One Month At A Time

Kilt Run update

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Training for the Celtic Calling’s Kilt Run has been a little slow –slow enough that I figure I’ll be taking the two-mile Kilt Walk option, which may probably include some light Kilt jogging.

I’m a little disappointed, but the Kilt Run was supposed to be the first step toward the Spartan Race coming up in August –and I cannot complete a full mile without stopping.

spartan

Getting your running legs back takes longer when you’re 46 instead of 15 maybe. Also, while I was making some progress the first couple of weeks, I slacked off last week.

I just didn’t get out on the practice field and run laps.

ymca-field
A safe place to go where the other runners won’t laugh at you.

I’ll get back to it this week, which probably won’t help much for Saturday’s run, but this is all a process. I get that.

My time is limited.

I now have just six months to get myself up to running 14 miles and capable of leaping over fire or fighting dinosaurs or whatever it is they’re putting out there for the Spartan Race.

barney-cake-with-photo-3_enl
I have no idea how you train to deal with this.

I haven’t looked too deeply. Why spoil the surprise?

In the meantime, I’ve subscribed to an email newsletter that’s supposed to provide me with workout tips and things to help me prepare.

I haven’t actually opened in any of these emails, but it’s a process, right? One step at a time.

Celtic Movies #2: Rob Roy

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Through the month of February, I’m studying (celebrating) all things Celtic (mostly, Scottish) and have been watching films related to Scotland (sort of).

My second film was “Rob Roy” with Qui-Gon Ginn and that lady who escaped from off the set of “American Horror Story.”

rob-royReleased in 1995 (near the same time as “Braveheart”), the film was more mining of Scottish history, this time about Rob Roy MacGregor, who gets tangled up in debt over some cows and Tim Roth in drag, which was totally cool in the 1700s.

It even wastes the usually very decent John Hurt (Still awesome in “Alien” and as Caligula in “I, Claudius”), who tends to elevate whatever crap thing he’s signed on for (Does anyone remember “King Ralph?”)

Ugh…I hated this movie.

To me, it was like the worst parts of “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and something the BBC abandoned to spend on “Dr. Who” episodes instead.

Lord, this thing dragged and within 30 minutes, I wasn’t particularly interested in what happened to the MacGregors, Lord Montrose, Archibald Cunningham or the whole of Scotland –though I did see the point of those weird sashes that come with some kilts (SPOILER: They can be used as a kind of snuggie).

Based on material gleaned from Wikipedia, “Rob Roy” was a much more true-to-history tale than “Braveheart,” but that’s not saying much. Episodes of “Quantum Leap” were more truthful to history, even if you forgot about the invisible guy in the bad suits wandering around.

quantum72
I’ve seen the future and it works…

 

For me, the only bright spot was the hope that after Roth and Eric Stolz, a few more actors from “Pulp Fiction” to show up, waving swords and promising to go medieval and someone’s butt, but alas no John Travolta and no Samuel L. Jackson.

samuel-l-jackson
There really isn’t a movie, Samuel Jackson doesn’t improve.

Anyway, I muscled through “Rob Roy” for another hour, but realized it wasn’t getting any better. So, I quit and watched an episode of “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” which has nothing to do with Scotland, though I suspect Neil Patrick Harris has probably vacationed there.

Back to the library for me.

Celtic movies: #1 “Braveheart”

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Over the next couple of weeks, while I’m trying to immerse myself in all things Celtic (mostly Scottish), I’ll be watching whatever Scottish-related films I can get my hands on.

braveheart-poster
You may take our lives, but you will never figure out how to do our accents!

The first was a re-watching of “Braveheart,” the 1995 film that kind of made Mel Gibson more than your basic action star. The movie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won five, including best picture and best director.

Based very loosely on the legend of Scottish bada$$ William Wallace, who raised an army and fought the English, the film was wildly controversial in Scotland for it’s mendacious mangling of history for the sake of cinema.

Also, nobody liked Mel’s accent, which does tend to slip in and out, but in all fairness, he’s an American from Australia trying to sound like a Scotsman. He was doomed from the start.

