Archive for April, 2009

100 Days

April 30, 2009

Wednesday April 29th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

Everyone in the media was yammering on today about how it’s Barack Obama’s 100th day in office. Personally I couldn’t care less. I’ve got my own problems. My feelings for politicians in general aren’t very favorable so why go off on the big cheese? Is life in our country better than it was 100 days ago? It depends on who’s asked. I’m still hanging on.

My lifestyle doesn’t change much no matter who the president is. I’m out here trying to turn a buck and survive. I’ve been able to do it so far but that’s about all I’ve been able to pull off – survival. I’ve never been able to put it over the top and build any kind of secure life. As I get older that really is starting to appeal to me but will it make me truly happy?

Of course not. Nothing can ‘make me’ truly happy. I have to make myself happy. Doing what I love to do is a great start but having to be concerned about how my bills are going to be paid is a major distraction and in fact takes away some of the joy of what I’m doing.

I kept hearing about the ‘100 days’ today and it got me thinking every time I heard it. If I were really to bust my ass and have a plan of focus and work that plan I’ll bet I’d make a ton of progress in 100 days. I guess anyone could. The question is WILL anyone do it?

Scraping along in life isn’t always pleasant but it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Money doesn’t buy anything other than freedom to make more choices. It doesn’t actually do the things it takes to make dreams come true. Most of the real fun is in the doing of all the things it takes to be successful. Money can’t buy that but it can make the journey fun.

If I’d been a rich kid I’d still have had to struggle for years to learn my craft properly. It might have meant I wouldn’t have stayed at it because hanging in there was very difficult. I didn’t always enjoy it as it happened but looking back on it staying with comedy was the best thing I have ever done with my life. I’m SO glad I did it. I don’t ever want to quit.

I went to get my new old Camry registered and that’s always a pain in the ass. At least it got done and I’m all street legal now other than the fact one of my headlights is out. Other than that it runs great now. I made an investment in the future and upgraded my situation.

Sam Walton supposedly drove the same old ratty pickup truck he had for years and I am totally not opposed to driving this tin can as long as it runs. Why not? It looks clean and it runs smoothly and that’s good enough for me. Sam Walton was thinking of other things.

I need to do that too. I think this car will be running in 100 days but what about me? I’m responsible for what goes on these next 100 days. Am I satisfied with the last 100? Nope. I did some good things but not enough for my high standards. I can do much much better.

I guess that’s my personal challenge for the next 100 days. It’s August 7th, a Friday but not any special one. It’s just a day. I can change my whole life around in these 100 days if I want to. Now the question is do I want to? I mean REALLY want to? Let’s find out.

Surviving During Construction

April 29, 2009

Tuesday April 28th, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

Things are getting hectic. I’m taking several steps backward in many areas of my life so I’ll hopefully be able to make a giant leap forward. It’s like buying a piece of land with an old rickety house on it and plowing it over and starting from scratch. Until the new house is built there’s a lot of living out of boxes and making due and that’s never comfortable.

I haven’t done many shows in the last couple of weeks and on one hand it’s a welcomed break but on the other I’m feeling very rusty and out of my groove. Comedy is a craft that needs to be practiced regularly. Like music or dancing or acting or any other skill it’s ‘use it or lose it’. I’ve always been one to use it but this is just a time when I need to lay low.

I’ve got enough work to keep me alive but that’s not what I want. I want a CAREER for a change and not just a job. I’ve been harping on that forever now but it’s true. I have had a job for years but never a career. A career would entail customers coming out to see ME. It happens occasionally but not nearly enough to affect my pay. I want to be a major draw.

Even a mediocre draw would tide me over for a while. I want to put butts in seats and if they’re there I can more than bring the goods. Jeff Foxworthy is a perfect example of how to do it right. He’s such a smart business mind and he pulled off what I envisioned since I started. I had the chance to be part of that team at one point but I was too stupid to see it.

I wasn’t ready then. I was just starting and hadn’t paid any dues or learned my craft yet. I eventually did it the hard way and learned it well but now I’m in a situation where I’m at a crossroads in my life and what should be a career but is nothing more than still a job. In a perfect world I’d be able to hop on that train bound for the big time but it doesn’t exist.

Jeff was very nice to recommend me to his management team but I still haven’t sent the package out. I was hoping to get my Craig Ferguson DVD by now and intended to have it in a slick package and send it to them but it still hasn’t aired yet for whatever reason. Part of that reason would probably be that I’m not a big name yet and that’s the circle I’m in.

