It is done.
I was really nervous before getting on stage, but I still did it. I wasn’t totally bad, but there are one or two moments where I screwed up something. I laughed a bit when I shouldn’t have. And I wasn’t facing the audience when I was speaking at one point. Well if I didn’t have things to improve, I would have too big of an ego.
Afterwards we went to Boston Pizza, on the theatre’s tab (good cause they didn’t pay us). People were wondering what I looked like with a beard, so I passed out my driver’s license which had a picture of me when I had a goatee. The funniest line was when Lisa, holding the driver’s license, asks “Who is this?”
I’m now nervous about tomorrow when I face the co-workers. How do I look someone in the face that saw me under the effects of “Passion in a bottle”.

The Fool Master 2000

So doomsday is slowly approaching.
At 8:00 tonight I’m going to be kicked onto a stage in front of a crowd of people, some of which I know. The improv class concludes an hour before and then we have the trial by fire. I’d love to same I’m ready for it, but by definition, I cannot be.
I announced to the entire office what was happening.

I know what you’re thinking: That Erik guy, he doesn’t make a fool of himself often enough. I’ve heard the complaints and now I’m going to do something about it.
On Sunday, at 8:00 PM on the Varscona stage (10329 83 Ave.) in a special show called “Playground”, I will be in full bore fool making. How? I’ve been taking improvisation classes and the powers that be have decided to boot this class onto a stage and see what happens. So come see the carnage of bad improvisers. Watch the slow motion train wreck of disaster unfold! Marvel at your favorite co-worker having a mental meltdown in front of a crowd of people. (No refunds if there is an actual competent performance.)
How much does it cost? It’s a pay-what-you-can admission so it is up to you. We do like the hundred dollar bills to be crisp. But if you can get past the doe-eyed ticket seller by just paying with pocket lint, you’ll get in. (You’ll also go straight to hell, but that’s a long term problem.)
What else are you going to do? Watch the Oscars? Ha! Let me spoil it for you! They thank the Academy. Now you have no excuses.
So come on down to the Varscona theatre and watch me suck!

Yup, I just ooze confidence.
In other news I’ve decided to have an after flood party. It will be this Friday, so I have to get this place cleaned up. That was the plan yesterday, but instead I enjoyed a day of watching TV. Nice and lazy, but I needed the break.

I’m actually amazed at how busy I’m keeping. It seems every night this week I’ve got some activity. Monday is improv class. Tuesday is dance class. Wednesday is running. Thursday is more improv. Friday is looking like a Random Acts of Gaming.
To top it all off, I need to figure out how much money I can contribute towards RRSP. Not a lot since most excess money heads to my mortgage. I just had a long weekend, and I think I may need another.

There is no D&D game this Friday so I decided to try something different. The newspaper last week had an article about how one of the best places to meet women is at dance lessons. I had heard from a friend that “Dance Central” had drop-in classes on Tuesdays and Fridays. With no game, I thought I would try for this Friday. I phoned them up and found out I was wrong. The drop-in classes are on Tuesday and Thursday.
No one can accuse them of being a soft sell. They were quite insistent that I come down for tonight’s class. My current plans had been to keep cleaning up this place and get furniture back into the living room. And do some grocery shopping.
Guess not.
So off to dance class. It was East Coast Swing. Surprisingly, my legs got tired after only an hour of dancing. Different muscles than those for a marathon. There wasn’t much taught, just one move really that we’re supposed to repeat with variations.
I guess other men had read the article as well, because there were more men than women, which the instructor was surprised at. The women who did come were all older, or they had come as part of a couple. So from my perspective, it wasn’t the best place to meet women. I’m not writing it off yet. I’m thinking of taking more lessons to get a feel. However, not this week. I’ve got way too much on my plate.

In other news I admitted to a co-worker when my improv performance would be. The word quickly started to spread. I’m trusting that general laziness will prevent anyone from showing up.