Still, horrible abuse of Scottish history or not, Scottish tourism embraced the film with both arms for a while, offered tours and there was even a statue erected somewhere that looked a lot like Mel Gibson.

The locals hated it, but people kept spending money.

In looking at the film all over, I was reminded that Mel Gibson has a tendency toward gore that almost turns comic. Fights in the film often go well over the top with a variety of impalings, limbs being lopped off and gallons of blood flowing in every direction.

Even with some betrayals on the side of the Scottish cause, the film scans as very black and white. The English are universally horrible. The Scottish commoners are all noble and earnest, even if their leaders are kind of slimy opportunists.

I’m not fond of the characterization of King Edward’s son, who is clearly portrayed as effeminate, craven and gay for the sake of contrasting him with his severe, alpha male father and giving the audience another reason to dislike him –but blockbuster films of the time, of which this one was, tended to paint in broad, dumb strokes.

Also, it’s not a true to the man. According to history, the guy with the boyfriend who gets tossed out a window (SPOILER) had five kids by two women, which doesn’t absolutely say he wasn’t gay, but might be evidence that he didn’t loathe the company of women.

Still, overall, “Braveheart” is a good action epic that has held up fairly well over the last 20 years, even if Gibson’s career hasn’t. It’s more fun than pretty much everything Michael Bay ever released, even if the film isn’t as accurate as an episode of “Drunk History.”

“Braveheart” looks great, has all the excitement of a big, popcorn-munching film and has some heart.

I liked it.

February: Spartan Training

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I did my first bit of running in preparation for the Spartan Race this week. On the advise of my father, a retired cross country and track coach, I decided to run on gentle terrain as opposed to pavement.

I’m currently around 235 pounds, which is heavy for any runner on two legs.

The weight is going to have to come way down if I want to survive even just the training –and the sooner, the better, really.

I’m adjusting my diet as best I can –for me, this mostly means laying off the bread, veggie burgers and Fritos.

are-fritos-vegan
My love for these corn chips cannot be overstated.

For my first day of training, I opted to run on the soccer field at the YMCA in Charleston. With it being winter and a Sunday, no one was using it. The sky was bright, but it was was a little cold. Even the clutch of surly teenagers I saw blowing off their afternoon by swearing at each other and making out with their girlfriends stayed close to the building rather than sneak off to the relative seclusion of the practice field.

ymca-field
A nice, dull place for a run. Perfect and flat.

This suited me fine. I didn’t really want a lot of company and I expected my first outing to be kind of sad. The last thing my ego needed was a group of 15-year-olds laughing at me.

I got enough of that when I was 15.

While dodging deer poop (the Y has the same problem I have at my house), I managed to put in 12 laps or around 30 minutes of exercise. I ran the first two laps then alternated between walking and running laps.

I’m not a hundred percent sure how long all of that was, but at a guess, probably somewhere between a mile and a mile and a half.

I wheezed like a two pack a day smoker and threw up at my car when I finished for the day, but it happened. I started.

I came back for a second run Monday morning, after my usual workout inside the Y. I did about eight laps on the practice field, but ran about 2/3. I’d have done more, but I was starting to feel weak.

Breakfast had been a vegan protein shake and some coffee a couple of hours before.

My plan is to just do this over and over for a while –run laps around the soccer field and then eventually work up to another course. Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll try running along the river.

Some friends have suggested I should find a trainer or join Crossfit, but there really isn’t a budget for that and it’s probably too soon.

What I can do now is get my running up to speed –shoot for steady gains. There’s no point really thinking about how I’m going to jump over fiery pits, dodge vampire bats or crawl under barbed wire if I can’t physically handle 12 to 14 miles of just running.

Besides, the hope is that the years of strength training will count for something. It’s a hope. I have a long way to go.

spartan

February: Secret Stuff

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When I started the second season of “One Month at a Time” I felt like I needed an a new theme (that’s the whole fighting thing, which isn’t just fighting with your fists) and I wanted to do a couple of things that might actually take longer than a month.