How can I get known if I can’t get on TV? I have to break through at some point but it’s not how I thought it would be. I have faith I’ll be on the Late Late Show at some point but until then I’m still just another schmuck-o on the circuit trying to avoid driving a forklift.

I live in a basement and even though it’s a very nice basement that you wouldn’t have a clue was a basement if you didn’t have to walk down the stairs it’s still not what I wanted to be doing at this time in my life. I do it voluntarily because it saves money and in many ways it’s a good situation but again in a perfect world I wouldn’t be living like an insect.

I have a chance to move in with a friend of mine who just bought a house. She received some money from her grandmother and wants a roommate she can trust and isn’t a party animal. I’ve known her fifteen years and it would be a major step up living wise but again it’s way out in the sticks even farther than where I am now. I’d be living in Hooterville.
Moving isn’t exactly what I want to be doing right now but it’s coming up on two years of living where I am. I have no problems here and everyone gets along fine mostly due to the fact we never see each other. Everyone has our own schedule and I maybe cross paths once every two or three weeks for a minute or two and that’s it. It works great that way.

Another thing I’m moving back on is my car situation. I didn’t need to buy the Camry I just bought but I thought it was an upgrade even though it’s a year older than the one I’m already driving. It looks very nice and today I had it tuned up and had the brand new tires I just bought for the other one switched over. It has new brakes and the exhaust is quiet.

The mechanic at the shop I took it to said he thought it was a beautiful car and that I got a great deal on it. Even with the $800 extra I put into it plus the cost of the new tires it’s a solid car at a fair price and if I don’t wrap it around a pole or another carload of gang rats blow a red light and t-bone me I should be able to drive this one trouble free for a while.

But I don’t want to have to worry about cars anymore. I juiced up my credit card to pay for all this but I thought it was a solid investment for my future so I did it. For now it’s an unexpected expense but in the long run it hopefully will turn out to be a big money saver.

The whole sports card situation is another thing I’m doing that’s taking a step backward right now. I have thousands of cards in all conditions and in theory I can probably make a few bucks selling them but not in their current state. I have to sort them and package them and either do card shows or find someone to help me sell them on Ebay. That takes work.

Meeting up with my friend Rich last night was a smart move. He taught me some things but I’m still going to have to find a way to actually execute what he said to do. I’m not the computer whiz he is and it will be a long slow build unless someone does it for me. I have a lot of things to keep track of and now these cards are another but I like them so I did it.

In the long run I should be ok with the cards. In the short run it took out my emergency fund and now if I bust a tooth or break a leg I’m in a bad way. That’s a risk I took and it’s too late to turn back now. In theory it all sounded great. Now I’m face to face with reality.

My taxes still aren’t finished even though I did put some work in on them and they’re in a box. They’re still scattered around and not sorted so that’s another unpleasant job I need to tackle before my accountant starts to call and bug me to get it done. I need to finish it.

Everything is up in the air and unfinished and in piles. My living space looks like Oscar Madison’s room and that needs to change NOW. I don’t know if it’s my feng or my shui but something’s out of whack and I feel like I’m living in a trailer park after a tornado.

It takes a pair of bulbous gonads to rip everything up and start over again but if I don’t I will continue to get the results I was getting and I wasn’t satisfied with that. I want to take it higher and this is what I need to do to get there. It’s the longer way there but I believe it will be worth it because I’ll have done it correctly. But for now everything’s in disarray.

Back In The Card Game

April 28, 2009

Monday April 27th, 2009 – Milwaukee, WI

Usually I’m either hosting the showcase or teaching a class or both at Zanies in Chicago on Monday nights but tonight it was neither. I like hosting those shows and I like teaching too but it felt good to take a little break. I have no shortage of things to keep me occupied.

I’m trying to be smart and set myself up for the future by making good decisions now. It has boiled down to a constant issue of trying to manage my time and make the best use of every day. There’s just too much I want to do and not enough time to do it. It’s frustrating but it’s also reality so I have to pick and choose carefully what I allow myself to focus on.

Sports cards have been a notorious distraction for me but I still love them. I always have and I probably always will so I’ve decided to allow them into my life but will use them to help me where I really need it. The trick is making them profitable and productive for me.

There’s a guy in Milwaukee who used to have a card shop at one time and still sets up at shows who mentioned he wanted to sell out and move on. He’s a nice guy and we have talked about making a deal for a while now but haven’t done it because we’re both busy.

He wants to get out of it because he works a third shift job and the hours are killing him to have to be up early to set up at the card shows and the time had passed. The deal was a fair one for both parties and I didn’t think his price was outrageous but it was a hefty little chunk to be doling out for cardboard pictures of steroid users. Still, it was an opportunity.

