Back On The ChainGang

If you were wondering where I’ve been, blogaphorically speaking, the past couple of weeks, I’ve been:
(choose one)
a) in jail.
b) depressed and not feeling like posting inane nothingness to the handful of people who read this site.
c) feeling a great lack of inspiration and wondering if I’ll ever find the desire to write again.
d) busy with other stuff.
e) watching television 24/7.
f) visiting relatives in Attleboro, Mass.
g) too nervous about all these hurricanes and terrorists and bird flues.
h) obsessing over things like whether it’s "flues" or "flus" (or possibly an entirely different spelling), but not to the point where I bother to look it up.
i) reading something called a ‘novel’.  It’s kind of like a text-only fiction site on the internets, only it’s all, like, hard copy and portable.
j) pirating movies and then watching them.
k) taking my wife to and from and to and from the hospital and visiting her there in between.
l) sitting by the phone and waiting for it to ring after our Sketch22 Contact East performance.
m) drinking so much beer that I’ve begun to wonder if I have a drinking problem.
n) looking for magic mushrooms in my own backyard.
o) spending way too much time playing a stupid video game on the GameCube.
p) taking all kinds of pictures with my digital camera.
q) letting my knee heal, mostly by just sitting on the couch and having it (my knee, not the couch) elevated.
r) chastising myself to the point of lethargy about my lethargy during this current work hiatus.
s) planning a little home work project, wherein I glue all kinds of discared CDs onto a black-painted wall,  and wondering where I could find enough discarded CDs.
t) rapping.
u) thinking about all the stuff I’ve lost over the years.
v) counting a bit too much on that big Lotto payday last week, but not even buying a ticket.
w) being unemployed.
x) admiring too much female nudity on the world wide web.
y) keeping silent on this site for two weeks because I lost a bet and the stakes were two weeks web silence.
z) not eating pizza, but really, really wanting to eat pizza.

Now that I have finished doing that one thing from the list above, I hope to return to a more regular posting schedule.

Change of Email Address

Anybody who cares, I’ve changed my email address again.
When I started with email, I thought I’d be clever and use sendit2me as my name.  You know: "Hey, what’s your email address?" "Send it to me at gmail dot com".  I was so clever.  In my head.
When I have to tell people my address, I quickly realised, I have to explain that the "to" in "send it to me" is the number 2, not the word "to".  A pain in the butt.

Fortunately, I was smart enough to also snag the name robmacd.

So, from now on, if you want to contact me, please do so at RobMacD at gmail dot com  (use capitals if you want, or don’t if you don’t want).

Update your address books, peeps.

I apologize for that "peeps" thing.

