Sunday, November 27, 2005

It's Official

So I'm feeling better. Still not 100%, but not contagious.

The big thing that Heidi & I were waiting for was another shot at a gigantor diamond that has been in my dad's family for over 150 years. My dad never got to meet Heidi, but he would have really liked her. However, my stepmom still wears the ring that has the diamond, as it was hers most recently, and she's not ready to part with it. Saturday was the most recent time we were going to see her and be able to talk with her about it, she said she wasn't ready.

There's more to this story, and it led to some intriguing revelations, but we ended up ring shopping that day. We went down to Old Orchard, and hit Marshall Field's and first checked out some moissanite rings. Moissanite because of all the social injustices surrounding diamond mines, but when it came down to it, she ultimately didn't care (you can't live in an industrial society without some social injustice), and I wanted her to have a diamond. Keep in mind, the moissantie stones looked good, but it was then that I realized that that heirloom diamond would never have worked with Heidi. It's just too darn much. She's not much for excessive bling, and it really showed when she had these rings on, as some of them wer huge.

Then we went into Hegel's Diamonds, and they showed us a small selection of generic garbage that was overpriced, and were really difficult to work with. We were out of there in five minutes.

We ultimately settled on Roger's & Holland's, as we had a chance to check out some cool stuff, and they were working well with us. We left there, prayed about the decision, and went to find something else to do. No decent movies were playing that we hadn't already seen (at least to at Old Orchard), so we went to a sports bar and split a salad (we had just eaten fairly well, and my appetite still isn't quite where it should be). I actually got to thinking while in the bathroom (I was there for a while), and decided that this was a good course, and we talked a little more over the salad, and we headed out and got the ring.

We headed downtown to Millenium Park fountan.
Me: "Do you remember the significance of this place?"
Her: "This is where you first told me you loved me."
Me: "This is where I'm going to declare my undying love for you."

I got down on my knee, and started struggling with the damn box (the regular ring box was stuck in a gift box). At this point, there was beginning to be some spectator reaction. I presented her with the ring (which of course, she had just seen, but still...), and asked her if she would be my wife. She said yes, there was much kissing, many "awwww"s around us, a few congratulations, and more kissing.

And yes, there was very little surprise, very little shock and awe, and that bugs me, too. I'm dramatic, I'm a filmmaker, I'm an actor. I like big productions, and I wanted to stun and awe Heidi. But really, our style is so much of a teamwork thing, and we tend to talk about things so much that joint decisions are our bread and butter. That's sort of just how we do things. Besides, since we're both planners by nature, the wedding will likely be the party of the year.

Oh, speaking of which, our wedding blog is new yet, and Heidi hasn't known about it until now, but it's here.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Sickie Chronicles, Part 1

So my Thanksgiving meal last night consisted of two bites of mashed potatoes, one bite of turkey, and a cookie. I was so full, I thought I was going to burst. It must have been the handful of Sun Chips I had an hour before that. But my dreams were bizarre, not because they were especially vivid, but because when I woke up, I could remember pretty much their entire progression. I'm losing them now, because a good portion of consistent memory is stringing together the memorable scenes into a logical flow, and dreams really don't have that consistent logic, but I'll leave you with an excerpt: At this point, I was in a theatre and watching a play that was fading into a movie, but before I knew it the entiore dream was taken over by the images, and the fact that I was in a theatre was no longer part of the dream. In this part, everything was really simply animated, really simply drawn, over a green background.
Narrator: Gramma Emmy [A Komodo Dragon on a leash appears]
Narrator: Homer Simpson [A newspaper appears in the lizard's mouth]
Narrator: Gramma Emmy reads Homer Simpson [The lizard eats the newspaper]
[The lizard goes to bank of newspaper vending machines, breaks one open and eats everything in it]
Narrator: Gramma Emmy is learning how to read.
[The lizard breaks into another and eats a little off one paper]
Narrator: Gramma Emmy ate three paragraphs, but she says she read the whole page.
[The lizard eats a little out of one paper and sort of rubs its nose around in another vending machine]
Narrator: Gramma Emmy rearranges the words and adds fifteen that she stole, and she calls it her own. (in my mind, this is a reference to plagiarism)

