Nov 122013

S358_28142889665_850_no last week I turned 41.

This is kinda mind-blowing to me, as I am now officially “in” my forties. I’m no longer just 40. Oh, no. I have now fallen off the cliff into being middle-aged. That nebulous time when we’re supposed to be all grown up but we still don’t really know what the hell we are doing and we spend all of our time trying to get everyone around us not to see that.

It’s fun. No, really. I also enjoy playing the “what hurts this morning?” game and having to squint when I read small print. It’s just lovely.

I wasn’t inspired to write this post because of angst over my current age bracket, though. What actually got me to blow the dust off the old WordPress server was the decision to come clean about a few things.

You see, folks…In many ways I’m not your typical member of Generation X.

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May 212013


Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

I have a theory about the J.J. Abrams Star Trek universe. It’s likely wrong, because Abrams seems pretty well content to just do whatever he wants regardless of whether or not it makes any kind of sense (see : The Enterprise at the bottom of an ocean), but it’s a theory I have nonetheless.

The Abrams Trek universe is actually an alternate Mirror Universe.

What follows is a whole bunch evidence that demonstrates, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I spend far too much time thinking about this kind of shit. Some of what follows here isn’t necessarily canon, but it’s the best info we have so I’m going to go with it.

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May 102013

13043_180464084665_5355595_nIf I was put on the spot and forced to choose, I would have to say that the picture here on the right is my favorite of all the pictures that have been taken of me in the last few years.


My mother took it a few years ago when we were spending a family weekend out at the Tradewinds resort on St. Petersburg Beach. It was one of those “snapped it at just the right time” pictures, as I looked up right as Mom took it. I’m comfortable, relaxed, not posing, and…thin.

Well, about as close to thin as I’ll likely ever be.

I don’t like the pictures that are being taken of me these days. I don’t like them because they are evidence of how far I’ve slid since that picture was taken. They are reminders of the fact that I’ve stopped running, hell that I hardly ever get off my ass to exercise these days. They are evidence that I’ve stopped paying close attention to what I eat, and I’ve gone back to my habit of twos (always ordering two of something, always have seconds, etc…). I don’t like them because they show, indisputably, the 60 pounds or so I’ve put on since it was taken.

I’ve talked at length about all the excuses I have for the weight I put on, my health “problems” being the primary culprit. I put “problems” in quotes because, really, the things that I’ve dealt with have been more annoying than anything else. I haven’t been incapacitated, just…inconvenienced.

I kept things up pretty well through the run of Biloxi Blues last year, but after that I went downhill pretty quickly. I could, of course, pull out other excuses for that. Oh, I dunno…like “major life changing events” maybe? This last year has been a roller coaster of extreme highs and extreme lows in my personal life. Some of that is still going on now, and there are still nights when bad food and alcohol are the only things that seem to bring any comfort. I started smoking again around February of last year as well. Because, you know, if you’re eating like shit, not exercising, and drinking too much? Ya might as well throw cigarettes back on the table while you’re at it, right?

I’ve managed to put the cigarettes back down again by replacing them with an e-cigarette, but beyond that? I’m still pretty much looking at starting over from scratch as far as my diet and exercise are concerned. No, I still haven’t put back on ALL the weight I lost after my strokes back in 2000 (I’m still 109 pounds less than I was back then), but I’ve put enough weight back on that I’m noticing it. A lot. Physically and mentally. I’m not moving around as well, and I’ve got aches and pains I haven’t had in years. Most of my clothes fit poorly, and the ones that fit properly have sizes on the tags that make me cringe.

Oh, and I hate having my picture taken.

So I suppose this is yet another in a long line of “I’m really trying to do something about this” posts. I’ve re-upped my membership at LA Fitness and sometime within in the next few weeks I’d really like to start training to run again. I’m especially motivated to do so because there’s a show coming up next year that I’d really like a shot at being in, but it’s another military role. In my current shape? Not thinking it would be very likely I get cast.

I guess…I dunno? Wish me luck?

A less than stellar ending to this post, I admit.

Apr 052013

So I am writing this post using the WordPress app on my new iPad. I do not mention this as some kind of surreptitious brag, but more as a form of disclaimer to head off any criticisms of horrible spelling or wretched formatting that may appear below.