Stanley Theman

What have I been doing lately?
This week has been incredibly busy for me, with three or four assorted acting gigs going on.
The strangest, by far, is the one I’ll talk about here.  About a month ago, I was contacted and asked if I could play a nerd.  Not really sure exactly was being asked of me, I said "sure I can".
Turns out there’d be a convention at the Delta this week, of the Mechanical Contractor’s Association of Canada.  They wanted me (well, someone, not ‘me’ specifically, like, they didn’t seek me out, just any actor who could do it, and someone at the Delta thought of me) to pretend to be a new delegate to the MCAC and show up to a few events and kind of make my presence known to all.
Wierd gig, sounded easy, and it paid pretty good money, so how could I turn it down.
The name they gave me was Stanley Theman (you know, "Stan the Man", ha ha, right?) and I owned a company called New Energy Refrigeration and Development Mechanical, Limited (or N.E.R.D Mechanical Ltd. for short, ha ha, right?).  I was to be from Whitehorse, NWT.  I was to dress "like a nerd" they told me.  Best I could do was this:  I made my hair look greasy and flat and greasy.  I wore my "Teddy Goldman" glasses and a tight short-sleeve dresshirt over a blue long-sleeve turtleneck.  I had my iPod in my shirt pocket, and some large headphones (which I "forgot" to remove) on my ears.  It was my wierd version of a nerd.  (I wore variations on this theme throughout the week of events)
So, my for my first appearance, I was to show up at the MCAC Board of Director’s meeting on Tuesday morning, be confused about why I, as a new delegate, was not allowed to sit in on the closed meeting, then leave in something of a huff (or a minute and a huff, as Groucho might say).  It should take about 5 minutes tops, they told me.
So, in to the Delta I go on Tuesday, and into the Elfin Pekaha room, where, sure enough, a board meeting was taking place.  There were probably about 40 or 50 people, mostly men, sitting around a square of tables, doing, you know, important (to them) work.  I interrupted them.  I figured I’d be nervous doing this, but nervous in an actorly way.  In reality, though, I became really nervous because I was interrupting their meeting.  I could really sense the bother I was causing these people.  I fealt really uncomfortable.
The room went totally dead-quiet when I first entered.  I went to the snack table and thought about pouring myself a coffee, but couldn’t find a carafe.  So I abandoned that idea and started to look around the table for an empty seat.  That’s when the Chairman (who was the only one "in on" the joke) asked me, politely, what I was doing there.  That’s when the nerves hit me, because everyone was looking at me, and a definite air of being-bothered was in the room.  I said I was looking for a seat.  He said it was a closed meeting.  I told him "yeah, no problem, I’m a new delegate. I’m a member" and showed him my conference badge.  He said this meeting was only open to member of the board. I didn’t understand what that meant.
I continued to play dumb for a minute and he continued to ask me to leave.  Someone got up and left ("to get security?" I wondered/hoped).  Finally, I "got the message" and promised to leave.  I apologized to the room for being an idiot and said I’d leave.  I kept apologizing and the chairman kept telling me to leave.  I then changed my slant and said it didn’t seem fair that I couldn’t sit in, and wondered what kind of secret stuff they’d be talking about that I shouldn’t hear.  "It’s a closed meeting, you’ll have to leave" he kept saying.  "Can I at least get a juice?" I asked. That got a laugh.  Kind of a "what a pathetic tit" laugh.   "Sure" he said.  As I was getting a juice, one of the board members, who was near me, said "What boat did you just get off of?", kind of as a joke to his compatriots, not really to me.  I replied.  "No I didn’t get hear by boat, I came by plane, and those friggers lost my luggage."
Anyway, I finally left, and it took maybe 4 minutes tops?  Seemed to go well, I thought.

The next event I was scheduled to punk was the First-Timer’s Reception on Wednesday night.  Basically, show up, get people to look at me, and then leave.  That’s what I did.  I shook people’s hands, approached and interrupted groups in conversation with awkward conversation starters of my own.  I was in and out in about 10 minutes, just like they asked.  As I was leaving the hotel, I was walking past The Club (a small bar/llounge in the Delta).  It was packed with MCAC delegates.  A trio of them, near the door, saw me (they were board members and remembered me from that meeting), and called me over to them.  I could sense, from their questions, that they were trying to figure out if I was real or not.  I had decided to use a variation of my Moe Gorman voice, as it was one I was sure I’d be able to keep up for long periods of time, if need be.  Unfortunately, it kind of comes off as a bit "maritimey".  One of the guys picked up on that and asked me "if you’re from Whitehorse, how come you have that accent?"  "I moved to Whitehorse 17 years ago" I said without missing a beat. "Originally I’m sort of from the maritimes.  Guess I can’t lose the accent."  I was quite pleased with this lie, but kicking myself for the "sort of" vagueness.  Sure enough, one of them says "what do you mean, ‘sort of’?  How can you be sort of from some place?"  I began to hem and haw a bit, on the technicalities of time spent in one place and how perhaps the place you have lived the longest is the place you’re from…  beads of flop-sweat being born on my brow.  Hemming and hawwing, until the third guy gruffly says "Where were you born?"  Sydney, Cape Breton I lied.  "Then that’s where in the hell you’re from" he said definitively, killing the conversation.  I am-scrayed from them as soon as I could.

Thursday, I was scheduled for three appearances.  First one at 7:15am, as people were milling around waiting for the breakfast event (at which Ron MacLean was guest speaker!!) to begin.  I brought my camera for this one and basically just kept coming up to groups of people, couples, people by themselves and asking them where they were from (I didn’t have my own glasses on, so I couldn’t read that information that was on their conference badges).  My goal, I said, was to try and get a picture of myself with someone from each province in Canada.  This seemed to work quite well, and got me interacting with a bunch of people.  I was supposed to do that for 10 minutes or so, and it worked out perfectly.  My camera’s batteries died after about 10 minutes and that gave me the perfect excuse to "go back to my room and get new batteries" rather than enter into the breakfast room.