I’m glad I had today off. I’ve been needing a break for awhile. It didn’t help that I worked on the key fob reset on Saturday, but this has been an excellent way to recharge batteries.
I slept in and read. I haven’t had that privilege in awhile. In the afternoon I watched TV. The decadence! The final grouting was made and after it dries, my condo will officially be repaired. (Still need to get the keys back…) I also did a bit of work on my fractal program. I’m trying to understand the best way to have a scrolling window in OS X. Progress is being made, but it is slow. I’d like to spend more time on it, but my long weekend is almost over. I went to dinner at Chianti’s today. (Interesting beggar on the way. He was asking for a donation for marijuana research. Got to admire the creativity at least.) Then I had the last class of Level II Improv. I have a report card and everything! I’ll post the details of that later, because I can’t talk long.

Today I ran 26km. The footing was good for the most part. I rolled my right ankle on one turn. Strangely, my left ankle is the one that hurts now.
Construction continues on my place. The tiles have been put down into the cement. All that needs to be done is a half hour work tomorrow to grout them. Then I will finally have my place back. I’ve been slowly moving furniture back into the living room. I’ve made a pledge to not move anything in until I clean it first. Get rid of the dust and such. So I only have a big screen TV and a chair put out. But they’re clean! This is in preparation for the after-flood party I’m going to have to have.
I got an email today from Rapid Fire Theatre. This is the relevant paragraph:

Come see the new crop! Rapid Fire Theatre has been training and teaching, and wants to show off its latest group of graduates from the RAPID FIRE IMPROV ACADEMY. A special show, Playground, will be staged Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. at the Varscona Theatre, 10329-83 Ave., to showcase the extreme talents of our most advanced academy class. The Level III improvisors will delight and astound you with their wit and spontaneity, so come see the show! Pay-what-you-can admission. Call 448-0695 for reservations.

I’m nervous about this show. Anything else I would be able to prepare for and train myself until I thought I was good enough to show other people. But that’s the exact opposite of improv. I can’t prepare! That’s the point. I’m debating letting people at work know. Some are goading me to say when it is. Flubbing up in front of strangers is easy to stomach. Making an idiot of yourself in front of co-workers… They can harass me the next day!
I’ve been reading Canticle‘s journal recently. I’m feeling left behind in my life. In the span of three months he’s gotten himself a new house, job, and wife. I’ve been pretty stagnant for the last five years.
I need to start living life again.

It’s been bugging me since it happened. I should have mentioned it yesterday, but I think I just wanted to get a journal entry out and didn’t spend the time to make it a quality product.
I was the one driving to and from the movie, with Peter as the passenger. I’m not used to having someone else in the car, so I tend to get distracted when I’m talking to them. The car goes into auto-pilot and I nearly ran a red light. I didn’t even notice that there was a light there, and I would have cruised right past it if Peter hadn’t pointed it out. I can think of a few times when things like this have happened. Having a passenger distracts me making me a poor driver. It’s something I have to work on.
Thank god I don’t have a cell phone.

Waste of a day

A large chunk of today was taken up with the key fob reset. For five and a half hours I was in the lobby getting people’s key fobs into the system again. Boring. I did a bit of work on my laptop during lulls, but it wasn’t very productive.
In the evening I went to see “Constantine” with Peter, the new guy in the D&D game. Good movie. A lot of shades of “The Omen” in it. A bit of a twist near the end. I’d say more about it, but that would spoil the movie for others. After we went to a bar on Whyte and talked. I smell like a smokestack now.
Tomorrow I run, and I have more people coming to finish up the work on the carpet. Hope it goes well.

I’ve been feeling proud of myself. For about a week and a half I’ve been updating this journal every day. But I’ve missed yesterday, Friday, because the D&D game ran late. Speaking of which, it was a good game. I’m glad I got let out of work early for the long weekend, because I really needed the time to prepare. There was a long battle with an invading military corp. So high level character needed to be made.
My rug has been steam cleaned. It looks very nice and I really feel bad if I need to walk on it. So I’ve been completely avoiding that, literally jumping from the kitchen tiles to the other rooms. I will need to bite the bullet and do it eventually. I need to move the furniture back. And on Sunday afternoon they should be doing the tiles in front of the fireplace. Definitely don’t want workers walking on it willy-nilly.
Tomorrow I will be in the front lobby of the condo letting people reset their key fobs in the great key fob reset. My shift is for five hours. I expect it to be slow, so I’m going to take the laptop and see if I can get some programming done.