That's about when I woke up, and realzied that I remembered the entire series of the dream, which had to do with a road trip, Harry Potter (there was a long Harry Potter interlude), some goofy game involving explosive lemonheads, talking with my friend Scott about movies that are coming up, walking through my old high school, watching some play about tolerance that had my friend Amy and someone who looked like Samuel L. Jackson in it, and then it sort of faded into a street scene where Gramma Emmy had her day. And no, I never had a Grandmother named Emmy.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! A little recap on what's been happening the past couple days: I had a friend in town recently, my friend Chris who was my first roommate in film school, and just finished a stint doing assistant edition on Curb Your Enthusiasm. One of the great things about that man is that we don't talk for a year or so, and when we do, we just pick up right where we left off. And that guy can talk! We talked about a lot of stuff, more-or-less focused around women and films. Unfortunately, I had spent most of the night before in the bathroom with stuff coming out from both ends. The initial theory was that I had food poisoning, but I felt feverish most of the day, and barely ate anything (I think all day I ate a kudos bar, a slice of Chicago-style pizza, and half a slice of pie). He and Heidi, both being extremely social, chatted away while I slept a good deal. But the kicker that it wasn't food poisoning came today. I just got up from 13 1/2 hours of sleep. Now, those who know my sleep patterns know that it's difficult for me to get a full 8 hours, and that I hardly ever sleep past 6am, even on days off. I just got out of bed at 10am, and that's from going to bed at 8:30. I'm still a little zonked, but that may have something to do with spending more than half a day in bed. The Kudos bar I had for breakfast isn't really sitting all that well, but I feel a little better than I did yesterday. So, I guess this is good proof against overeating during the holidays. I have a little bit of work that needs to happen over the next couple days, but damn if I feel like doing it.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Sorry for the lack of posting. I have this tendency to not post when A) I'm busy, B) I don't know what I'm feeling, or C) there's just not much to post about (lapses that fall into C tend to last a couple days at most). A and B have been high on my list for a fair amount of time. Basically, I spent most of last week panicking about my feelings about Heidi, whether I should continue down the inevitable path we're heading down. This was just standard "Oh, my God, I'm not going to be single anymore" panic. It came quickly, and after talking with a couple people who are exceptionally valuable in my life, it left quickly. Mattox was over last Tuesday and we had an angst-fest. Between my real-life drama and Battlestar Galactica (he hadn't seen any of season 2 yet), we got our fill of angst, and he gave me some outstanding advice. Wednesday, Heidi and I had a talk about my freak-out. The kicker, though, was my sister, who not only has her degree in psychology, but also went through my parents' divorce, and has been married for 15+ years. So I'm OK with all that now. Whew!

In other news, Thursday night I slammed my phone in my car door accidentally. It fell out of my pocket just as I was closing my door. Owell, my replacement phone has a camera, which my old one didn't... guess that sort of justifies the $50 deductible for the insurance.

We also saw Harry Potter this weekend. First movie I've seen in a while. #4 was my favorite book, and, although the movie felt rushed, it was probably my favorite movie (although #3 was a strong contender for the movie). Still, I left it with kind of a "meh" feeling. It was fun, I'll probably buy the DVD, but I can't necessarily say I'd recommend it unless you are a fan of the series. At least not as passionately as I'd recommend Serenity or Wallace & Gromit. I think it was well cast, though.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Child's Play

I just found a new charity: Child's Play. It's created by gamers for gamers (in a way). It's all about giving kids who have long-term stays in the hospital something to do, be it video games, listening to music, or watching movies. I don't remember much of being in the hospital when I was way young, but what I do remember was pretty traumatic. This, combined with how I reacted when that little girl I never knew had cancer, combined with the fact that it's a charity started by die-hard gamers, all makes me kind of a shoe-in for it. It bugs me that there are no Chicago hospitals currently involved, and even the hospital I went to (Boston Children's Hospital) back in the early 70's isn't there (hell, I don't even know if it exists anymore), but I still feel it's important to give, just so some kid in D.C. (the closest hospital I could find to Boston) might be a little bit happier.