The idea for my first planned big challenge/adventure sort of showed up while I was looking at stuff related to my February project (for those of you who haven’t guessed, I’m studying up on all things Celtic) I found the Celtic Calling’s Kilt Run. I thought, “Well, that sounds like a bad idea and not something I want to do. I should totally do that.”

This is how my process works more times than not.

Yes, this is a little self-destructive.

Anyway, while considering how best to proceed with a 5K race (I don’t really run), I got my first big project –and it’s going to be a lot to learn about. Hoo-boy and I have a long way to go.

I could be all coy and try to tease this, but jeez… nobody is really reading this blog anyway. So, it’s like a confessional thing.

In August, I will be participating in the Spartan Run at Summit Bechtel Reserve.

spartan

The plan is for me to run the Super Beast race, which is described as 12 to 14 miles and involves a bunch of obstacles.

This may end badly.
I don’t really jump. This may end badly.

I’m registered, insured and committed to doing this.

What I am not is ready to compete. I’m in no kind of physical shape to do this race. After my mini-triathlon training in July, I slacked off the running, swimming and biking. My season was done, but in order to do this I’ve got to get into crazy shape.

So, this is my big project for the next six months.

barbed-wire
I have never considered crawling through barbed wire as recreational.

One of my big projects, anyway.

Improv: Getting to Know You -Craig Snider

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This is another of The Fearless Fools. There are still a couple left in the box. We’ll finish these off before we stretch into the new month of stuff.

 

Name: Craig Snider

Age: 36

Hometown: Volga, WV

Occupation: Receptionist/writer/editor/TBD

craig
Craig is to the left of the creature in red that will haunt your dreams.

 

What’s your life like outside of comedy?

I spend most of my time either reading, writing, watching television, or quietly ruminating on life’s mysteries, or as a friend of mine calls his process, “have a Big Think.”

 

How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?

My friend and mentor, Steve Goff told me he was going to start doing improv workshops, and asked if I’d help. I had always loved Whose Line, so I was eager to assist. After several of his workshops were a success, he said he had been approached to put together a team, and asked if I’d help with auditions. I later learned I had made the team.

 

What was your first workshop or show like?

Our first Fools show left a huge impression on me. I have never been a performer, unless you count class clown, but being on stage, essentially playing make-believe was like nothing I had ever done before. I get nervous if I’m doing a play, or if I have to speak in front of people, but not when I’m doing improv. I have never had any problem making a fool of myself. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and probably many others won’t either, for good or bad.

 

In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?

As Steve Goff helped us learn the art of improv, he brought us a DVD called, “Trust us…,” which was a documentary about TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi, two improvisers who have a two-man, 60 minute improv show. They create an entire comedic drama, complete with characters they each take turns playing, and by the end, you never second-guess the reality they’ve created. It is a brilliant combination of acting and improv that had our whole team captivated. We still refer to that video often, and have even created improv warm-ups we call a “TJ and Dave.”

 

What’s the best part about what you do?

I get to be a kid again. I always played make-believe, and there were always strange characters and voices in my head when I was young. Possible psychosis, or future skill? Either way, all through my life, I spent most of my time trying to entertain myself or others by being silly. As we grow up, it becomes harder and harder to find venues for that type of outlet without being shut up in a rubber room. With improv, I get to do that again. It is a liberating and cathartic experience.

 

What’s the hardest part?

For me personally, it has being trying to deconstruct improv from an artistic standpoint, how to improve and make my game better. I can’t afford to go to Second-City, or have one of the fantastic teachers from Unplanned Comedy or Steel-City Improv come down. At least not until my one man show about the bubonic plague takes off. So, in the meantime, I find myself just trying to be a cosmic improv sponge, and I hope the universe will send me the knowledge I need.

 

What’s (almost) always funny?

As far as improv is concerned, it is when the performers are completely invested in the reality they’ve created, and they aren’t TRYING to be funny. That is the surest way to kill an improv scene. It is hard to just let go of the comedic instincts that tell you to go for the punchline. It is a very zen experience to just trust in your scene partner and see where you end up.

 

Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?