Second gig that day was the Companion’s Tour.  I was supposed to try and take the Companion’s Tour (on 3 Trius motor-coaches), but then end up not taking it.  This event didn’t work out so well for me.  I was supposed to show up at 8:45 and talk it up with the delegates Companions (mostly women) about the tour and stuff.  Trouble is, nobody was waiting for the couches.  Slowly, women started to trickle in (from the breakfast) but it was pretty awkward to try and start up conversations with them.  It’s easier to be kind of jerky when there are more eyes watching, I realised.  When it’s one-on-one like I was trying at this moment, it felt pretty creepy.  Eventually, one of the coaches got filled up, and I went on it and took a seat, asking anyone and everyone if they thought they’d mind if I, who was not a companion, took the tour anyway.  After chatting up the women around my seat on the coach, and just before they were about to leave, I "happened" to ask when the tour was over.  3pm I was told.  That was too late for me, I said, and awkwardly made be exit from the bus.  I was only supposed to spend about 10 minutes at this event, but because of the trickling of the companions, it ended up being about 25 minutes.  It went okay, but was my least favourite of the week.

The third that day was an appearance I was to make at the Suppliers’ Showcase on the Mezzanine.  30 or so booths set up in rows up and down a couple of hallways.  I was basically to show up and visit each booth, ask stupid questions and be a bit of an annoyance.  And that’s basically what I did.  I found it kind of tricky to get away from some booths without them asking me specifics about my company (to see, I assume, if I was worthwhile "pitching" to).  Even a cursory probe from them would’ve made them quite aware that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  Luckily, I got away pretty much unscathed.

This morning at 7:30 was the Awards Breakfast.  I arrived and returned to my taking a picture with someone from each province routine.  I was looking for anyone from Quebec, the only province I still needed, so this allowed me to quickly go from table to table asking if anyone was from Quebec, and explaining my goal.  This worked very well in getting me around to as many people in a short time.
Then it was time to eat.  I played it pretty quiet during breakfast, as I didn’t want to get into conversations with the other 7 people at my table for fear of blowing my cover.  After breakfast was eaten, awards were handed out.  For 10, 15 years service, Lifetime achievement, etc.
The final award was a new award for them, sure to be very prestigious, to be given out to a deserving member of the association. It was going to be given to me, I was told.  Then the MC told the room about this person’s accomplishments, and the accomplishments were very impressive:  $400 million in income last year alone, 30% profit over blah blah blah.  People were very impressed with the numbers and statistics that were being spouted.  This person’s business was hugely successful was the gist.  Then:  "The 2005 "Gotcha" award goes to… Stanley Theman!  Stan the Man, come up and get your award."  With the word Gotcha, the whole room, I’m sure, caught on if they hadn’t already.
I went up and received my award – a rubber chicken – said thanks, etc, revealed my real identity and then promptly left.

And that was that.
What a wierd gig.  It was fun, but still through the week a fair amount of worry on my part, wondering what in the hell might go wrong at my next appearance, afraid of going too far and making it overly obvious that Stanley was a gag, or worrying about playing it too subtle and not making a big enough impression on enough people.  It’s a pretty delicate balancing act, trying to be out there enough so that people take notice of you, but no so out there that you’re not believable.
I had a good time though.

Un-Labour Day

So now that I’m a famous media pundit (really the only person one should talk to in reference to all things The Office), it’s time to say good-bye to the humdrum boredom of a bi-monthly paycheque and start the next chapter in my quest for financial stability.
This Friday is going to be my final day at the job I’ve held for the past 6 or 7 years.  Earlier this month, I informed those that needed informing that I was quitting. My reason for leaving is primarily one of feeling under-appreciated, as far as being paid what I should for the work I do.  I probably should have left two weeks after giving my notice, but, being the nice guy I am, I offered to stay on until the end of the month, to help train my replacements. Plus the extra couple of weeks of income will come in handy.
I quit without having any solid (or even loose-stool) prospects of a replacement job or career.  I have a couple of small projects that will get me through the next month or so, but after that, it’s a serious question mark as to how my family manages to maintain the low middle class lifestyle to which we’ve grown accustomed.
Qutting a job at the age of almost-40 (only days away), with a wife and a kid and a falling-down house and breaking-down car may be the most moronic thing I’ve ever done, but I’m hoping it will lead to a more fulfilling life.
It’s a rather scary step to take, but a step that I take with no concern that it’s the wrong move to make.
It was time for a change.  Rather than wait for the change to come to me, I’ve decided to find the change.  (yes, I’m going to be a pro-active bum).
So, this Labour Day, as the world celebrates, um, Labour… I’ll be celebrating Un-Labour.  Or De-Labour? Or Dis-Labour?