Stupid Water Main

I got a call at work today. The steam cleaning of my carpets has been postponed. Apparently there was a major water main break around downtown today. That took priority over my cleaning. So I have to live with a big screen TV facing the bookcase in my computer room.
You could almost see this coming.
I went to Rona and got the one tile that I think will match my floor. I even told Doug to go ahead and use it. When I got home I found that it is close, but not exact. So if I ever need to replace my tiles, I’ll have to find something else. But for my purposes it should work.
Now, even though I’m feeling very tired, I have to create a somewhat complicated dinner (because I need to use the ingredients before they expire on me.) Then I have to make some challenges for my players for tomorrow’s D&D game.
And I’m feeling tired.

Okay we have a plan B.
The steam cleaning is happening tomorrow. So I’ve moved all the furniture out of my living room. Sofa, big screen TV, bookshelf. Everything except two speakers that are wired into the wall, but can be moved around easily. That was a project! He better come tomorrow, or else I’m stuck with extra furniture in every room. And a man can’t live like this.
The plan B in question is to acknowledge that the carpet isn’t going to reach, so instead we will place tiles around the fireplace. Should look nice. The problem is that they should match the tiles in my kitchen, on the other side of the carpet from the fireplace. They don’t have to be exact, but they need to be close. So I left work early to go to Rona and get some tile samples. They don’t have any books of tiles and instead recommend you buy the ones you think are close and then return them the next day.
I picked up five different tiles (heavy buggers) and brought them home. None of them are an exact match, but there is one that looks nearly right if it was darker. Anyway, I’ve taken pictures of the entire affair, and I’ll go back to Rona tomorrow and see if I can get a better match. Then I should be able to give Doug the go.
Hopefully I can get this done by Friday. Because on Saturday the key fob that he is using will be disabled with the big key fob reset going on in the building.
And I still need to prepare a D&D game for Friday.
In other news, I got a 30% off coupon for the Running Room today because I keep leading a group on Wednesdays. Too bad I just bought shoes, but it is good for the entire year. I’m sure I’ll need new shoes before then.
Today all the Running Room managers from across Canada and the US were in Edmonton. So I got to lead a bunch of them around downtown Edmonton. Nice bunch.

Apparently the carpet has shrunk since it got soaked. So it doesn’t quite reach the walls anymore. At least without some severe stretching.
On to plan B!
I have no idea what plan B is. Looking forward to what Doug has to say.

I got a call today at work from Doug, the person in charge of repairs, saying that everything was done, and that the carpet cleaner would call soon. Much to my surprise, when I got home, nothing had changed. I phoned Doug and explained the problem. Half an hour later, some guys showed up to do the repairs. I’d like to think that was great service, but they were just running late and they had finally arrived.
Slightly inconvenient, because I was just about to go downstairs to do some running on the treadmill. I have only myself to blame. I was fooling around on the computer trying to avoid getting exercise. Now I actually have to avoid it, because I want to make sure they are doing a good job. They’ve left for half an hour now to wait for some contact cement to dry, so I thought I would do an update in the meantime.

Well, one tradition is back on line.
After the improv class I picked up a See magazine to figure out if there are any events tonight that I am missing. On the drive home I realized I was hungry. (See the aforementioned two danish dinner.) At the time I was passing the “Funky Pickle”; Voted best pizza in Edmonton. What, the hey. Let’s have a slice and read the See magazine. So I go around the block and park next to Chianti’s.
To my surprise, the door to Chianti’s is open. Last week at this time it was locked. So I go in and have a nice Italian dinner and glare at the happy couples. It was Valentine’s day, so all the specials were cancelled. Since I didn’t have to confine myself to the “Pasta Frenzy” menu I got the Pollo alla Parmigiana. I love that dish and I have it so rarely. The waitress was cute/nice and working on Valentine’s day so I gave her a big tip.
Now that I’m home, I’ve read the See magazine. Doesn’t seem like there was anything happening tonight. Of course if I had been on the ball I could have seen “An Omni-Sexual Adventure” presented by Sex Positive Innovations on Saturday.