The guy called me today and asked if I wanted to still do the deal. I thought about it and decided I wanted to do it so I went to my bank and drew out my emergency savings that is reserved for dental emergencies or a car breakdown and drove up to Milwaukee to get it.

My gut feeling told me to do this deal and I always try to listen to that little inner voice. In theory now is not the time for me to be doing this but when I got his call I had the inner feeling that said to do it so I did. I got to his house and gave him the money and we had a deal in a few minutes. He helped me load my car and I wondered why I said yes to this.

My friend Richard Caan lives in Milwaukee and he’s a full time card dealer. He sells on Ebay and has been doing it for about ten years. He’s always been very generous with what he knows and said if I wanted to learn about Ebay or sales tricks he’d be glad to help me.

I called Rich and told him what I’d done and he invited me over to his house to give me a run through on some of the basics of what to do. I was glad to learn so I headed over for my lesson. Wow, what a worthwhile trip. Rich knows is stuff and turned me on to a lot of ideas I hadn’t thought of before. He’s at a whole other level than me but I still grasped it.

He puts his time in and is very professional and up front about the way he handles all of his transactions. He has a 100% positive feedback rate and is not looking to rip off any of his customers for a quick sting. He prefers to build long time relationships and he does.
The whole process takes a lot of work and it’s not as easy as it looks. I didn’t think that it would be but seeing him go through it showed me just how difficult it would be for me to do it on my own. There are too many things involved for me to be a one man business.

Truth be told I don’t really want to be in a room all day scanning pictures and doing all it takes to make it a full time job like Rich does. I want to be part time and delegate it out to people who can do that stuff for me and pay them a commission. I have several people who I could do that with and it would be a win/win. That’s going to be how I’ll handle it.

My friend Spike Manton’s son Mickey loves cards and Spike said he and Mickey would list cards on Ebay for me if I want. I told him I need to get my investment back but when I did I’d be willing to work out a deal that would be good for both parties. I wouldn’t touch the cards and would just keep getting checks every month. They would do all the listing.

I could also work something out with my computer person Shelley and also a few other people I know who fart around with this kind of thing. What I’m looking to do is get my name out there a little and explore the possibilities of having a steady part time income.

I looked at the cards I bought and there are a lot of good ones in there that should bring back my original investment in a few months if they are broken up and listed in smaller lots. They are newer cards and I don’t have any interest at all in those but it’s exactly the kind of thing Mickey Manton would love. He and Spike can bond and I can make a buck.

Spike is willing to do it and is thrilled I put up the money to get it started. He can’t do it right now because he’s got his money tied up in dumb stuff like food and clothing and the survival of his family. He can put some time in and help sell the stuff though and also get to spend time with his son. All I’m interested in is getting my initial investment returned.

Once I do that I’ll be set. The real goal is not to sell sports cards. The real goal for me is to become known to people who would never have crossed paths with me otherwise. I am interested in learning about marketing because that will allow me to sell them on what I’d really like to sell – comedy. I will develop a good reputation and in turn win comedy fans.

Richard Caan is a very generous and giving person as I try to be as well. He knows what I am trying to do and he said he’d help me any way he could. And he will. He already has. He knows cards way better than I do and he dropped some nice inside hints on me tonight that took him years to learn. That’s exactly the kind of thing I do with my comedy classes.

I really thought about this hard the whole way back from Rich’s house. I’m going to get good at marketing because that’s what it’s about. Comedy, cards, whatever. I like the fact that sports cards bring pleasant memories to people. There is also salesmanship involved.

And the best thing I can think of is that they are relatively light weight and portable. It’s a lot easier to transport 10,000 baseball cards than it is 10,000 comic books or records or many other collectibles. This is my hobby and I enjoy it. Now I want to make it pay off.

Radio Times Two

April 27, 2009

Sunday April 26th, 2009 – Chicago, IL/Kenosha, WI

All radio all day – and all night too. Just when I thought Jerry’s Kidders were history we were called upon once again to be on with Jerry Agar on WLS. Jerry has been filling in at the station from time to time and it fit his schedule to have us on so we all gladly said yes.

It’s really fun to hang out with the guys and whether or not it ever leads to anything else doesn’t matter at all. Since we’re not doing it every week anymore it’s not a drain on time for anyone and is in fact a special occasion of sorts. We all get a chance to hang out on air at a legendary radio station but the big fun is hanging out after the show in a restaurant.

There’s a positive history with us and we’re all comfortable with each other so it makes for a relaxed fun time. There’s something about being on the air with someone that forms a bond but I can’t explain exactly what it is. I know it’s there though. Everyone feels it.