OK, for some reason I haven't been able to post correctly for a couple days. Anyway...

Every two months, the leaders in the church get together for what's called the "Big Picture," where our pastor explains what he'd going to be preaching on over the following few months, so we get his perspective, and can plan accordingly. Normally everybody brings a few bucks and we get bad pizza. This time around, it was a Thanksgiving meal with everybody bringing something, and they had just finished working on their kitchen, so we came to their home. That was freakin' awesome. It was family, getting together to eat and laugh and have fun, and just talk about crap. I've been thinking about this for a while now, but I'm really understanding this in a big way now: I'm digging the fact that it's the holidays.

Perhaps it's the contrast: Last year, the holidays were not so good. My dad had recently died, and I was in a job that I hated so much, but felt so trapped in that it regularly had me thinking about suicide. Since my family all reminded me of my dad, all I really wanted to do was avoid them. Not particularly good source material for a pleasant holiday season.

Now, I'm past the worst of my grief, I'm in a job that's "OK," and I'm in love. I'll have a good holiday time at the Fisher/Austin-plex, but I'll also be celebrating with the Chen household, so my effective family time (and size) has doubled.

I don't much care for the Christmas materialism thing, but I'm also excited about giving out heaps of gifts to friends and family, and getting cool things (I can almost see that Xbox 360 set up in the Altar of Entertainment).

There's also the holiday parties that are beginning to happen. Since my birthday falls betwixt Thanksgiving and Christmas, I can consider that a holiday as well (as there will be at least two celebrations of it). But really, I'm just looking forward to sitting back, drinking some red wine, eating some chocolate, and laughing with some of my best friends.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Friends & Frustrations

So I was playing D&D yesterday, and I'm beginning to come to some conclusions I don't want to come to. Let me 'splain. This weekend was one of the best I've had since well before my dad died. Heidi and I acheived a new level in our relationship (I'll write more about that later), and when I was working at church the following morning, we were joking around about a guy with the initials of ASS not being able to have monogrammed underwear, especially on the front, because then it would be confusing. When I got to Richard's house, I was in the best and most playful and silliest mood I'd ever been when I met up with these people. It was wonderful. What followed was a series of personal attacks that I haven't experienced at such a level since early high school. I mean, seriously, there were attacks about my physical appearance (and I'm a fairly handsome man these days), my laugh (which usually brings me into a crowd, for some reason it tends to separate me from this crowd), a whole mess of really juvenile things. None of it was intended to bring me down, I'm sure, and perhaps the contrast from my emotional state when I got there magnified the whole deal, but it really ended up pissing me off. A lot. I stayed the whole evening, but didn't have much fun, and left tired and crappy. And it got me thinking. When I game with the Mensa crowd, I have fun, I feel energized, sometimes a little shagged out, but still alive and happy to have done so. When I game with my friend Jon, I leave wanting more. I have a lot of fun, we all are really happy to be together, we laugh together and it's great. I leave happy and excited. When I game with this crowd, I pretty much always leave tired and annoyed. I have to think about it a bit more, because these are all peole that I do like, ultimately, but I may end up leaving that group.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Onion may help my V.O. career

Last night at Kafein I was reading this article to Heidi in a breathless announcer voice with a hint of an English accent, because that's how I thought it was written. It sounded really good. She thought I should use that for my Voice Over demo tape, and it was just one of those things that make you go hmm. It'll take a bit of editing, but that could be a great prepared monologue for comedy auditions in general. This was a good shot in the arm. Forget the Cisco classes, I need to get the voice coaching up and running. I need to get a voice-over demo going, so I can get some work that does more for me than pay a decent wage and get moving on with my life.

So thanks again, Heidi, and thanks for the first time, Onion. You are inspirations.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The strange and wonderful things you find on the net

In need of a laugh? Put on some headphones if you're at work, because you'll want to hear this (or just wait till you're at home).

Click here

Special thanks go to this guy, to whom I may have to start linking.