average home cook is willing to try over a more difficult gourmet dish that would prove daunting. As someone who has watched multiple hours of Food Network over the last few years I can see the justification for both points of view. On the one hand you need eyeballs on your shows to be able to exist as a network, but if you work to hard to reach the lowest common denominator you sacrifice a higher goal. So you need a mix of entry level cooking that just about anybody can do and something that will challenge you too. I find it an interesting discussion and like I said I find merits in both side of this.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Going to play with the guys tonight. At one point I was considering playing poker on a more serious level. I think I am pretty good at poker but I am not that good. I think I am good enough to play in a lot of home games but I would need to seriously work on my game if I wanted to go down to Tunica on a regular basis. I will see how I do tonight. I just need to mix up my game and keep them guessing as to what I am doing. I need watch my opening and try to avoid chasing hands. I am feeling pretty good about my chances tonight.

Results of the poker. We played three games.
The first game was a five dollar five card draw game. I have not played five card in awhile and I was a bit rusty. It is an awkward game and kind of slow. I didn't get many good cards and did not get into the flow of the game. I won a couple of pots, but I did not win enough. Syd ended up winning the game.
In the second game we played a ten dollar hold em. I felt more comfortable playing hold em. I have not played in awhile and was a little bit rusty. I was playing pretty good but found myself down and couldn't seem to catch a break. I was knocked on a mistake I made. I was in a hand with Ted and Syd. Ted made a large bet that put me all in. I called and Ted had thought he had a straight but he did not. I thought I had won the hand but we both forgot that Syd was in the hand. Syd had trips and it knocked me out of the game. Ted and I were focused on each other and forgot Syd was in the hand. After that Ted and Syd chopped and we moved on to the third game.
In the third game we played another ten dollar hold em game. I was more consistent in the third game and was able to have a stable stack of chips through most of the game. I caught some cards and was able to catch a few pots. I finished second to Austin and chopped with him. There was one hand that probably made the difference in the game. It was done to me, Ted, and Austin. I was in a hand with Ted. On the river I had two pair and I did not know what Ted had. There was a straight draw and a flush draw on the board. Ted went all in and forced me out of the hand. As it turned out he had a pocket pair of kings and would have beat him with the weak 2 pair. If I had taken the chance I would been in much better shape and probably won the whole thing. It really came down to one decision and I came down on the wrong side.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I have been asked by wife to paint something for her.It is been almost 10 years since I have done any serious painting. Other people have asked about painting and I have wanted to but I always manage to put it off. I even bought a new easel but that did not help with doing more painting. So I am putting it out there on the internets. Before my birthday on November 6 I will paint something. I have everything I need to paint except a new canvas but that will be fairly easy to fix. I think if I light this candle it will not be just one painting but several paintings over the next few months.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thank you Nerdist

I have been listening to Chris Hardwick's Nerdist podcasts. In addition to being a really fun listen it has been and inspiration for me. Hardwick and co-hosts Jonah Ray and Matt Mira have gone with the idea of you have to keep moving forward and keep putting content out there. They have what is called hostfull episodes, where instead of a guest they talk with each other about what is going on with their lives. It is in these episodes you find out what makes the guys tick. They encourage each other. For instance, Matt Mira has been hired to work on the G4 show Attack of the Show, and by doing this he is able to quit as day job as a tech for the Apple Store.

While the podcast started off as something it appears they are getting noticed. There is going to pilot version of The Nerdist on BBC America. It may turn into something more but it is very encouraging that they are getting noticed. As a fan of the show I am very excited for them, but I am also grateful for the show because they have shown me what is possible and what I can do if I just put myself out there. You can't do it for fame or fortune but if you do put yourself out there good may happen. You just have to do it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Austin and Stacy

Our friend Austin and Stacy are now engaged. The relationship is based on Dabney and I coming together. Two years ago at Dabney's birthday party they got together and have been a couple ever since. Now they have moved to the next level. It is fascinating to watch how this whole thing has come together and how they have developed as a couple. I am very happy for both of them and wish them all the best.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dexter vs Breaking Bad

There two shows I enjoy very much that explore the darker side of things. Dexter the story of blood expert who is also a serial killer who hunts serial killers and Breaking about the story of Walter White a high school chemistry who finds out that when he is dying of cancer starts making crystal meth with a former student Jesse Pinkman.