It’s not only with this group either. I feel a very strong bond with both Max and Spike from the Loop and that was several years ago now. The three of us don’t get together that often but when we do there is definitely a synergy there and we all have talked about it.

Jerry and I have been friends for many years but we’ve never had a job together. We’ve both been on each other’s shows as guests or callers on occasion but this is the first time we’ve had a regular bit. Tim Slagle and Ken Sevara are also great to work with and we’ve gelled together kind of like a band. We all know our roles and we’ve never clashed at all.

We hadn’t been on the air in a while but everything was clicking today and we all felt it. We were very loose and comfortable in the studio and the half hour zoomed by. We were in the groove as a team and when that happens it makes not getting paid worth our while.

None of us mind not getting paid but obviously we’d all love to find a way to turn all of this fun time into paid fun time. I was able to get a perk out of it today though as after our lunch Jerry and I went back to the radio station to record a half hour interview for use at a later date. I can put it up on my website or slice it up and use it as a bonus track on a CD.

If I have one thing in life it’s a lot of interesting stories. Jerry has known me for years so he asked me some questions and I answered them. It flowed really well so there shouldn’t be any problem posting it somewhere with not a lot of editing. I just thought it would be a chance for someone who might be my fan to have a little extra at some point so we did it.

After dropping Jerry off at home I drove straight to Kenosha, WI to be on WLIP for our weekly Mothership Connection show at 9pm. That’s another group of people who are fun to hang out with and that show went well too. We were all relaxed and the time flew by.

Again, nobody’s getting paid but still we all enjoy doing it. So we do. Money is nice to think about and hopefully it will start to flow soon but even if it doesn’t fun days like this are what keep everyone going. Good times with good people are what a good life make.

Wheels And Deals

April 26, 2009

Saturday April 25th, 2009 – Waukegan, IL

Cruddy weather today. April showers are supposed to bring May flowers but this kind of nastiness only brings head colds and the flu. What really rots is driving in this kind of slop because the temperature is just right so car windows get foggy and nobody can see.

Everyone is trying to get the defroster to blow the fog off the windows and when I try to do it with my sleeve it smears and makes it worse. Then if I try to open a window my arm gets soaked from rain so it’s a constant battle to keep the windows clear enough to see out of so when there is a head on collision I can see the look on the oncoming driver’s puss.

I really didn’t have to leave the house today because I had plenty to keep me busy but it didn’t stop me from taking a lap at the car auction in Waukegan. I enjoy it and I wanted a little break so I’m not going to apologize to anyone. It was fun and I ended up buying yet another Toyota Camry. I wasn’t planning on it at all but the deal came to me and I took it.

I’ve been through this scenario so many times I lost count. A nice car comes along and I see dealers bidding on it and when they stop I bid once more and get a good deal. They all know what they can retail it for so if I bid one more time that’s cheaper than I’d be able to get it for at their lot. I’ve bought a bunch of nice cars that way and today I did it yet again.

The reason I bought this one is that there are only 60,000 miles on the odometer and it’s an obvious upgrade. Someone kept it in a garage and the interior is much cleaner than the one I have now. If I have to keep one of my tin cans for a while I’d much rather have it be this new one so this was the correct decision. I‘m not looking to keep on horse trading.

The title is listed as ‘rebuilt’ and that can mean a lot of things but I’ve had that situation before and the car turned out to be a cherry. It was an older Acura Legend and I drove that thing all over North America. The only reason I got rid of it is that the computer inside of those malfunction if it sits for a few days. It became a hassle when I would fly to do gigs.

Toyota Camrys are really starting to win me over. The first one I had was a solid car but I sold it to Jim McHugh because he needed something reliable for his family and gigs too. It still purrs and looks good and Jim hasn’t had any problems at all. Then I ended up with a second one but that got wrecked in December in Milwaukee. Then I bought a third one.

That’s the one I’m driving now. I did have to stick money into it for brakes, tires, a tune up and a new radiator but it runs really smooth. The only thing that worries me is the loud crunch every time I make a left turn. I’m sure there has to be some front end work done at some point and the radio doesn’t work very well because some ass broke off my antenna.

Other than that it’s been reliable and it doesn’t look horrible but whatever luster it may have had is now long gone. It’s transportation. Period. I really don’t want to stick money into fixing the front end and the muffler is starting to dangle so that will need attention at some point as well. Plus I need to get the antenna fixed on the radio. It’s driving me nuts.
These are all little things that don’t mean a damn thing in the scheme of life so I’m not going to worry about any of it. I nabbed a (hopefully) decent new old car and I’ll do what I need to do to get it running as well as I can and then I’ll either dump the one I have now or take it over to Jerry Agar’s house and let him use it as a second car to haul kids around.

