Posts Tagged ‘Uranus Factory Outlet’

Hot Fudge Hiatus

July 2, 2010

Thursday July 1st, 2010 – Stevens Point, WI

Here we go with the second half of 2010. Nobody works New Year’s Day, but I wanted to start laying a foundation for everything I want to get done in the next three months and then the next three months after that. Without a tight battle plan, all of this will fall apart.

The first thing on the docket is exercise. No matter what I do career wise, in a nutshell I need to move more and eat less. Period. And, I need to eat different things that don’t taste as good as what I’ve been eating, but won’t make a permanent home in my aorta or lower colon. Fruits, vegetables and water, get used to your new customer. Please be good to me.

I started it all off with an apple, and washed it down with a bottled water. I tried hard to imagine it as an Egg McMuffin and a Pepsi, but it didn’t work. It was an apple and water, but it felt good that I was consciously choosing to have that rather than what tastes good.

I also went back to the Gurnee Mills Mall for my first of hopefully many daily walking assignments. I like it there. The atmosphere is positive and there’s a lot of room to stretch out and lose myself in deep thought as I reflect on life. Nobody ever bothers me in there.

After my walk I went to meet up with Jerry Agar at a hotdog joint that’s about halfway between where each of us live. He’s back from Toronto for the week and we hadn’t seen each other in a while so we hung out and talked about each of our situations. I ordered the chopped salad, and Jerry laughed because we both love their chili dogs. But not today.

Jerry and his daughter Kaelin had hot fudge sundaes, and I ordered a bottled water to go with my salad. I’ve had lots of sundaes and I was fine with it, but they both raised a brow when I passed on one. I used to think life was short and to be enjoyed to the fullest. It may be true, but at this point that sundae would help to make my life shorter. Time for a break.

I then drove up to Stevens Point, WI to see my cousin Leah and her husband Rob. Their daughter Janine has been asking me to come up and visit and today was the day. I told her I was going to be busy for the next few months, so we made time to hang out for a dinner at the Golden Corral. Again, I had lots of vegetables and a water and didn’t go nuts at all.

I know it’s only one day, but I see how it works. It’s not all that hard, but it does take an effort and some discipline to choose to eat the right things, even when the other stuff is all over the place in plain site. I’ve had years of going nuts with it, now it’s time to taper off.

All the way up and back I planned and tweaked and thought of what I need to do to with these next three months. My priority is getting the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show up and ready  for October 1st at The Schauer Center in Hartford, WI. That’s the main point of my focus.

I also have Uranus Factory Outlet, comedy classes and my comedy career itself to get to as well. That’s a whole lot of projects, and any one could take my focus for three months. This is no easy task, but I took it on willingly. No excuses. Day trip over. Back to work.

Preparing To Prepare

June 18, 2010

Friday June 18th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

No gig tonight but that’s ok. I’m working tomorrow, and then the summer tumbleweeds come rolling in. July is very dry, and August is weak too. Then things pick up again in the month of September on many levels. I’ve got some comedy work, classes, a week of good networking in Las Vegas and I’ll settle in for the big ‘Schlitz Happened!’ one man show.

October is looking pretty good too. I’ve got ‘Schlitz Happened!’ booked a few places so I’ll hopefully be able to establish a little roll, and I haven’t even gotten my dates from any of my staple places like Zanies, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor and Kansas City.

I also am working on some online comedy writing classes with both Bill Gorgo and also Linda Perret and have been hired to teach comedy at one of the big community colleges in the Chicago area. Not only that, I’m looking at releasing another comedy CD October 1st.

That’s a lot to prepare for, not to mention Uranus Factory Outlet and some of the rest of the ideas that are rolling around in my head. This is the time to crank out as much as I can because I’m not getting any younger. Old age will find me long before I want it to, so this is the time to get it all done. I’m under the gun and it’s up to me to get ready on my own.

This is going to require a lot of self discipline, something I’ve not always been good at. I’m ok with working on things, but I usually like to do it how I want and when I want. It’s going to take a view of a much bigger picture to get things done on a higher level, which I really want to do. I don’t just want to drift off into the sunset. I want to have a battle plan.

Woody Allen is a perfect example of someone who just keeps working. His films might not be for a mass audience, but he keeps making them and he has enough fans that keep it economically feasible. I’ve read where he’s already sketching out the next film as he does the one at hand. He’s developed a great work ethic and his lifelong body of work is vast.