I really liked Dexter in the early season, Michael Hall does an excellent job in the roll however I think the show has developed a formula for each season and other than some for variation from season to season it has fallen into a pattern of sorts. I think I have just become a little bored with the show, They can still throw some wrinkles in but I think it is about to start wrapping it up. There are only so many variations that they can come up with for Dexter.

I have really enjoyed Breaking Bad from start. We see progression of Walter White from teacher dying of cancer to crystal meth maker. One of the things I really like about it, is that while Walter has changed in a lot ways there are still some aspects of the character hasn't changed. There is a fascinating study of how an otherwise law abiding citizen who was stuck in a dead end job to becoming of the best makers of meth. Bryan Cranstron does a superb job of giving Walter all the complex layers. It is looking like the show will run a couple more seasons and I will be curious to see where the show ends up.

Food and Emotion

In the past month or so I have been working very hard at eating healthier. I have been trying to avoid sweets, fried foods, breads and overly starchy foods. By doing that I feel like I have gone through a detox of sorts and my head feels very clear right now and I have made some discoveries about myself in the process. I have had a problem with food most of life. I have been fat and I have been thin, but in the past several years I have been bigger than any other time in my life. It's nasty vicious circle of getting fat because you overeat which makes you depressed and what do you do when you are depressed, you eat. Over time it just gets worse and worse. Like any other junkie you are killing yourself and you know you are killing yourself, it's just that you don't give a shit and if you do give shit you feel helpless to stop which is probably worse because then you feel guilty about it. In the past couple of weeks I have been able to cut some of those emotional ties that I have with food. I have not had many cravings or urges that I must have a certain kind of food. By not having those cravings I haven't felt like I have been denying myself. By saying I can't have that piece of cake you are denying yourself that cake, which gives the power to the cake, and sets up bargains that you make with yourself like if I am good for a few days I can have that piece of cake. I guess that is why most of us are on that constant yo-yo with weight we give all the power to the food. When you stop trying to eat healthy the bad habits come back very quickly and soon you are back in the same fix again. This time you feel a little bit worse and little more helpless and beat yourself up more. It is a terrible feeling to go through this. So instead of saying I can't have the cake I have been trying to say I don't want the cake. This gives you the power and not the food. I don't want a certain and seems like with a lot of things now I can take it or leave it. It is very freeing and I feel like I have my control of life because of it. When you think about it I think most of treat food like a teenager treats alcohol, you don't care whatever cheap ass beer you are drinking because you just want to get hammered and you just want whatever it is that get you there the quickest. We eat fast food or go to buffets because it fills that need fast and cheap. You want that rush, you want that grease running down your chin as you plow through a couple of Big Macs, basket of fries, and ginormous vat of soda. The things we do with food is just as depraved as Charlie Sheen on a weekend bender with a bag of blow, a case of bourbon, and a couple of hookers. So I am trying to break some of the emotional connections to food, and I am trying to break some bad habits that go back to childhood. By doing this I am in no means saying that I am better than anybody. I am just doing what I need to live a longer life. I am not a young person any more and I simply do not want my remaining days to filled with pain and sickness, which is what I am heading for I don't make this changes in my life. Like the 12 steppers, I take it one day at a time and today I feel better about myself than I have in a very long time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dabney's 40 by 40

Today is my 39th birthday, which as my friends have been so kind to remind me means that I am one year away from 40. The way I see it, my 30s have been better than my 20s and my 20s were better than my Teens, and so I only have good years ahead of me.

However, the way to ensure that they are good years is to lay a good foundation. So, tonight I came up with 40 things to do before I turns 40. I will post my progress and keep everyone updated as I go.

Here is the list:

Dabney's 40 things by 40

  1. Drink no carbonated beverages for one month
  2. Eat no bread for one month
  3. Drink 8 glasses of water a day for a week
  4. Find a water aerobics class
  5. Buy a complete outfit at least one size smaller
  6. Donate blood
  7. Stop biting my nails without using acrylic tips
  8. TCB by going to the doctors - full physical, ob/gyn, eye doctor, and dentist
  9. Put more money into savings
  10. Build up a travel fund
  11. Go to New Orleans
  12. Go to one Non-Memphis restaurant from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
  13. Read three books outside of the Fiction / Romance genre
  14. See 10 classic movies that I haven’t seen before (off AFI List of best movies)
  15. Find a hobby
  16. Find a place to volunteer regularly
  17. Contribute to a non-profit organization
  18. Send a secret to Post Secret
  19. Go to one live music event (besides the Papa Tops)
  20. Get a more consistent morning routine
  21. Have more patience with people
  22. Learn one new skill
  23. Get our closet organized
  24. Get our basement organized
  25. Finally get our wedding pictures framed
  26. Buy something new for the house
  27. Learn to cook three new dishes
  28. Bake something to give as a gift
  29. Get rid of 40 things I don’t need any more
  30. Throw an actual dinner party, not just a cookout
  31. Get dressed up for a fancy date with Glen
  32. Rent a hotel room locally and have a glamorous date night
  33. Take a cute picture with Glen at least once a month
  34. Surprise Glen
  35. Decide on (redacted) and be comfortable with our decision
  36. Send an actual birthday card to everyone in my family
  37. Send someone some flowers
  38. Have one party where we use the fire pit
  39. See my family more regularly
  40. Go on a picnic
Wish me luck!