100 Things You Couldn’t Care About Me

1)  I hate the word "meme".  I don’t know what it means and I don’t want to bother to look it up.  Okay, I looked it up and I guess I did pretty much know what it meant.
2) I will sometimes say I’ll not do something, or say I will do something, then go ahead and disregard myself. (see #1)
3) (see #2)
4) …

Eenie Meenie My Knee Ow

It’s been a while since I updated you all on the status of my sore knees (I wait, as I hear the exhalation of air from  thousands of readers who’ve been holding their breath)…

I hurt my knees a couple of weeks after I started walking/jogging.  I am such a cliche.  Well, the pain was considerable at times, but (since it was the same type of pain as my recurring "university basketball knee injury" trouble) I knew it would eventually get better.  After two weeks of not really getting better, I decided I should see a doctor, so I went to a night clinic.  It was a fairly fast procedure, the night clinic, as I was in and out in about an hour and a half.
The doctor confirmed my expectations that all that was needed to heal me was time.  However, in her examination of my knees (what with the pulling and the gyrating and the flavin flave), she made them much much more painful.  I hobbled home and began my weeklong campaign of medicating myself with Advil (I usually don’t take pain medication, but this pain was an exception).  The Advil worked at hiding the pain, but my knees still felt pretty weak and tender.
That was almost two weeks ago.  By this past weekend, my knees are/were at about 90%.  The pain is gone, the Advil is gone, and only the occasional twinge of the slightest pain is experienced.

As the doctor was examining me, she was manipulating my legs in all manner of directions and noticed an odd cracking sound at in my hip region.  She didn’t like the sound of it and suggested that maybe jogging wouldn’t be the best approach for me in my quest to get healthier.

So, I’m not going to be running for a while.  I’ll begin a walking (and perhaps bicycling) regimine in about a week’s time, and build myself up from there.

Exercise: Who Knees It?

Yeah, so about that running thing I’ve been doing…
Well, it’s on hiatus.  Last Tuesday, I went for my regular run/walk (actually turning up the heat to a frothy 20 minute regimine of sets of 90 seconds of jogging followed by 2 minutes of walking) and got home, feeling good.  Next day I started having pains in my knees, and they’ve hung around and still pain me today.
Now, I get pains in my knees all the time, or specifically, in one of my knees.  Back when I was in university, I played some rec-basketball and twisted my left knee pretty badly.  Ever since then, it will occasionally just pop out (usually if I’m walking down stairs) and cause me a couple of days of intermittant pain and discomfort.  Then it goes away.
This is just like that pain, only a bit moreso, and more constant, and in both knees (although the right knee pales in comparison).  It’s been bothersome for about a week, but today I sense it improving.  If it continues much longer, I’ll have to get it looked at.
So, no more running until I’m well and truly recuped.
Can’t say I miss it, though.

Boring Exercise Update #2

I’m going to be keeping a small diary of my running exploits, so please feel free to ignore these posts.

Today was my second run.  The difficulty of the first run was 100 (the maximum on my scientific scale, on the probably flawed theory that subsequent runs get a bit easier).  It was a real trial to get through and I barely did.  Sounds simple, probably:  8 repetitions of 60 seconds or running followed by 90 seconds of walking.  But for a schlub like me, carrying around the extra pounds I do, it was a task, I tell ya.  The worst part was the two hours afterwards, what with the aches and the pains and the high-den-froid-en, nice laaaa-ddy!
Today’s run was again 8 repetitions of 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking.  It seemed a bit easier to get through to the end of the 8 reps, and the afterwards pain is substantially less (see, I’m an ace at exercise!!), although I did find it kind of difficult to walk after my final run.  Not because of shortness of breath, or anything, but because of sore shins.
The big problem, one I hope goes away eventually, is the pain all up and down my left arm… no.  Is really sore shins.  Does anyone know if that will remedy itself after a few more attempts?  I hope so.
Anyway, exercise attempt number 2 rates a 90 on my worthless scale.  That’s a whole 10 point difference (those 10 points coming off because this time I had no doubt I’d finish the 8 reps).
Yay Me!!