George Clinton is another example. He’s almost 70 and still continues to tour, even if it is out of financial necessity. That’s not why he does it, and that’s not why Woody does it either. They’re artists, and that’s what they do. Money is a sidelight. It’s all in the doing.

I feel that way to a certain extent, but money sure would be nice. In my opinion. George Clinton should be filthy rich, along with a lot of his cohorts. He was behind an empire of spectacular creativity that continues to shine brilliantly today. They’re not an oldies act.

What I need to do is be absolutely ready when ‘the call’ comes. What is it? When will it come? Who will be on the other end of the phone? I don’t know any of those answers, but I don’t have to. All I need to do is be ready. When I get another chance, I’ll be prepared.

I was able to do the Craig Ferguson show and not embarrass myself. That’s great. Now, it’s time to take that farther. I’ve got to be ready for another one. And another after that. If I focus on survival only, that’s all I’ll ever do. I need to create a bigger picture of success.

April Smarts Day

April 3, 2010

Thursday April 1st, 2010 – Vernon Hills, IL

April Fool’s Day is fun until about age nine, and then it gets old. Fast. It’s pretty hard to think up a really good prank that hasn‘t been done to death, but I’m sure many today were consumed with the desire to one up all their friends. Somehow, that never appealed to me.

I did wake up to a few text messages, voice and emails trying to get me to nibble, but it didn’t work. I knew what the date was before I went to bed last night so nobody put a big one over, at least on me anyway. I’m sure lots of ‘jokes’ were pulled off across the globe.

Wait a minute, does anyone else have April Fool’s Day? I’d hate to try pulling off some half baked lame stunt in Saudi Arabia and end up getting my arm cut off. I’m not sure if a laugh from my friends would be worth having to be called ‘Lefty’ for the rest of my life.

Instead of trying to pull one over on anyone else, I decided to uncover all that I’ve been pulling over on myself all these years. I made a conscious decision to make today the first day of my own personal six month reinvention plan. I know what I need to do, and there’s no way around it. The next six months are going to determine a lot for the next few years.

I need to redefine myself. Period. I need to have tangible goals with a well laid out plan as to how I can achieve them. I need to have an ambitious yet realistic schedule designed that allows me to get something done every day on each of the four main projects that I’m choosing to make my focus until October 1st. Then, I want to close the year with a tour.

I’m having hot shows now, it’s just that nobody cares other than me and the people who happen to be in the audience that particular night. Then when the show ends, so does their involvement so I’m the only one left who has any kind of emotion invested in my shows.

I’ve said it before, but it’s true: I have a job in comedy but not a career. BIG difference. I can squeak out a living, but as far as being on anyone’s map of big time comedians, I’m a grease dribble at best. It doesn’t mean I’m not competent, it just means I’m not known.

I couldn’t care less about the actual fame per se, but I do care about people who need to know me knowing who I am. I want to be known in the industry, like a Tom Dreesen for example. He’s done extremely well for himself, and everyone who’s anyone in the comic hierarchy absolutely knows who he is. He’s noticed on the street too, but he’s not Elvis.

He can have a life but also a career in show business. There are many other examples of what I’m aspiring to, but if I don’t readjust my battle plan I’m never going to get past my current lot in life, and I’m not satisfied with that. I know deep inside I can do a lot more.

Maybe it’s not in me to be ‘the next big thing’, but very few of anyone in any field gets to have that title. Steve Martin did it in comedy for a while, and he was around about the same time as Tom Dreesen started. Steve no longer does comedy. Tom is still performing today, not because he needs money but because he loves to be on stage. He has passion.

Well, me too. I’ve always loved doing shows, especially when the audience is into what I’m doing. They’d be a lot more into it if they paid top dollar and knew who I was before I walked on stage, but that also is reserved for only a precious few who manage to capture the fancy of the public in some way. Showmanship helps, but it’s all about the marketing.

My current situation is all over the place, and that needs to change. Six months can have a dramatic impact, and that’s my intention. I need to use it wisely, and that’s why I put my whole head around it today. It’s sure not going to be easy, but it’s time to shake it all up.