The one I bought today was $1675 plus a $200 auction fee plus a $60 paperwork fee the auction tacks on every car that’s sold. Still, for right around two grand I wound up with a nice looking car that will need more work but still end up being a lot cheaper than buying a new one or even a late model used one. This one is a ‘94 but it really looks immaculate.

I could run the one I have now through the auction and I’m sure I’d probably get around $1200-$1500 so that would bring my price down significantly but I’m not going to be in a hurry to do that. I’d much rather have a spare at Jerry’s and take my time and get it up to a level where I can depend on it. I need a reliable car and in the long run I made a good buy.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is to immediately get an oil change the day I buy anything from the auction. Unless I see a sticker on the windshield that says it was a month or less since the oil was changed I take care of it on my own. That’s smart business and I did it today. They said the transmission fluid needs changing and that’s a red flag.

If the title said ‘rebuilt’ it was probably in an accident and someone had it fixed. I know a car that old doesn’t have 60,000 miles on it so it’s anybody’s guess what the story is on it. I guess I could look it up online but now I almost don’t want to know. It looks like new and I’ll suck it up and have it fixed even if it means dropping a different tranny into it.

My credit card was down to zero so I juiced it up again but I’ll figure out what needs to be done and finish the work and start paying it down to zero again. This was a smart thing to do in the long run. I fully realize there was risk involved but I wanted to upgrade while an opportunity presented itself and when it’s all said and done it won’t cost me my shorts.

On a very positive note I got a call today from Pedro Bell. He’s the Chicago based artist who did the cover art for many of George Clinton’s Funkadelic albums and I want to hire him to do the cover art for my upcoming CD. I’d love to have him do several but for now I will focus on one and see how it goes. He has a very distinct style and his fans love him.

Most of my fans would have no idea who Pedro Bell or George Clinton are so that’s an even better reason to hire him to do it. My product will stand out and be unique in comic circles and those who are hip will think it’s neat that I hired ‘Captain Draw’ for my CD.

This doesn’t please anyone but me but that’s all I care about. I’m a huge fan of Pedro’s and of George’s and all of Funkadelic’s albums too. To have the same artist draw one up for my project makes me feel like I’ve made it. It will be something I won‘t ever forget.

It’s going to cost me a chunk of cash but like with the car I won’t worry about it. This is a once in a lifetime chance to do something I find very cool. That’s what life is all about.

Sound Decisions

April 25, 2009

Friday April 24th, 2009 – Milwaukee, WI

It’s all about taking action. That’s what I did today by driving up to Milwaukee to meet with my friend Donna who’s helping me edit my raw CD recordings. She’s really helping me because I absolutely HATE listening to myself. Hate is a very strong word and I rarely if ever use it but in this instance it fits. I couldn’t stand having to listen to hours of all me.

A lot of artists are that way I’m finding out so I’m glad it’s not only me. Donna was the person who produced Tom Green’s music CD projects and they sounded fantastic so I am thrilled she’s willing to work with me. Since Tom passed away two years ago she has not done much and this is a good way for her to get back in her own groove. She’s talented.

The best part is she’s talented in everything that I’m not. We were talking about that as we were laying out a battle plan for how to do this project right. She’s good at math and I never was. I’m good with words and she never was. She told me Tom and I are very alike in many ways and she can already see how my mind works. I’m glad SOMEBODY can.

We’ve got a lot of raw material to work with as I recorded a whole week of shows back in 2007 at Zanies in Chicago. Or was it ‘08? I don’t even remember anymore but I think it was ‘07. Either way there’s a lot of stuff there and she was having a difficult time sorting it out. She was worried that I’d be upset if she switched the order or edited out some of it.

Upset? I laughed out loud when she said that and she was totally relieved. I’m thrilled a person is willing to even consider doing it for me. She’s a fan of entertainment in general and one of mine personally so she knows my act as well as anyone. I totally trust her to be my ‘neutral ears’ and put it together so it flows well from a fan’s point of listening to it.

As far as I’m concerned I’m done with all those recordings. I entertained the audiences with it that week and they were satisfied. I laid down as many bits and variations of those bits that I could think of assuming my ex business partner would wallow through all these recordings and pull out something marketable. I have total faith Donna can do it better.

I’ll have to listen to the final cut for approval and to name the tracks but that won’t be a problem at all. The real torture for me is listening to the raw recordings and pulling it out from there. Donna will take care of that for me and we both agreed on what bits to search for so it can be stretched out into at least two if not three separate CD projects to release.