Midnight in Paris

I saw the movie Midnight in Paris today and there was something in that movie that spoke to the romantic in me. Owen Wilson's Gil was in modern Paris, but was longing for the Paris of the 1920's. Through the magic of the movies he was transported to 1920's Paris. Gil has a blast meeting the great artist and writers of that time like Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, Picaso, and Dali. He also meets a young woman named Adriana, and ironically she longs for the Paris of the 1890s when the impressionists were knocking around. Adriana's complaints about 1920's Paris were very similar to Gil's complaints about Paris of 2010. It brings to life of how you can romantic notions about times and/or places. However the romantic notions about something usually involve a perfect life where an artist spends all day working on his art and does not have anything to deal with anything other than being an artist. But when you think about it is often the day to day battles of life are the things that will drag you down and makes life hard. Gil was making a living as a Hollywood screen writer but longed to be a novelist preferable living in Paris. I can so relate to those feelings, and when I was studying art history, I could the idea of living in 1890s. This movie made me think about those notions and made me appreciate being in the here and now. I see the place I am currently in a new light and I want to make the best use of the time I have now. In addition to enjoying the movie, I feel like I learned something today. Thanks Woody.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Type A Personalities

I always thought type A personalities had something wrong with them. The constant drive, challenging themselves, always wanting perfection, and an internal clock that was always ticking away. Just the thought of it just made me tired. I never understood why or how somebody could be like that. I have spent years fighting that urge. I felt no reason to pursue life that way. Now I am trying to get my life in order I understand that thinking. To me it is kind of like a shark you must keep moving or die. You have to have goals, you have to have something to work on, something to focus on. I find the things I have been working on I think about a lot. It is not something I even want to do, it just happens. If I can get my personal life in order, I can then expand that idea and work on other things. For me my life has been I wish or I want to do ____ but really it should be I will do _____. I am not saying I have never done anything or accomplished anything, I think it is more like having short goals and once I accomplish that goal I relax. Once you relax, you stop moving, you get soft. Maybe that is what drives the Type A people, they know or instinctively know that they can't stop. I don't think I have that attitude or mindset naturally but I think I can learn from that. What I need to work on is getting beyond doing things like that on short term basis. It's not one goal or plan but a series of goals and plans. That is probably why even hugely successful people come up with new goals or plans. I guess that is why I have started blogging on a daily basis, something to focus my energies on.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I have taken to listening to podcasts at work. It helps make the day go by faster, and is often more interesting than just listening to music. Most of them last from one to two hours. It started when I started listening to my friend Andy Flemming's Mostly Comedy podacst and it lead to others. Not shockingly my taste in podcasts tends to run towards politics, comedy, movies and general geeky culture. I have a few current favorites are The Nerdist, The Nerdist Writer's Panel, WTF, The Morning Stream, Film Sack, and Doug Loves Movies.

The Nerdist and Writer's Panel is under the Nerdist Industries podcast network. Chris Hardwick is the host of the show with Matt and Jonah. They have natural ease either when they guests or just talking amongst themselves. One of the new shows they have started is series of discussions with some heavy hitters in the tv writing world and after the first one I really liked it.

WTF or What The Fuck with Marc Marron this may be one of the hottest podcasts out there. Marc has some fascinating conversations with some heavy hitters from the comedy world. He is afraid to go into touchy subjects like stealing material. Marron had turned the side project into a career boosting break through.

The Morning Stream and Film Sack are two shows from Scott Johnson's Frogpants Studios collection of show. The Morning Stream features Johnson and Brian Ibbott in lively Monday through Thursday podcast that talks about news, movies, sci-fi, comics, and what is going in their lives. It is very funny and I enjoy listening to it every day. They also are in a weekly movie show called Film Sack. They do wide variety of mostly bad movies with a heavy dose of sci-fi movies. The four guys all watch the movie and talk about it. They all have a fun time talking about the movies. Frogpants has a fun collection of shows and those are two of my favorites.