The main thing I need to do is make some products to sell. Farmers either grow crops or raise livestock, and then they sell it at the market. I need products to sell in more than one market, and ones that I can sell for the rest of my life. Once crops are sold, they’re gone.

The ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show about Milwaukee is a winner. I can feel it and I will keep working until it’s a viable product. I have decided to write a book of essays instead of just doing a live show and maybe trying to sell a CD or DVD only. I still want to have all that, but I think the book is the way to go so that’s what I’ll do. Now I have to make it happen.

I have some notes about what I want to include in it, but I am going to physically make myself a three ring binder and put the titles of the essays in order as I think of them and a complete list of everything else I want included, like pictures, quotes and chapter titles.

I’m going to do the same with my comedy classes. I have spent a lifetime learning what to do onstage and off, and I think I can put that down in three levels so people who want a head start can avoid the stupid mistakes I made that weren’t necessary. I also have a basic outline for that sketched out, but now I want to record it and put it up on a website to sell.

Once I crank these two projects out, I won’t have to worry about doing it again. They’ll be finished and on the shelf so I can go do other things that make even more money. I can tour if I want, work on Uranus Factory Outlet, or maybe even have a family at some point and feel like I belong on this planet. Right now, struggling to survive is just not cutting it.

I’ll still have the rigors of daily life to deal with, but knowing I have a plan in place that includes a deadline really helps put it all into perspective. If I have no deadline, I’ll never get anything done. I’ll find a way to blow it off, let it rot or worse yet not even start at all.

That’s not acceptable to me, and I am going to DO this and do it right. I have the vision in my head and I’m not going to let anyone else pee in my pool. I’m going to shut myself off from the world and give birth to two things that are on different sides of the spectrum so they can give me streams of income from different sources. I think it’s smart business.

I’ve also got a CD coming out very soon. I have enough in the can to have another one out by October 1st, and that’s the third of my four goals. The fourth is to get myself going in my personal life and get healthy in all ways from physical to mental to spiritual to also unloading anything extra out of my life I’m not using. Six months of work starts today.

Radio Double Duty

March 25, 2010

Wednesday March 24th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI/Kenosha, WI

Up to Milwaukee today to be on The D-List on ESPN 540 with Drew and Dan. I hadn’t been on in a while and it’s always nice to hang out on the air. I never get sick of it. I guess I’m a radio whore, but is that a bad thing? If I can make people laugh, it’s what I live for.

I still think deep down there’s room for a comedy show about sports and I’d love to get a chance to pull it off. I think it should be both a live standup show and on the air like the Jerry’s Kidders segment. There are plenty of sports stories every week that could be made fun of, and people who are sports fans are passionate about it. We follow it all our lives.

I’ve got other projects in font of that one so even if it is a killer idea, it’ll probably have to be done by someone else because I have my hands full doing what I’m already doing. If I go off in yet another direction, I doubt if I’ll get anything done. Ever. First things first.

I stopped on the way down from Milwaukee and visited the WLIP studios to talk about the Mothership Connection show with John Perry. He’s the operations manager and also the one who asked me to do the show. By all accounts it’s going very well, and I asked to have a fourth hour added as soon as possible. We’re starting to feel cramped with three.

What a splendid problem to have, not enough air time to squeeze everything in! Growth brings more responsibility with it, but I think we’ll be fine. We were nervous about going to three hours, and that was no big deal after one week. Four hours is a lot different. It’s a jump the size of going from feature to headliner in comedy. Now we’re with the big boys.

Joey O’Shey knows some people who have syndication connections and Kipper McGee has been working with FM talk stations so that’s the next step. I need to get my chops for a four hour show rather than three, and then start sending out recordings of it to get hired.

WLIP is fun, but we could use a bigger studio for all the guests and drop bys we have in on a regular basis. I’d also like a chance to be on the AM station in Waukegan, IL at some point, WKRS. It’s the same company but I’m not sure what’s going on over there now.

Right now, I’m delighted we got bumped up to four hours starting this week. That’s the first step, and all I had to do was ask for it. Next comes the website reboot and start to put podcasts up on it and develop fans. We’ve got a few scattered all over North America but I want to really make it grow exponentially. Part of it is marketing, but only about 98%.

I sent out emails to the other people who’ve ever been on the show and told them what I wanted to do and that they were all invited on the trip. This is one thing I don’t feel badly about at all. Who consciously wants to be The King of Uranus? Nobody. This gig is mine.