We’re going to do one first and use the money from that to pay for the next one (or two) and in the mean time keep working on other products to sell as well. Now that I’ve got an up and running website why not pack it full of as many products as I can? That’s the plan.

I’ll be learning a lot of entrepreneurial lessons in the next few months and probably the next few years. I’m willing and eager to learn and when I do succeed at something it’ll be that much sweeter when it actually hits. It’s even more fun knowing I started from scratch and built it up the hard way. Every dollar I make will be earned and that’s how I want it.

Dates In Two States

April 24, 2009

Thursday April 23rd, 2009 – Deerfield, IL/Milwaukee, WI

Lots of running around today. First it was off to see my friend Todd Hunt speak for two different groups of administrative professionals at Baxter Labs in Deerfield, IL. I had not seen Todd work for at least a couple of years and I wanted to watch and learn from him.

Todd isn’t a comedian but he does have funny lines in his presentation. He bills himself as a ‘business speaker’ and is a hybrid between a comedian and a motivational speaker. It all boils down to marketing and Todd is one of the best there is. He knows how to work it and that’s why I wanted to watch his presentation. He has everything calculated precisely.

He has gone over and over his material literally thousands of times and he practices it at every available opportunity so it’s razor sharp and totally seamless. The audience never is in on the fact that his ‘ad libs’ and ‘mistakes’ have been well rehearsed and structured.

I’ve talked about it before but Todd has probably THE best press kit and sales package I have ever seen anyone have from radio to comedy to anything else I’ve ever been around. It’s excellent because he spends time on it and knows how important that stuff really is. If you want to hire Todd to speak or check out his promo go to http://www.toddhuntspeaker.com.

From Todd’s event I went directly to Alpha Graphics in Vernon Hills to get some of my printing stuff started for Uranus Factory Outlet. Jay Bachochin owns the shop but also is a regular guest on the Mothership Connection radio show with his ghost hunting group he’s the leader of called Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators. I like to be loyal whenever I can.

Jay has done some printing for me before and I want to keep the ball rolling and build a long term relationship. My friend Melvin Powers in L.A. said he’s had the same printer in his mail order business for over forty years. He said it’s smart to pick a guy and show him loyalty so when times get tough the favors go both ways. Jay is the choice for my printer.

I showed him Todd’s great promo stuff and told him I will need a package of my own in a short time and I also wanted to get some bumper stickers printed. I’ll be doing two short print runs of 250 stickers each with two slogans. I have to start somewhere and this is it.

After meeting with Jay it was up to Milwaukee for a dinner date with the woman I have known for years. I hadn’t seen her in a while and she was looking better than ever but I’m not sure where we’re going with this. I really do enjoy her company. She’s a sweetheart.

She’s smart and funny and really good looking but I just don’t feel it clicking right now for whatever reason. She’s got a lot of things going on with her job and kids and ex who’s a nut job and that keeps her quite busy but it doesn’t feel like I have a high priority rank.

I can’t make anyone like me or love me or anything else they don’t want to do. I’m who  I am and she’s either going to take it or leave it. I’m not up for the old ‘friend’ thing right now. I’ve got plenty of those. I want a partner, but it doesn’t feel like I’m on her radar.

Solemnly Swearing

April 23, 2009

Wednesday April 22nd, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

Time to lighten up a little. I’ve been in one of my dark and brooding moods for the last couple of days and I don’t want to stay there. It’s not so much a depression funk as it is an overwhelming feeling of frustration. It feels like I’m on the wrong planet and I’ll never be able to fulfill my true potential. The good news is the only one who cares even a bit is me.

Nobody else even thinks about it. I’ll take that as a positive. The bar of accomplishment is set ridiculously low in this life so it doesn’t really matter what goals I have. I’ve already accomplished more than both my parents combined just by finishing high school. They’ve made it easy for me to out achieve them but that’s not enough. I want to be MY very best.

I look around at all the idiots sharing my ride on this planet and it makes me recall what my Grandpa used to drill into my head over and over as a kid. It didn‘t make any sense to me then but I sure can relate to it now. He said “The world is 99 percent shit. It’s your job to sift through it to see if you can find any peanuts.” Gramps had an earthy vocabulary.

So did everyone else in my childhood. My father rode with a motorcycle gang and they all swore like…well, a motorcycle gang. They dropped the ‘F’ word like a Kawasaki title and used it as a noun, verb, adverb and modifier. The only person I ever knew who could out swear the Outlaws was my grandmother. She could turn the air vivid blue in a hurry.