A number of irregular traditions are falling apart today.
I have, in the past, made it a habit of going to Chianti’s on Valentine’s Day. Usually I glare at the happy couples. I was going to go again today, because I go on Mondays anyway. However, I couldn’t get a reservation. So instead of a nice Italian dinner that might be romantic if I weren’t eating alone, I had two danishes for supper.
The other tradition was to try going to a singles party. Some bar usually hosts an event for single people to feel proud of the aloneness, and hopefully hook up with some other lonely person. They usually fall flat for me. I don’t do well in bar atmospheres and wind up going home more depressed than when I arrived. I don’t even know which bar is going to have a single event tonight. This year though, I have an improv class to go to. I’m actually surprised it hasn’t been cancelled. I would have thought the teacher would have something more productive to do.

The exhaustion continues

The run this morning was great. Good running weather, only -2 degrees, the footing was good (especially compared to last week) and the rebellion went off acceptably. The map at the front of the store today showed the 23km route as taking us through downtown and offering spectacular views of the river valley. However, the person in charge of the marathon clinic wanted people to do the god-d@3n winter route. The route that offers no spectacular views and I am totally sick of. Her reasoning was that it was too easy to get lost with the other route. So, planting the seeds of rebellion, I successfully got the run changed to the downtown route while her back was turned. We did get a bit lost, but nothing too serious.
She was upset when we met up with her at brunch, but I feel no guilt. Variety is the spice of life.
During the brunch I noticed a girl sitting alone reading a Piers Anthony Xanth novel. I haven’t read a Xanth novel in over a decade (I found them targeted for a younger audience than I was), but I was still familiar with the series. So I spent half an hour sucking up the courage to approach and talk to her. I eventually did, so I don’t have to feel bad about missed opportunities. I just talked briefly about the series. I have no idea what her name is, but I still look at this as an accomplishment. I talked to a girl I didn’t know!
I talked to my sister today. She was feeling depressed over having one night at the bar which was like every night at the bar for me. I cheered her up. It always helps someone’s mood to see that there is someone more pathetic than they are.

My condo is a mess and I blame the back alley. Let me elaborate
Last year I purchased a nice deck chair. Probably spent too much on it, but it was nice to use to sun myself with. Now that winter is here (has been for awhile) I brought it indoors with the intention of putting it into my storage locker. Up until an hour ago it was still taking up the lion’s share of the space in my computer room. It was surprising how used to it I got. Even with it gone now, it feels weird not to avoid it while migrating to the computer.
The reason it took me so long to put it into my storage locker is that the locker is only a cage within the parking garage. Because the back alley, that the garage opens onto, is not paved, it is incredibly dusty down there. I could not justify putting an expensive deck chair down there.
So today I finally got around to buying a plastic tarp. I spent about two to three hours trying to get the tarp wrapped around the inside of the locker. Now that I have protection against the dust, I’ve taken the chair down.
With the elephant in the corner gone, I can now focus on some of the more achievable mountains of insurrection in the war against mess.

The sushi I ate yesterday might have been a bit off. Or else it had seafood that doesn’t agree with me (e.g. shrimp). Either way I had an upset stomach in the middle of the night. I like it when this happens because then my dreams become a lot more interesting. In my younger days I would have gotten nightmares, but now that I’m older, they just become ones with good story-lines.
I wish I could remember dreams better. It seems that the harder you try to hold on to them, the more they slip away. The dream I had seemed to be a combination of “Knights of the Dinner Table” and Halo (there was a lot of running around and killing things) but also a B movie with a Titanic budget (I forget why the legion of women warriors was involved, but I wasn’t complaining when they came to the rescue.) There were two parts, set a hundred years apart, when threats long thought passed were released unto the world. It had everything! If it was a movie, I would happily pay to go see it.
When the dream was over I tried to run it through my head to keep it. But even though you can’t imagine forgetting something that exciting, it is amazing how quickly it just vanishes from your mind. All that I’m left with are a few brief images and the feeling of loss. What was that thing pinned to the ground through the stomach in an alien machine. I do remember that releasing it was a bad thing. I think it was the same being whose army was destroyed by the protagonists running around with shotguns.