ESPN 540 was fun, and I’ll go as long as they’ll have me. WLIP was business. If I don’t keep the show progressing, there’s no reason to keep doing it. I think with just a few solid ideas we can really take the show to a higher level. I want money coming out of Uranus.

It’s also my brother Larry’s 49th birthday. He hasn’t talked to me in years, but not nearly as long as my sister Tammy. That icy wall is celebrating 17 years pretty soon and has not shown any signs of crumbling. I’ll give her credit, she sure knows how to hold a grudge.

I think all of this is stupid, but I have to look inward to find out why it’s happening. I’ve got two full siblings and a half brother, and none of them will talk to me. Silence. They’re obviously angry about something, even though I’ve tried patching things up for as long as I can remember. I’ve also reached out to my nieces and nephews. They blow me off too.

In no way do I think I’m perfect or better than any of them, and in fact that’s why I want to make peace. We all came up in an insane environment that no human child should ever have to endure, and as adults we should have the opportunity to heal. I was very angry for a lot of years, and it bled over into all facets of my life including comedy. It was a mess.

It really bothered me and I never thought I was ready to raise my own family because of all the issues I had with the one I was born into. I’m sure many people do exactly that and start the horrific cycle all over again. That was the last thing I wanted to do, and I worked a lot of things out over the years on my own, and with the help of others. Life is difficult.

Now is the best time of my life by far. I’m able to enjoy things as they come and I’m in a very laid back easygoing mindset. I still flare up once in a while, but not even close to a level I used to live with daily before. Maybe part of that comes from aging, and if it does, great! I’m glad to get older. Maybe I can finish my life strong rather than burn out early.

I know there are other siblings who haven’t spoken in years, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. My wacky Aunt Charlene died a few years ago, and she hadn’t spoken to her sister in about 25 years. My cousin Brett hadn’t talked to his mother in a few years either and when she died he called his aunt to tell her that her sister died. They had a nice talk.

Charlene’s nickname was ‘Mack’. I never did find out why everyone called her that, but everyone did. Me too. ‘Auntie Mack’ was what I remember calling her as a kid, and I saw then she was off her rocker. She clashed with everyone in the family and when she finally did die, nobody missed her. Like my father, there weren’t enough people for a funeral.

Maybe I’m the Auntie Mack of my siblings. They all think I’m the one off my rocker so they just ignore me and think I’ll go away. We’ll all go away at some point, but I wish we could at least see each other one more time and look each other in the eye and let it all go.

I’ve never denied I’m crazy, but crazy doesn’t mean insane and it doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings either. I’m unorthodox in many ways to say the least, but I’ve never tried to hurt anyone. I said some very stupid things I’m very sorry I said, but that was years ago.

This really is the best time in my life. I’m doing radio shows and comedy and planning all kinds of fun stuff like comedy classes and Uranus Factory Outlet and thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people enjoy my work. I wish the family situation would heal.

Living A King’s Life

March 20, 2010

Friday March 19th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

If nothing else, at least I’ve got variety in my life. I’ve got all these projects going on in all different directions, but I enjoy every one of them immensely. The struggle to manage it all will probably continue for the rest of my life, but it’s better than being bored to tears.

I was watching one of those “Lockup” inside prison shows on MSNBC tonight and that made me feel a whole lot better about my life. I saw some guy with forty years to serve go nuts and plug the toilet in his cell so it flooded the entire floor, and then he was extracted violently with tear gas by a bunch of guards in riot gear. It made my life feel like a king‘s.

In many ways, it totally is. For all the things that I haven’t been able to control, comedy is one that I could. And I did. I never stopped working and improving and no matter what happens, nobody can ever take that away from me. There’s such an exhilarating feeling of accomplishment that goes with it, I can’t put it into words. It’s taken a lifetime to achieve.

I’ll never be totally satisfied, and that’s a good thing. It’ll always keep me working, but I love the process so I’m fine with it. It’s who I am and what I do. I look forward to being creative, and finding solutions to my problems, and I’m in an excellent groove right now.

I’ve had so many ups and downs over the years that sometimes I lose track of important things, but right now I have razor sharp perspective for some reason. I’m seeing things on a level I’ve rarely seen them, and it excites me. I suppose I could have ended up in prison at some point, and nothing guarantees I still won’t, but right now I’d be able to handle it.