It is absolutely vital to get some kind of guidance. Go see other teams perform and talk to them afterward about their process. Take a class, and join a group. Just jump in and say, yes.

 

Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?

Depends on the context. Hanging out at the bar? Rip off. House party? Rip off. Seeing a comedy show? Recommended. Monday morning staff meeting? Absolutely essential.

 

Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?

Personally, I think if Santa Claus would stop feeding his unicorns high octane fiber, we would have less methane, and global warming wouldn’t be an issue.

 

If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?

Why do you always look like you are staring into the sun?

 

Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?

I think prisoners are just misunderstood, and need a big hug. And an improv show.

 

How good is your spelling?

Perfekt.

 

Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?

If you want to save money, don’t spend any. If you want to save time, stop doing other stuff.

 

Have you ever been to Ohio?

Cleveland rocks.

Here’s another one of The Fearless Fools.
I kind of regret that I didn’t get a chance to talk with them during my month of Improv –that just means I need to do a different story about the group when the opportunity comes a-knockin’ again. From their Facebook page, it looks like they kill.
Name: Matt Tolliver
Age: 32
Hometown:French Creek, WV
Occupation: School Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor
matt tolliver
What’s your life like outside of comedy?
Most of my time consists of working as a school counselor at Skyview Elementary School in Morgantown. I meet with kids for individual and group counseling as well as teaching classroom guidance lessons to whole classes. My main focus is on conflict resolution and teaching kids appropriate social skills.
How did you get started in Improv/Comedy? As a child at 4-H camp, we would have to come up with skits during the nightly council circles. Though there was no “formal” training, that was when I first experienced entertaining others without a script and having to use my imagination to create characters for short sketches.
What was your first workshop or show like?
Stressful, but a type of stress or pressure that challenged me with the reward of laughter and applause from the audience.
In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?
Robin Williams was the master of improv comedy. His ability to instantaneously create characters and jokes was awe-inspiring.
What’s the best part about what you do?
With a day job dealing with people’s social and emotional problems, it can be very overwhelming to take that on. Improv allows me to explore my creative side and let my mind be free.
What’s the hardest part?
Trying to stay in character when my fellow players or myself say or do something that completely catches you off guard.
What’s (almost) always funny?
Typically anything that my Kindergarten students tell me
Advice for someone who might want to do Improv? I feel like everyone has to improvise many times every day when it comes to making decisions. Some times we have to conventrate hard on those decisions, and some times it’s so fast that we don’t even realize it. Improv comedy is in that space of opening your mind and not overly concentrating.
Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?
Rip off
Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?
I want to believe in unicorns…it’s a thin, blurry line of believing and wanting to
If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?
Do you ever get to drive the cars on The Price is Right?
Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?
Depending on the prison and crime. Are we talking federal penitentiary or a low security prison? If I could get my doctorate for free…sign me up!
How good is your spelling? How did I do on this questionnaire?
Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers? Don’t take our private student loans, unless absolutely necessary!
Have you ever been to Ohio?
Yes…it was flat and underwhelming

Going Vegan: Dining out

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So far, the vegan thing is working out just fine. I’m still dropping weight at a modest pace –a pound or two every week. I’d like for the weight to fly off, but I also like to have a beer once in a while, and eat cookies.

Weight loss, while encouraged by my doctor, is a secondary effect of this whole project.

So far, the hardest thing has been dining out. Meals out are somewhat limited. When my father was in town last weekend, we didn’t do our annual pilgrimage to the local Chinese buffet. About the only thing I could safely have would be the iceberg lettuce on the salad bar, which almost nobody actually touches in the first place. Chinese restaurants use fish sauce, oyster sauce, chicken stock, pork and eggs in all kinds of things.

So, Chinese food is kind of on the no-fly list until I find a way around it.

We actually ended up eating at a Ryan’s, which wasn’t terrible. I constructed a really decent salad, had a baked potato drowned in salsa, bread, and fruit. I went ahead and ate the breaded okra, though who knows if it was cooked in the same oil as the chicken nuggets, the fish sticks, the cheese sticks, and God knows what else. You have to be a little bit realistic, I think.