Lastly is Doug Benson's Doug Loves Movies. Comedian Doug Benson does a show mostly about movies featuring various comedians, actors and Hollywood types. It features a Name That Tune style movie game called The Leonard Maltin Game based on the reviews by the film critic. His shows tend to be shorter but are very funny.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Birthday Weekend

Day 2 of writing.

We are heading into Dabney's birthday weekend. I have her present and we have birthday party set. I hope she likes the present, I think it is something she wants. Saturday we are having some friends over a fajita fiesta. We are grilling skirt steak, chicken, and portobello mushrooms on the grill. Sunday night I am taking Dabney out to dinner at favorite place, P.F. Chang's. All in all I think it will be a fun birthday weekend. All we need to do is get through work tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I have been a lazy blogger I run hot and cold. I have always kind of been in that way. Even when I was writing journals pre-computer. I think I will try and write every day for a week. If I make for a week, then make two weeks and so on.

My life right is I am working hard to healthier, it has not been easy but I think I feel better for it. The big thing I am trying to do is not eat fried food and fast food. Not exactly no carbs but cut down on my intake of carbs. I have noticed I get heartburn less which is good. I am not sure about my job situation. Things seems to be going well at Optimus. I have been able to do more than I have in the past, but it is still not the most exciting job in the world. I would like to find something else but there is not much out there for me right now. I am happy with Running Gag but we are at a crossroads. We are down to three people in group and I am not sure where the group is going. I still really like doing improv, but I am not sure where I am going with it right now. I am not trying to change my entire life, but right now I am trying to take it one step at a time trying to make myself a better person.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


It has been an amazing few weeks to follow the Grizzlies fan. In the first few years the team the team was here in Memphis I got a Power Pack and usually saw a few more games more games every year. I experienced the joy and agony of the team making the playoffs only to make a quick exit every time. I even went to the first playoff game played at the Pyramid against the Spurs. That game was a perfect example of what happened in the playoffs those years. The Grizzlies played about as well as they could and played the Spurs tough but in the end the Spurs managed to win the game on the way to a sweep. In the post Gasol era I kept track of the team but not with the same fervor as previous years. There was glimpses of what the team could be but overall there was too many bad moves from management and too many frustrating losses and collapses by the team. There just didn't seem to be any hope that the team was every going to be mediocre at best and laughing stock of the NBA at worst. Then something magical happened in the 2010-2011 season. The season started off OK as they slogged through the fall and early winter there was some good wins but there was some bad losses. It always seemed to be one step forward and two steps back. Until the calendar changed to 2011, with the new year the wins started stacking up. Unlike the previous year when the Grizzlies had a similar record but faded badly at the end of the season this team kept fighting and winning. Coming down to the end of the season the Grizzlies knew they were going to play the Lakers, Spurs, or Mavericks. The team basically did not try to win the last two games so that the knew they would be facing the Spurs who were the top seed. As the playoffs started the hope was don't get swept and at least make the Spurs work before they went to the next round of the playoffs.