Why do I feel this positive and confident? Is it the manic part of manic depression? Am I seeing life in a new light as I get older? Have I totally flipped like an omelet and am in a delusional self induced hypno-funk of deceit? Whatever it is, give me this vision forever.

I feel totally at home in my own skin right now. Warts and all, I see who I am and know I don’t mean half a chipmunk turd in the giant zoo of life. Nothing matters except making myself happy, and I’ve found what does that – making others happy by entertaining them.

That sounds corny, but it’s absolutely true. I love to create and doing that correctly takes constant learning and growth. It also occupies my time, but in a good way. The days go by quickly, but when they’re over and I’ve put in my time doing what I love, I feel satisfied.

That’s what I did today. I drove up to Milwaukee to meet with Richard Halasz about the ‘Schlitz Happened’ show. I feel a nice synergy with him and we brainstormed about some things we can do to make the show better. After that I went to meet with Donna Gurda for more of the same. She could help tremendously on this project, and I think she’ll do that.

I’ve still got Uranus Factory Outlet on the docket, as well as comedy classes, two radio projects, a new comedy CD just days away and I have a seminar tomorrow in downtown Chicago that talks about reinvention. Something tells me to attend, so I will. It can’t hurt.

Creative Connections

February 20, 2010

Friday February 19th, 2010 – Frankfort, IL

I put 350 miles on my car today and didn’t leave the Chicago area. I didn’t plan on that, it just worked out that way. The first stop was lunch with my friend Dave Rudolf, one of my favorite people ever. He lives in Park Forest, IL, which is about 80 miles south of me.

It’s much closer for me to drive to Milwaukee than it is the south side of Chicago, plus there’s always the added torture of getting through the city. If I go through downtown it’s usually a traffic nightmare, and taking the I-294 bypass involves tolls I can’t stand paying.

I was booked tonight at CD&ME which is in Frankfort, IL. That’s not far from Dave so I thought I’d combine the drives. Dave is the greatest. I can’t begin to tell it with a couple of sentences, so check out his website. http://www.daverudolf.com. He’s a musician, comedian, cancer survivor and fantastic entertainer all around. Plus, he’s a super human being also.

I worked with Dave over 20 years ago at Snickerz Comedy Bar in Ft. Wayne, IN and we have stayed in contact since. He does a charity show every Christmas and is a giving soul type just as I try to be. The guy is always working on something fun and never gives up.

I’ve lost count on the number of CD projects he’s done, but I think it’s 24 now. He said he’s working on three more, and a couple of books too. Oh, and a play as well. He has his own recording studio in his house, and he puts it to good use. I love his creative energy.

He’s always been a big fan and supporter of mine too, and I’m very flattered by that. It’s always fun for me to hang out with creative types and exchange ideas and that’s what was planned for today. Like everyone else, Dave has been hit by the economy and has to think of new sources of income. Rather than complain about it he’s coming up with new ideas.

Dave has taught workshops on the business part of music and we’ve talked about trying to put together something for entertainers in general. Music and comedy and most genres of entertainment have similar business models, at least at the beginning and most newbies have NO clue as to how to get started. They’re left to their own mistakes, and that stinks.

Dave asked for some ideas for things he was working on and gave me some great input for the Uranus Factory Outlet project. He has a few connections he recommended and we had a very productive lunch. Dave is the kind of mind I want to have around my projects.

I was going to hang out on the south side until show time, but I received a call from my t-shirt guy Mark in Antioch, IL telling me my ‘T E I A M’ shirts were ready. I could have waited another day, but I decided to drive back north and pick them up. It was sunny and traffic was moving and I know it was a long drive but I didn’t care. I was in an up mood.

The shirts look really good, and Mark is proving to be very easy to deal with. He gets it. I drove back south to get to the show by 8pm, and it was a really nice audience and we all had a great time. I don’t mind driving if it has a payoff, and today was worth every mile.

Dogging My Walks

February 3, 2010

Tuesday February 2nd, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

I have no comedy shows booked for this week, but that doesn’t mean I have a week off. Not by a long shot. I am up to my Adam’s apple in everything and anything that needs to be done and this is the time to kick it in the aspirations and get it going. Time for action.