Probably the Ryan’s in Los Angeles has an organic, fair-trade vegan island with a harvest-your-own mushroom bar.

Anyway, I checked in with several websites about vegan-friendly places (they barely exist in West Virginia) and even chain restaurants which have vegan options. At most of them you can find a salad, some kind of potato (served dry), and maybe bread (if you ask them not slather it with butter), but I reached out to a few to ask –“Hey, have you got anything that a vegan would like to eat that isn’t a salad? Maybe a nice veggie burger?”

Some places ignored me –like TGI Fridays, Lonestar Steakhouse and Dunkin Donuts, but I did hear back from a few people.

From Applebees.

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your e-mail. We’re always looking for new ways to provide great guest service, and comments like yours help us to do that. We appreciate your concern about the availability of vegan-friendly dishes at Applebee’s. Our Menu Development team regularly reviews our menu and creates new items throughout the year. Guest feedback is an important part of that process. Thanks again.

If you have any other questions or comments, please give us a call at 888-592-7753.


Sincerely,

Matt
Sr. Guest Relations Specialist

Case # 1905883

Notice how they didn’t just say, “Uh, no. Go graze in the parking lot, lawnmower man.” Instead, they answered my question by not actually answering my question, which sort of feels worse.

Outback Steakhouse referred me back to the menu.

Hi Bill,

Thanks for contacting us. Attached is a PDF that can help you with the ordering process. We would also advise speaking with a manager to see what other dishes the restaurant can prepare for you.

Sincerely,

Andrew

The PDF basically lists salad, bread, potato and the grilled asparagus, but I should probably ask the cook about whether they can cook that in something besides animal fat. You can also get steamed broccoli, which is typically limp, tasteless, and the most pointless thing to order when you go out to dinner.

But Outback is steakhouse. What could I expect? They serve steak!

I told them I’d stick with the beer.

Locally, I had better luck.

Rocco at Muriale’s said he could work something he thought I’d enjoy. Bricks and Barrels pointed out that they have vegan options on their menu, and Paterno’s said they’d catered to vegans before. I should maybe speak to the chef, they said, but really, who does that? Not me. If I’m talking to the cook, usually, I’m complaining. That’s just my history.

When I go out, I’m not looking to do a full-on interview or be someone’s lab rat. I just want a couple of easy choices. If I want to get all tricksy with my meal, I’ll stay at home and cook it myself. That way, if I hate it, I can toss it in the trash, make a peanut butter sandwich, and not feel like I’ve betrayed someone who was trying to help me out.

 

I checked in with pizza places, which vary considerably.

You can eat vegan at the chains, if you know which crust and which sauce to order. It’s assumed you specify “no cheese,” and choose veggie toppings, but I wanted to know if my neighborhood pizza joint could accommodate. So, I wrote an email to Husson’s Pizza and asked about their crust and sauce.

Greetings!
There is nothing in our sauce or dough from an animal.
So enjoy!
Thanks for the inquiry,
Nick Husson

I ordered pizza that very night and it was glorious.

Eventually, I’ll check in with Lola’s and Pies and Pints.

 

However, Sarah’s Bakery was a no go. She uses butter in her pie crusts.

I’d make you a pie crust with crisco, but it goes against everything I believe in

That’s OK, I said. Some sacrifices have to be made.

I think it’s awesome she does what she does.

 

The absolute winning find was Bluegrass Kitchen.

Pathetically, I wrote Keeley Steele and asked her what kind of vegan things they had.