Then the real magic started with the playoffs. The Grizzlies outplayed and out hustled the Spurs and won game 1. It was amazing to see the team win after so many years of frustration. The Spurs won game 2 but the Grizzlies made them work for the win and they still looked to be in good shape for the next two home games. I was at game 3 and the Fed Ex Forum was loud and electric. The sold out crowd was showing it's love for the Grizzlies. The key moment of the game was late in the game the Grizzlies were up by two and needed a basket badly to make it a two possession game. Zach Randolph had the ball as the shot clock ticked down, Zach let fly a three point shot and there was a moment where time froze. The shot went in and the Forum erupted in that moment. San Antonio called time out and all you heard was a chant of Z-Bo from the crowd. The Grizzlies went on to win the game and make the series 2-1. Then it was time for the critical game 4, if the Spurs win it is all tied up and it becomes a 2 out of 3 series with the two of the games played in San Antonio. It was another exciting game and the Forum crowd was pumped up again. In the two wins there was the three pointer by Shane Battier in game one and game three there was the aforementioned Randolph three. In game 4 there was another big three. With a little under 5 minutes to go Battier his a big three pointer from the corner to put the Grizzlies up by an amazing 20 points that caused the Spurs coach Greg Popovich to wave the white flag and pull their starters. With a 3-1 stranglehold it went from maybe they can win a couple of games to this Grizzlies team could shock the world by beating the top seeded Spurs. Game 5 was in San Antonio and looking back it is ok because the Grizzlies won the series but at the time it became a question of is this where the Grizzlies lost the series. The Spurs hit two miracle shots in the waning seconds to tie up the game with the tying shot as the clock ran out. The Grizzlies ended up losing in overtime setting up a crucial game 6 in Memphis. Most people thought the Grizzlies had to win game 6 to avoid a win or go home game 7 in San Antonio. I watched the game on tv and unlike the first two games the crowd at the Forum was nervous and tentative. It was if the entire city was trying to will a game 4th win out of the Grizzlies. It was going to be successful playoff run no matter what but blowing a 3-1 would been a hard way to go out. The game came down to crunch time and the Grizzlies kept feeding the ball to Zach and he hit big shot after big shot. when the dust settled the Grizzlies won the game and the series in front of the home crowd. It was on to round two against another young and upcoming team in the NBA the Oklahoma City Thunder. Like the lst round the national media all said the Thunder would win the series. Sure the Grizzlies beat the old and slow Spurs but this would be different. In game one the Grizzlies came out with the same intensity and swagger and ran the Thunder out of their own building. Zach and Marc Gasol combined for 52 points. The home crowd went from rowdy and excited to stunned silence as the Grizzlies kept attacking and making shots. Between the game clincher on Friday and the thrashing of the Thunder on Sunday it was one of the exciting weekends I experienced as a Grizzlies fan. All day Monday I just felt good.

Right now I am watching the Grizzlies battle it out in game 2 and if they win this they will have a stranglehold on this series. It feels really good this time. In the past Grizzlies could play their best game but still couldn't catch a lucky break playing against teams that were better than them. This time it doesn't matter as much about what the other team did, if the Grizzlies play their game they have a good chance of winning. No matter what happens versus the Thunder this has been an incredible run by the Grizzlies, and as Chris Herrington from the Memphis Flyer has said this is the first time Memphis has experienced true playoff basketball.

Update - A couple hours later. It is looking like the Grizzlies will lose tonight and head back to Memphis tied up 1-1. The Thunder are hitting on all cylinders tonight and the Grizzlies can't seem to get going. This is the first out and out bad game the Grizzlies have played in the playoffs this year. No matter what the Thunder have to win one in Memphis.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Two Bridges

In the past few weeks I have seen the two new movies that Jeff Bridges has starred in. The two movies couldn't be more different. Tron Legacy was the sequel to Tron and True Grit was a remake of the the John Wayne movie made by the Coen Brothers. I was really looking forward to Tron Legacy and thought True Grit was going to be pretty good. As it turns out it was the exact opposite, True Grit was an incredible movie and Tron Legacy wasn't very good.

The Coen Brothers created a rich movie filled with great scenery and excellent acting performance. Bridges does an excellent job playing Rooster Cogburn, the iconic role John Wayne made famous. There was many levels to the character and Bridges relished the playing him. Much of the movie is the interplay between Bridges, Matt Damon, and Hailee Stanfield the young actress who played the lead character Mattie Ross. The Coens wrote some great dialogue and they did not fall back on some of the overly witty back and forth that highlight some of their earlier work.

Compared to True Grit, Tron Legacy just seems empty and hollow. The movie has some incredible visuals and interesting action sequences, but the characters are not developed and the story is almost non-existent. Bridges does well with his duel roles in the movie, Flynn and Clu. As Flynn, his role in the original, he is a mix of Buddhist monk and the Dude and has Clu a demented cyber version of Flynn he is loud with no depth or feeling. There is a 2-D and a 3-D version of the movie, but I don't think that makes a difference. While the 3-D would make some the action look better, it does not cover up the giant plot holes. It is a disappointing that the movie wasn't better, they have literally had decades to think about what a sequel to Tron and this is what they came up with. Jeff Bridges is one of the greatest actors of our time, but there is only so much he can do with this, and as we saw in True Grit he has the chops to do a lot of things.

Project Glen: 1-3

The last couple of weeks in December have not been good for me. Too much in general, booze, sweets, and food in general. I am going to start back in earnest this month. All the parties and things like New Years Eve. I have gained back a couple of pounds. I am still in positive overall but I need to get back on it and get back to where I was and continue on. I am not going beat myself up too much but fun time is over and now it is time to get back to work.