I’m proud of myself for finally getting back into the walking mode. I took one lap in the Gurnee Mills Mall and thought my heart was going to explode. It’s amazing how difficult it is to get a groove going and build up a tolerance and then how easy it is to lose it again.

It seems like I’ve taken countless laps in that mall, and I have, but today it felt like none of them were in this lifetime and I am starting ALL over again. Maybe I am. Still, I know I need to do it so every day I get out there and make an effort is a positive. If I do have the final grabber and keel over, I won’t be angry. At least I was making an effort to exercise.

One day does not an effort make however. I need to do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that. Then three more days will make a week. Then the next day is the start of a new one. Four weeks become a month, twelve months become a year, then it evolves into a lifetime. None of that can happen without the first day, and that was today.

I’ve had countless first days in the past. I’m not going to get too excited. The real key is being consistent for the rest of the year. January slipped by with little warning and I didn’t walk nearly as much as I need to. It’s cruel. Life goes fast, and I need to make time for the things like this that aren’t necessarily fun. But, heart bypass surgery seems even less fun.

I tied up a mess o’ loose ends today. I finally finished the book “Tangled Ropes”, about professional wrestler Superstar Billy Graham. That guy was a master showman but he had a huge price to pay by taking steroids and ruining his health. It was a fascinating book and I gained a lot of insight from re-reading it. Entertainment is a brutal business on all levels.

I’m also devouring the in depth CD interviews with the comedian masters I purchased from Larry Wilde. I’ve gone through all twelve of them at least once, and now I’ll listen a second time and glean the nuggets and make notes. They’re all packed with information a fellow performer can use, no matter what the level of expertise. I learned from each one.

I put a little dent in my email pile today and also made some phone calls I’ve fallen way behind on lately. I’m not going to catch up in one day, but at least I made some effort so it doesn’t hover over me like a thunder cloud. I’m doing what I can, and that’s all I can do.

Another thing that’s been bothering me is Uranus Factory Outlet. I needed to look over about 1000 fonts my web guy Mark sent me and pick one out to get started. I did pick one previously, but that one doesn’t show up well. The ‘U’ in Uranus looks just like a ‘V’. To really make this work, everything has to be very simple and easy to navigate. I’m trying to attract the masses with this, and for now I need to stay away from anything too confusing, complicated or hip. Inside jokes are cool, but I need this to be a hit with a mass audience.

Checkups And Hookups

February 3, 2010

Monday February 1st, 2010 – Chicago, IL

I was all set to get back out and start exercising today when I got a call reminding me of a dental appointment I made six months ago. It’s time for a cleaning and my dentist said I need to come in every six months to make sure I don’t have to have any more root canals.

I’m all for that. I think I have the price of a brand new car in my mouth in what I had to put out of pocket for my dental nightmares the last couple of years. I had a nice little wad o’ cash stashed until everything came crumbling down. That was one of the things I blew it on, but what were my choices? I was in so much pain I had to get it done. That‘s life.

Everyone at my dentist’s office is Russian, including he and his wife. They’re very nice people and do impeccable work, but the sympathy/pain factor from them is nonexistent. It probably reflects how and where they grew up, but they have the bedside manner of Josef Mengele when they’re working. They’re there to get the job done, not to spread comfort.

My cleaning today was as painful as some of the cavities I’ve had filled. They poked for way too long in my opinion, and way too deep too. A few times I’d let out an ‘AH!’ when the lady cleaning my teeth hit a tender spot, but she would say ‘Shhhh’ like it didn’t hurt.

The good news was I had no cavities this time, but I’m surprised I have any teeth in my head at all that aren’t filled already. One thing I wasn’t blessed with is strong dental genes and at this point I’m thankful for any teeth I do have left. I’m careful every time I bite into anything, and at some point I’m sure I’ll have to go back there for more expensive work.

My whole mouth was aching as I left the dental office, but at least my bill didn’t have a comma in it like it usually does. I counted my blessings and got in my car and drove south to Chicago to buy Bill Gorgo his belated birthday dinner. At least he asked for soft pasta.

He’s always invited me over for some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten on Christmases, so the least I could do was buy him one for his birthday. Bill helps me a lot with comedy classes and is a very funny comedian in his own right. We always have a lot to talk about.