I do have a totally awesome new iPad, though.

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Jan 312013

Damn it, Bones, you’re a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!

– Captain James Tiberius Kirk

I’ve been documenting the mundane details of my life online for a quite a while now. I originally started a hand-coded blog on my personal web site back in May of 2000. A few years later I moved over to LiveJournal, and for a while there I blogged just about every damn day. Honestly, though? Most of those blog posts had little more content than a standard Twitter post these days. Which is why, when Twitter came out, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that I’d make the jump to that particular service. For a while there I had a service that aggregated my twitter posts over to my LiveJournal blog every day, but back then people were getting all bitchy about that so I turned that feature off. In time, I signed up for Facebook and Google Plus, and as things started to get weird in LiveJournal land I decided to move my blog to WordPress and transfer all of the content over.

In the midst of all of this I also did some blogging for ShrinkGeek and WowInsider. I’m sure there’s other places out there that I’ve added content to as well, but damned if I know what all of them are.

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Jan 312013

Well, I got another email from the folks over at This time from their Marketing Specialist.

My name is Candice, I’m the marketing specialist at Costumes4Less. I read you post about Costumes4Less and also talked to my management. Please accept our sincerest apologizes. Our SEO team is in the process of getting SPAMMy websites to remove any links to us. Our SEO team is only trying to remove links that they believe to be “unnatural” and clearly theyhave mistaked that with your post. I read your “Sexy Halloween History” and feel that you are spot on and I enjoyed your humor!! This email from our SEO dept should not have been sent to you. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  We are taking actions to see why they made this mistake.  You do not need to remove the link. Once again please accept sincerest apologies from us.  Please email me with questions/concerns.  I’m also sorry to hear we won’t have your business if there is anything we can do to change your mind please let me know.  Thank you for your time and I’m so sorry for this mess!

As I said to Candice in my reply, I very much appreciate her reaching out to me and I accept their apology completely.

What I find most interesting about this is the fact that I didn’t contact the company directly at all. I never replied to the email requesting that the link be taken down.


Jan 302013

So I got an interesting email this morning.

Hi Michael ,

I am the owner of the website I would  request you to remove my post/link from your website at your earliest , as the same is affecting our website’s reputation in Search Engine. Please see the below link where my link has been placed:

Waiting for your positive response.

Thanks & Regards

Now when I first read this, I thought he/she was actually talking about my Sexy Halloween History post. I knew I had written about sexy Halloween costumes at one point in the past, and I figured the owner of this site didn’t want me linking to something on his where I was bagging on said costumes. Fair enough, I suppose. I mean, I’m generally under the impression that traffic is traffic, but whatever. If I was bagging on one of his costumes and he didn’t want the link, so be it. I can take that down.

But, no. This was not a post about sexy costumes at all. This was a post about how my Mother had cobbled together a Zorro costume for me when I was a kid. It’s a post about my low self-esteem and how I love Halloween and wish I had the confidence in my physical appearance to actually dress up for it.

And THAT is bad for the reputation of his site? Really?

So, ok. I decided to do a little research. Maybe my SEO is just so damned incredible that I rank higher for people looking for hats than the site that actually sells them.


Hrm. Nope. I even dug through several pages. I don’t show up anywhere.

So the only thing I can think is that, at some point, someone has read my post and clicked on the link, and that showed up in their analytic reports. This, somehow, is bad for their reputation.

Well, I’m sorry that isn’t interested in traffic from my site. I’m sorry that feels that I’m bad for their image. But mostly? I’m sorry that is run by someone who apparently can’t even put together an intelligible email or actually do some research into the posts he is claiming are so very bad for his “website reputation in Search Engine.”

I’m also sorry, but he won’t be getting any business from me in the future.

Edit – The company has reached out to me at this point and offered up a pretty sincere sounding apology.

Nov 272012

As most of our friends know at this point, Lisa and I are going to be married in the early part of 2013.

What you don’t know is that you probably aren’t going to be at the wedding.

This isn’t because we don’t like you. This isn’t because we don’t want to celebrate our marriage with our friends and family. This isn’t even because we are cheap and don’t want to spend the money necessary to have a big wedding.