The work continues. The wall looks, well pretty much the same, but there is more spackle and he brought in some buckets of stuff. I’ve been told they will be done the wall tomorrow, and then I just have to wait for carpet guy. My fear on that count is due to a rumor I’ve heard. The flash flood that hit Edmonton back in summer caused a lot of flooding, and only now are they getting around to some of the repairs. So carpet people can’t be had for love or money.
Guess we’ll see.
Improv class was easy today. We had constructive criticism for the first hour and a half. I need to forget about being a guy who watches Improv, and start being a guy who does Improv. Commit to the scene and don’t smirk, or check with the audience, when I say something funny. I give good offers, but I seem to block myself immediately after giving them.
The last hour was the tap-out game, as perfected by “The Crumbs” of Winnipeg. I think it went very well, and I did some good improvising. Although we never seemed to let any scene last for very long.

I ran on the treadmill yesterday. Right after I bought new running shoes. The advantage of the treadmill is that it is consistent. I can set a high speed and I have to keep up with it. And it’s easy to compare to other runs. The thing to remember is that a treadmill isn’t the real world. When you are outside pounding pavement there is a different feeling, and it is harder. But this treadmill is letting me work on speed, and I’m running on a third day of the week.
So when I did the usual Wednesday run today, it felt good. I think I dragged my group at a higher speed than usual. And afterward, I still felt energetic.
On another note, my constant harassment of the people of Antrim construction has payed off. Today, someone actually came in to repair the flood damage. Three months after the fact. So far all that has happened is that the drywall has been replaced, the expanded moldings have been removed and new ones installed, and the hole in the floor is filled in. Still to come is painting the drywall, installing the carpet underlay and a steam cleaning of the carpet. Plus fixing the damage to the molding around the door that wasn’t there yesterday. I was told everything would be done today, so a little disappointment in an otherwise happy occurrence. Since they effectively have stolen my extra keys, I’m assuming they will come back.

Today I was out of it. I’m still exhausted from the high energy schedule I’ve given myself. So I had an impossible time concentrating on work. I’ll admit I wasn’t very productive. The annoying part is that about half an hour before leaving I started to wake up and was actually making progress. I would have stayed longer, but there is that schedule I’ve given myself.
I got home, and didn’t get myself organized enough to get a dinner. So I decided to go to Chianti after my improv class. I had to miss the first half of the class because I’m on the condo board and it was meeting today. Those meetings take forever, and I blame the fact that we have a lawyer leading them and he wants to do everything by the book. Protect us from liability.
Anyway I did the bit of the class that I could get to, then drove to Chianti. The place was closed. Hardly surprising. It was a quarter to ten. So I came home. Instead of scrounging up something to eat, I instead write in my journal.
I’m feeling quite alert right now.

I’m really exhausted lately. I’m firing on all cylinders and it is leaving me an empty shell. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m barely updating this journal. I’ve got those two improv classes a week, wednesday running, and friday gaming. And the D&D game seems to be making me stay up late to try and get everything ready. These high-level campaigns take a lot of work. So the weekends seem to be taken up with me doing nothing productive, and my place is becoming more and more of a mess because I don’t have time/energy to clean up properly.
I need a day off.
Last week I finally got the details of my mortgage payments from BMO. I only have about $27,000 left to go.
I ran 19km today in horrible traction. I need to buy new runners, and I’ll try and fit that in on monday.
I volunteered for the play “Speaking in tongues” It was good, but it needed an ending. Nothing seems to have one these days.

Since I’m not going to Europe this year (if ever) I decided to sign up again for another Jamaican vacation in November. I put a deposit down for the same trip as last year. If I signed up now it was $100 cheaper than if I waited. Which would have also been a good idea, because this is my RRSP month. All excess funds go towards as much RRSP as I can manage.