We’ve wanted to expand the teaching we do to include comedy writing exclusively and we talked about how we can make that happen. This is another project that will take work but will we worthwhile. There are a lot of people who are interested in just being writers.

Bill is the guy I can delegate things to for comedy classes. Jim McHugh is my go to guy for Uranus Factory Outlet right now. He’s been great in prodding me in a good way to get the project going and his brother in law Mark Huelskamp is going to be my web designer.

Joey Oshey is emerging as my Mothership Connection radio go to guy. He’s been really helpful getting guests for the show and is fitting in well. I need to delegate with all of my various projects and now I’m finally getting smart and lining up quality people in whom I can depend on to help me get things done right. Why did it take so long to figure this out?

Goodbye January

February 1, 2010

Sunday January 31st, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

What happened to the new year we just started? It seems like just last week we were all jazzed up about new beginnings and wiping the slate clean and everybody was optimistic about everything. We were all going to eat better and exercise and save money and begin living our dreams and nothing and nobody was going to stop us. So who did? Ourselves.

Maybe I can’t speak for everyone else, but I sure can speak for me. I have been halfway decent about doing SOME of the things I’ve wanted to do, but I’m far from satisfied as to what I want to be doing with my life as a whole. I’ve fallen short of my new year’s goals.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done that, and it’s not the first time I’ve been disappointed. Maybe my standards are too high to achieve realistically, but I’m sure not going to lower them any time soon. If anything, I’ll bump them up even higher. I don’t want second best.

I’ve done some good things in this first month of 2010, but I’ve also let some things fall through the cracks. I suppose I could beat myself up for the things I blew, but they’re still going to be blown. I could also bask in the things I did well, but I still have holes to fill.

The smart thing is to do both. Acknowledge the things I did correctly first, then evaluate what I missed and make plans to improve. Knowing me, I need to start writing everything down in order so I’ll have a plan of action right in front of my face at all times. I need that so I can have a constant reminder what I need to be doing. I have a tendency to fragment.

The highlight of this whole month has been my comedy work onstage. From the shows in Eau Claire, WI on New Year’s Eve to the hot show at The Schauer Center in Hartford, WI with Steve DeClark to the club weeks at Riddles in Alsip, IL and Zanies in St. Charles at the Pheasant Run Resort, it’s been a fantastic month. I’ve been happy with my effort.

I also got a chance to be in the play “You’re On The Air” with Jerry’s Kidders too. That was a positive on many levels. One, it was just plain fun. Also, we brought an idea to life from just a bunch of people sitting around brainstorming to an actual live performance at a legitimate theater. That was a huge step, and it felt great to see it develop from thin air.

I did make steps to get Uranus Factory Outlet up and running by meeting with web guy Mark Huelskamp, and that’s coming along as we speak. I saw his rough draft and it’s not exactly what I want, but that’s the process. My other guy Brian did the same thing, and it isn’t anyone’s fault. I need to learn to communicate how I want it to look. It’ll get done.

That’s about all that I really did well this month. I’ve been running all over the place in a tizzy trying to show up for work, and everything else has fallen by the wayside. My life and everything in it looks like Haiti, but at least they have an excuse. I had no earthquake to put me in this situation, I did it myself. I’ve been so busy chasing around that all of my maintenance chores have fallen way behind. Emails are piled up worse than ever, as are a bunch of phone calls I need to return. I have no real schedule as to when to do that either.

That’s why it can tend to get so frustrating. I’ve been so busy with doing everything else that this stuff piles up. The more I look at it the more it frustrates me, but then I’ll have to leave for a gig or run an errand and it goes even longer. I need to find a way to get better.

Another thing that has fallen off the truck is my feeble attempt at daily exercise. Usually it consisted of a lap or two or sometimes even three through the Gurnee Mills Mall, and I have to say it felt really great when I was in a semi regular groove with it. I start and stop and start again and stop again and then it’s like I never started. That’s how it feels now.

My diet has been pretty bad too. I started out rather strong, but it’s a month later and it’s all over the place again. Whatever plan I did have is gone, and I feel sluggish and way out of anything even close to ‘shape’. Again, that takes any self esteem and kicks it in the ass.

