Sunday, December 31, 2006

goodbye 2006… and good riddance!

2006 was a life-changing year for me… here’s my year-end-review.

January started out rough, to say the least! Tension with a co-worker led to my changing from one Omnicom agency to another… leaving work and people I love behind. Three days after, I found myself mourning the loss of my best friend in Texas, who passed away from liver failure due to unmanaged Crohn’s disease, and landing a new, much higher-paying job – all on the same day.

Most of February and March were bogged down with drama and stress from Marla’s death – dealing with her material possessions, her family (who all lived far enough away that they left me to deal with many details), her “church”. Marla was the first person I’d ever lost, close to me… I went through some depression, was sick (a lot) – but was busy at my new job and made it through.

April marked tax refund time – and again, my refund was eaten up by the IRS and some honest mistakes with past returns. Celebrated 7 years of marriage and I turned 29 without any big to-dos – just a small, friends-only party at the house.

May and June… what a summer!. It was mostly taken up with work. The new job, while good money was very draining and completely unrewarding professionally. Personally, I felt pretty abused every day I was there. Somewhere in there my best friend from college, Shana, got a great new career opportunity as a Special Education teacher… nervous and scared, she’s turned out to be a natural at it – and is, even now, raking in accolades.

June 19th was my first time on stage doing stand-up comedy. I believed, for the first time, I was doing what I was MEANT to do. The feeling of finding something I was good at was a feeling I’ll never forget.

June 30th was the first of a couple of trips to Springfield, Illinois. I got the wonderful chance to meet Dr. & Mrs. Zoom – two of my very best friends, EVER. I fell in love with them, with Springfield… and I started pondering moving, needing a change from Dallas.

In August, my best friend from High School and maid of honor, Renee got married to the love her life – Reddy. I found out via email – they eloped in Hawaii. I spent most of August praying for a job opportunity and hoping I’d get to visit Springfield again, very soon.

September 15th marked a change for the *much* better! I interviewed with a fantastic company in Springfield and had a job offer the next week. Plans then began to relocate… STRESS CITY! I had a great send-off party with some awesome karaoke… My second stand-up comedy showcase was also in September. I had another great performance, with great comics sharing the stage, and a great audience.

October was the end of the job that made me, well, miserable. The opportunity in Springfield was too good to pass up, so I packed up and moved – just like that! I got right into my new job, and doing comedy in Springfield. My first open mic in Springfield I took 2nd place (out of 10 comics). Shortly thereafter marked my first paid gig as a stand up comic. I also got the pleasure of opening for Mike Lukas as the Bloomington Funny Bone.

November was marked with a fantastic Thanksgiving – definitely with things to be thankful for. Most of it was a blur, but I did another opening set for Todd Yohn at Mason City Limits. Got a big house outside of Springfield – quite a “project” but it’s a house.

December welcomed me to winter and Illinois with an ice storm! I love the cold, but hated the ice. First *snowday*, too, though I had to use some of my paid time off time to cover it. Put lots of time into the house, spent $1000 at IKEA and learned how to lay self-stick vinyl tile all in the same weekend. Also achieved a goal for 2006 – acquiring an XBOX 360.

I didn't lose the weight in 2006 - or any weight. I didn't get a better handle on my health. I didn't change the world or make it a better place. I lost dear friends. I lost my great-grandmother. I even lost about 3 hours of my life when I had a low-blood-sugar/panic attack/overtired episode. I burned some bridges.

I did make some great life-long friends in 2006. I accomplished a lot professionally. I think I matured a lot, emotionally. I mended some fences. I gained back a few friends that were kind enough to take me back. I made some good personal decisions and stuck to my guns for the right reasons.

Here’s to 2007 – may it be better, brighter, and blissfully supreme to 2006.
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Thursday, December 14, 2006

it's been 6 months since you laughed at me...

Stupid open mic. Stupid contest. Stupid picking #1. Stupid 3rd place! *pout* Yeah? Fuck you! I will whine and pout if I want to.

December 19th marks my six-month anniversary of doing stand-up comedy.

I guess I thought it’d come easier. I thought I could just get up, be funny – but man, there is TONS of work to be done. I think the hardest thing is the writing. I just want to write down things that are funny – but, believe it or not, it’s best to write down un-funny things and work your way to why things are funny.

The act of writing seems counterintuitive – because I don’t write that close to how I talk – though, maybe I’m closer than I think. Friends often tell me when they read my blog they hear my voice saying it – so maybe it’s closer than I think.

So, looking back at the past 6 months – here are some thoughts about how far I have come and what I regret:

I’m glad I took Dean Lewis’ workshop. I’d have NEVER tried stand up if not for paying and forcing myself.

I’m so thankful for the friends I’ve made. Kim remains really dear to me and is tearing it up in Dallas. It was cool having a bunch of folks at my house every Saturday AM to work on material. While I hate mornings, I used to look forward to getting up and prepping for the onslaught of hilarity. And now, I’m slowly trying to build a group here in Springfield. Michael Brown and I are pretty tight, and it’s nice to have a comic friend who is honest and talks me out of doing crazy things, like that overly-racist Chinese food bit I contemplated trying out.

I regret not taking better advantage of Dallas when I was there. Dallas offered an opportunity to get up and on stage AT LEAST once a week. I was often too, well, lazy to go more than one night. It was just plain lazy not to take every advantage to be on stage I was offered. Now, I go up once a month.

I miss Backdoor Comedy in Dallas. I think the thing I miss the most is that Linda and the other comics didn’t put up with HACK – at all. You didn’t get away with it – plain and simple. Here, if you hack half of your open mic set, you get rewarded and declared the winner.

I have sworn off using notes! Thanks to Todd Yohn, I vowed never to use notes on stage again – and I haven’t since then.

I still need to write more. I tried some new stuff out, and have let myself ad-lib a bit more during my past few sets – and the payoff has been great. I may not have funny, funny, funny throughout the set yet, but I’m getting closer – and I’m proud of doing my own material. I’m proud of not going for the easy laugh – because hack or dropping the f-bomb is really enticing when you’re up in front of 25 uninterested people. But I’ve stuck fairly true to being real.

I’m proud that I have had a chance to open for 2 headliners. Both experiences were very positive. Todd and Mike Lukas were both very complimentary and encouraging to me.

I’m glad I haven’t given up, yet. I’m not saying I will – but it’s just frustrating to feel like you’re working hard, and not being rewarded or noticed. Coming in 3rd out of 7 comics (and 2 of them were brand new), isn’t too good for the ego. It’s a bit of a boys club here, though.

What it comes down to is that I want to be famous NOW!


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