There are several reasons, really. Logistics play into things quite heavily (namely the fact that there are travel arrangements involved, and I’m also likely to be in the middle of a show run when the event happens), as does the fact that both of us have been married before and don’t really feel the need to have a big, elaborate ceremony. The fact of the matter is that we’ve even discussed eloping on more than one occasion and the idea is incredibly appealing.

Ultimately, though, the reason we are keeping this as small is possible is because we want the focus of the day to be on us and our children. We want them to be involved, and we don’t want our focus pulled in 1,000 different directions worrying about food, guests, schedules, receptions, egos, and whether or not everyone knows how to do the Chicken Dance.

This ceremony is about them as much as it is about us, and THAT is where our focus is going to be.

As I said above, though, it’s not as though we don’t want to celebrate the occasion with our friends. Far from it. Some time after the actual ceremony we are going to throw a party. It will be a no-gifts-required-or-expected, casual, celebration of our vows. There will be food, drink, and (hopefully) great conversation. There will be cake. That, my friends, you’re likely to be part of. We sincerely hope you choose to be, anyway.

But the ceremony itself? Probably not.

We really hope you understand.

Aug 022012

Yeah, that’s right. I’m back after a few months of silence to talk about the Chick-Fil-A boycott. Because, you know, bandwagons are fun to jump on.

Seriously, though. I’ve seen a few folks post some things over on Facebook (or, as I like to call it, “The place where I learn shit about people I like that I really wish I didn’t know”) that have kinda gotten under my skin. I’ve also received a very polite and insightful e-mail from my Conservative Vice-Presidential running mate, Craig, that brought up a few interesting points. With all that in mind, I decided that I wanted to put down a few of my thoughts regarding the controversy.

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Jun 202012

Image courtesy of upside of inertia via flickr

I often wonder what the actual threshold is for being able to claim that you are a “professional” in any given activity. The basic definition I have always used is whether or not you get paid for what you do. I have been paid to act in every production I have been in since 2001 (with one exception), so I am comfortable calling myself a professional actor. Is that enough, though? I mean, if you do ONE show in your entire life when you get a paycheck can you call yourself a professional? Is there a minimum number of shows you should do? Should you have to have an Equity card? Perhaps you can only say you are a professional if you actually make a living acting.

I was recently part of a production of Biloxi Blues that was criticized by Tampa Bay Times writer John Flemming as being “amateurish” because nobody in the cast was a member of Actors’ Equity. This caused a bit of a stir in the Tampa Bay area, because the fact is that around here most of the paid actors who appear on our stages are NOT members of the union. He, in a nutshell, called anyone out who didn’t have a card as being an amateur. Needless to say, that rankled.

I feel this way about my blogging on occasion as well. This blog has never generated any kind of revenue in the past. I have sold a few of my Cafe Press T-shirts, but those sales have come through direct links on my Twitter feed or through people stumbling across my shirts in the Cafe Press store. I got some work at WoWInsider as a result of being a part of the now-defunct ShrinkGeek blog, though, so I wonder if I can now say I’m a professional blogger? I’ve been paid to write for a blog that gets millions of page views every month, so does that count? Or do I have to actually be working full-time as a blogger to earn this achievement.

My former boss decided, after his position with our company was eliminated, that he was going to try earning his keep by playing poker. Does that make him a professional poker player, or does he only get that distinction if he shows up on ESPN in one of those big tournaments? Is it enough for him to make his living by playing through a web site like [redacted]?

Does the fact that I’m now getting offers to place paid advertisements on my blog make me a professional?

Or does it make me a sell out?

Does the fact that I wrote an entire post about the subject in order to include a paragraph that was relevant to the advertisement that was purchased add or detract to my sell out factor?

Do you see what I did there?

Yeah, I figured you did.

Maybe I’m less professional and more prostitute, but daddy has bills to pay and this blog ain’t paying for itself.

Edit – April 24, 2014

So I was asked to remove the link to the site in question due to my advertising no longer being needed. Funny, that. They only paid me for a year, but I completely forgot about this and they could have just let it ride forever rent-free. Ah well.