There are a lot more things not up to speed in my life than are, at least how I see it. That makes it difficult to get into any kind of a positive groove. Momentum can work for good if things are going that way, but right now I don’t feel it at all. I feel like I’m wandering.

January is now gone, and it wasn’t everything I wanted it to be. It went way to fast and I pissed some of it away wasting time. I’ll never get that time back, and I can either make it motivate me to make February better or let it smother me and squelch any future dreams.

February is the shortest month, and my birthday month is after that. My birthday is only six weeks away, and if I keep up my current strategy I’ll be very depressed and hollow on that day, as nothing will have gotten done between now and then. I really don’t want that.

So what can I do to make this next six weeks my own personal boot camp? First, I need a plan of action. What’s important? At first thought, it’s balance. I have so many things to work on, I really don’t know where to start. I had some great shows in January, but I have a pretty empty calendar in February by comparison. I have a few bookings, but not many.

I’ll take that as a positive. The bookings I do have will pay my rent and gas, and if I can get myself in motion I can make some dents in what I’ve been letting get away lately. I’ve been putting this all off too long, and it’s time to get to work. No excuses, I’m in a slump.

First and foremost, I want to exercise every day in February. Period. I enjoy taking laps in the mall like an old fart, partly because I’m becoming an old fart. If I’m lucky, I’ll live to really be one. If I keep eating lard, sugar and grease, my heart will pop before Easter.

Second, I need to make time to clean out my paperwork, phone messages, emails, taxes, bookings, website, clutter and anything else that is distracting me. I have six weeks to get ready for my birthday and a truly happy one will be if I can get myself back to square one.

Can I do it? Yes, I probably can. That’s not the question. It’s WILL I do it? I wish I had a way to guarantee that one. I intended to get a lot more done in January than I did, but all bets are now off. I blew it, or at least part of it. February is now here. Time to look ahead.

Back To The Trenches

January 19, 2010

Monday January 18th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

Today the harsh reality sank in that I’d left a lot of things undone as I prepared to do the stage play last weekend, and now I’ve got an intimidating mountain of work to do to get it back down to a manageable level. I put everything I had into the play and now it‘s over. If it paid at least a little I wouldn‘t be concerned, but everything we made went to expenses.

I knew it would be a building process going in, but it took even more of an effort to pull this off than I thought, and now everything else is in disarray. I haven’t made any booking inquiries in way too long, and I also had intended to start the process of printing my CD.

The master is finally done, but it’s still sitting around because I haven’t been able to put any time into it to get the cover and liner notes finished and get them actually printed. I’m going to use my friend Greg Phelps in Indianapolis and he’s been extremely patient but it needs to get DONE. I’ve wasted a ton of opportunities to sell them and that’s not good.

I also hope to get a shopping cart on my website so I can sell them there too. That could and should have been done a long time ago, but it wasn’t. I blame myself. There’s only so much time in a day and so much any one person can do, and I’ve fallen behind on a lot of things I assumed I’d have been able to finish by now. I’m ashamed and embarrassed by it.

This is why having a plan with goals is so important. Making things happen in steps is a great way to avoid getting too far off track, and that’s where I’m headed right now. I have to be more careful in where I focus all my energy and at least back myself up a little bit.

Weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly goals and longer should be in place so I can handle a detour like this play once in a while and not get as wiped out as this has done. I have over 600 emails I’ve fallen behind and haven’t been putting in my time reading like I intended.

I’ve been exercising semi regularly, but that’s fallen off for the weekend as I got myself all wrapped up in the play. None of this is anything I’m proud of, but it’s how it’s worked out so I’m behind honest with myself. The cost of getting this play up and running was an enormous one. Even if it wasn’t an outlay of cash, it sure came in and took over my life.

Now it’s gone, at least for a while. I have some work this week and next, and then it’s a new month already. I have to get myself back on track for comedy bookings and also start working on my one man Milwaukee show. That’s something I can control and I really am excited to get that going. I see exactly what I want to do, now I have to execute that plan.

Uranus Factory Outlet needs to become reality as does the next level of comedy classes. I love all these projects, but time management is the old nemesis of the new year. It’s still a battle to find time to do all the things I need and want to do. I’m stretching it pretty thin.

Tonight I was back at Zanies in Chicago hosting the Rising Star Showcase. It was good to get back on stage doing standup again. I’ve got a lot of work to do, time to get started.