That’s one of the reasons I haven’t used any of that language in the time I’ve been doing this diary. My grandfather’s quote two paragraphs ago is the first time I’ve used any word stronger than damn or hell or maybe a bitch or bastard once in a while. I’m not at all upset if someone uses profanity but I didn’t want to make it a distraction with what I’m doing.

What I’m trying to do with this diary is firstly just have some daily discipline in my life. I wanted to make it a daily project and so far that’s worked out amazingly well. It’s now a regular part of my life so that part has been accomplished. The second thing I’m trying for is a daily peek into the world of entertainment so it can be studied by the up and comers.

Thirdly I wanted to hopefully gain a following of those who aren’t in any form of show business at all but wonder what it’s like. Sometimes I wonder if I’m in the business at all myself but that’s who I am and what I do. I want this to chronicle my journey through the jungle of life and entertainment and at the end maybe somebody can learn a lesson or two.

Or not. Hell, I’m just trying to survive like everyone else. I’ve got some uncommon life situations to deal with but I never thought I was the only one with problems. I want to put mine out there so they help others. Either that or I hope they’ll entertain other strugglers.

Life is exactly that too…a big old ugly struggle. It’s hilarious to watch others sweat out a solution to a problem but when we have to do it it’s not so damn funny, is it? That’s the ingredient of comedy that’s so important. It’s OTHER people’s problems. That’s where it all happens. If problems were bullets I’d have enough to sponsor the next six world wars.

A Mangy Man Fan

April 22, 2009

Tuesday April 21st, 2009 – Lake Villa, IL

I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from my friend Mark Krueger today. He’s one of my all time favorite people as is his wife Amy and he was exactly who the doctor ordered on a drizzling dreary day like today. ‘The Mangy Man’ is one of a kind. A true original.

He’s one of the funniest humans I know but he’s never done comedy on stage. He’s also a fantastic radio talent should he have chosen to do that but instead he uses his personality to sell ads for the alternative newspaper in Milwaukee. They’re very lucky to have him.

Mangy Man is a perfect example of everything I’m not. I’ve known the guy over twenty years and he just refuses to let anything bother him. I’m always sniveling about one thing or another and I admit it but not the Mange. He just keeps going and doesn’t let it eat him.

We met way back even before I worked at 93QFM. Mark already worked there and was the promotions director of all things but he had a Sunday night show where he would play import rock from all over. It was a once a week show but he was still voted the best loved personality on the station and that says a lot because in the day ‘QFM was a powerhouse.

I was there too eventually and it was full of great talents and greater people including David Lee and Tim The Rock and Roll Animal and Mark the Shark and Debbie Dalton and Downstairs Dan and John Perry and Suzi Austin. That was an all star radio lineup.

I remember bitching to him about the things at the station that were going wrong (and there were many) but he’d just shrug his shoulders and look at me and say “Well, if you don’t like it, quit.” The bastard was right. I should have quit and kept focused on comedy but I thought it would turn around. It never did. Radio is radio and he understood that.

Mark and Amy always support me when I’m performing in or near Milwaukee and they couldn’t be any nicer about it. Amy has been sick for a long time and has had a lot of ugly medical procedures to go through but neither one of them ever complains one word. Ever.

My problems are nothing compared to Amy’s medical hell and I’m embarrassed to have anything to complain about at all. Hearing from the Mangy Man cheered me up and even though he only had a few minutes for a quick lunch we had some laughs and then he went right back to selling ads for his job. A small dose of the Mangy Man lasts the whole day.

He’s a perfect example of a great spirit with natural talent who isn’t recognized for how good he really is. Not only is he funnier than most professional comedians I know he’s an excellent radio talent as well. And he plays a mean guitar and is always in a band. Or two. And he’s good at his sales job also. That’s a multi talented person if I ever heard of one.

Mark and Amy Krueger are the kind of people I really cherish. They’re both very funny and always cheer me up and I would do anything for them if they needed it. I try to be like that myself and when I see it come back it gives me hope. I’m glad I got that call today.

An Emotional Enema

April 22, 2009

Monday April 20th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

I’ve always been a freak. Even from my earliest memories, there was always everybody else and then me. One of the very first memories I have is of both my grandparents sitting me down and trying to explain to me why I was living with them and what would happen if I didn’t behave myself the way they wanted me to. It made me feel like a total outsider.

I still do. From that uncomfortable meeting until this very day I’ve had to struggle to fit in and way more often than not I ended up the lone wolf. Worse than that many times it’s been me against everyone else. At least by myself nobody’s around to create any tension.