Bluegrass Kitchen

We have a lot actually. If you 86 dairy & chicken you can have the tostada or chimi (you can add tofu too)
Our new mock “chicken & dumplings” are vegan
Our housemade veggie burger is vegan…just get it with no cheese and not on brioche
Tofu wings
Fried Pickles
And Monday is meatless monday…we have a few vegan regulars so we try to make sure we have something vegan running on that evening. 
Tricky Fish:
Tofu tacos with no dairy
veggie dog
Starlings:
We have vegan cheese, bacon & sausage for our breakfast sandwiches.
Let me know if you have any other questions
ks
I ended up going out to the Civic Center last night where they were having the Small Farm Conference and a winter farmer’s market. Keeley and company had set up a stall and were selling Tofu Buffalo wings and they were wonderful –if you like tofu.
Not every vegan does, but it’s OK by me.
At long last, we’ve started getting The Fearless Fools comedy troupe some improv blog love. The group is part of the Vintage Theatre Company (why does everyone reverse the er/re in theater?) in Clarksburg. VTC were the folks responsible for bringing some Shakespeare down Charleston way, back when we were having a shortage (So, I love them, even if they do that reverse er/re thing in theater, which makes me affect a snooty British accent).
Meanwhile, The Fearless Fools are doing some regularly scheduled improv comedy at Mainstreet Cafe in Clarksburg.
Become their Facebook friends. It’s not creepy at all.
Name: Lauren Swann
Age: 28
Hometown: Clarksburg
Occupation: Mental Health Therapist
lauren
She has the Sarah Palin stare down cold.
What’s your life like outside of comedy?
Still pretty hilarious…Busy with work, family, friends. Also playing with cats. Lots of cat play.
How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?
I had been acting for several years when a friend of mine invited me to an improv show he was in. I went to the show and I laughed so much my face hurt. I was scared of the idea of doing improv, but I went for it anyway. I auditioned for the troupe a few months later.
What was your first workshop or show like?
Terrifying, exhilarating. I didn’t know I would be in the show that first night, but I ended up having to fill in for another member who couldn’t make it. Perfect for improv, always a surprise.
In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?
Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris
What’s the best part about what you do?
Feeling completely free, like a kid again. And playing games with a group of grown ups.
What’s the hardest part?
Getting in the zone when the energy is down or we’re in kind of a comedy funk. Sometimes we have to freshen up with different games or exercises to spice it up.

What’s (almost) always funny?
I don’t know that anything is always funny…fart jokes?
Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?
Go for it. Let go, don’t censor yourself. Pay attention to your partners.
Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?
Is that a thing? I’ve never had less than two drinks…
Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?
Global unicorns. One day everyone we’ll see the havoc they’re wreaking on the ozone layer!
If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?
Whatcha got in that desk?
Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?
The media is definitely as bad as they say it is.
How good is your spelling?
Excellint.
Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?
Wear your shoes to bed.
Have you ever been to Ohio?
Sigh…yes.

Improv Comedy: Getting to Know You -Dave Lomely

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After a short break from doing these profiles (I had company at the house. We went to Ryan’s and ate the fried okra), we’re back. This is Dave Lomely from Improv 304.

Name: Dave Lomely

Age: 43

Hometown: Logan, WV

Occupation: Founder of Sushi Fun Run. Also, I do healthcare analytics

david

What’s your life like outside of comedy?

Growing odder by the day. I just got back from Los Angeles where I spent most of my time discussing races that involve sushi.

How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?

I knew the people that started the improv group and they asked me to attend. I did and enjoyed it.

What was your first workshop or show like?

It was a fun, low pressure opportunity to let loose. I enjoyed it and kept returning.

In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?

I don’t consider myself an improv/comedy person. This is just something that I enjoy doing because it’s so far removed from my everyday life so I’ve never really thought about who I look up to. Maybe Drew Carey.

What’s the best part about what you do?

Just being myself and not worrying about what that means.

What’s the hardest part?

Letting go of yourself and not worrying about looking foolish

What’s (almost) always funny?

Kittens and puppies

Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?

Come join us at Taylor’s. It’s a fun, low pressure way to wet your feet in improv. We don’t judge; we just play.

Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?

They are necessary. The more drinks you have the better the show. Two drinks might not be enough in some circumstances.

Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?

Global warming is the only one I don’t want to believe in but it’s all too real.

If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?

Was it really you I saw in a van in a Dayton, OH parking lot shouting at everyone to watch the Drew Carey show?

Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?

I’d rather not find out.

How good is your spelling?

My spelling is meadiocher. Hahaha, see what I did there.

Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?

Yes, but they are not free.

Have you ever been to Ohio?

Yes, I have family in Ohio and may have seen Drew Carey in a parking lot while there.