What made me think of that is it’s April 20th – “4-20”. I assume everyone knows what it means but if not it’s a slang term dope smokers use to signify a joint hanging out of one’s mouth at the angle a clock’s hands would occupy at 4:20. That’s as simple as I can say it.

I’m sure there are all kinds of parties going on and Frito Lay probably loves it because it has to be the second biggest day for selling snack chips behind Super Bowl Sunday. I was at Zanies in Chicago tonight hosting the rising star showcase and someone mentioned that fact right at the top of the show. It got applause and the crowd knew exactly what it was.

It was an inside joke that most of the people in the room were in on. I knew what it was but I’ve never been in on it. Without sounding pompous I’ve never smoked a single joint in my life. Ever. I never had a single puff. Nor have I had a brownie. Not even a nibble.

I’ve never done a line of coke either. Really. I came of age in the ‘80s when everybody and their grandma was snorting lines off of any mirror they could find but I never ever did it even once. I wasn’t even curious about it. It’s just something that never appealed to me.

I never drank alcohol either. Not even one beer. And I grew up in Milwaukee where that statement is probably at least a misdemeanor. That never interested me either. I didn’t like the way people acted when they were drunk and I saw at an early age I didn’t want it to be me so I never started. It wasn’t a hard decision at all. What was hard was everybody else.

So many other people put such a priority on all those things that I really feel like I’m the outsider. I don’t bring it up unless it comes up but when people find out I’m not a drinker and never have been it’s usually awkward. They either try to get me to join them or worse yet offer up justification as to why they do it. I want neither. I just want to find a groove.

I don’t really care what anyone else does as long as it doesn’t hurt me and I’m certainly not trying to tell anyone else how to live their life but it does get kind of lonely when I‘m on the road after a show and everyone else is blasted but me. I never liked that feeling.

All this goes a lot deeper than a few people snickering at a pot joke in a comedy club on 4-20. That’s what makes it so maddening. It reminds me of how lost I feel in life and how cruel a joke it seems that I have fought my way through this insane world without a buzz.
Sometimes I wonder why the hell I was even born at all and why I’m still here drifting through so aimlessly and trying to survive and find myself all these years later. I thought I’d have figured it out by now or at least have a lot more concrete answers than I’ve got.

I know everyone else has problems but they’re not like mine and I have precious few to talk to when I’m feeling low. There are lots of people who’ve had drinking problems so it isn’t difficult to find an AA meeting in any city. Try to find a ‘Never Did It’ meeting. It’s not an issue that needs to be dealt with. Do I wish I drank? No. I wish I wasn’t so alone.

This is really starting to bother me as I get older. I always used to think I’d find my way eventually and everything would just work out in the end. I don’t think that anymore and I can feel myself losing my inner spark of hope that used to be all that kept me going in my very darkest times. I used to feel that there was a reason for me being here. I don’t now.

If we’re here for a purpose I have yet to find out what mine is. Try as I might to turn my life into something worthwhile and useful I feel like nobody hears my inner screams and I continue to drift down that river with no oars in my boat. It doesn’t even feel like I have a boat at this point. I can feel the water getting choppy and I can hear those rapids up ahead.

What happens then? Going over the rapids is usually a sure sign of demise and I’m fine with that. We all have to go at some point and that’s not a problem. I’m having a problem with why I had to come. What the hell made me think I needed to win that sperm race and hit that egg so fast? All it’s caused is a lifetime of frustration and it’s getting pretty stale.

I’m trying my best to stay positive but today is one of those days when I’m not thinking  Norman Vincent Peale thoughts. I’m thinking Vincent Price thoughts of how life can be a big horror movie and I’m at the end where it’s just me and the killer. I’m sick of running.

I had a younger comic at Zanies come up to me recently and say “I read your blog a lot. I like that it’s not funny.” I shot him back a scowl that made him back up and try to say it in another way but I started laughing and then he did too. I knew what he meant. I think.

After talking with him further he said he liked the fact that I wasn’t afraid to put all my innermost feelings out there for anyone to see. I feel that’s how everyone should be but it sure isn’t like that from my experience. At least I’m able to say what I think even if it has no punch lines attached. I know how to be funny when I need to be. This isn’t that time.

This is my daily dose of drainage to my mental colon. It’s an emotional enema and I am not doing it for anyone else but me while I’m doing it. The reason I put it out there is so it hopefully helps other dented cans who might have the same feelings I do. I know I’m not alone in having problems dealing with life – I just have problems not many others share.

All that being said, I feel pretty good right now. I still don’t know why I’m stuck on this insane planet surrounded by so many idiots but that’s nothing new. I’ve wondered that all along ever since I was a kid. As I get older I know it won’t be forever. I’m one day closer.