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Blake Walker

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The Greatest Concert of All Time!!!! [Jul. 14th, 2006|04:17 pm]
Blake Walker
I was doing a little internet investigating the other day when I came upon the knowledge of the greatest I never saw: The Clash with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five!!!!

You can keep your Beatles on Ed Sullivan and your Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, I'm taking the mother fucking Clash with Grandmaster Flash!

At the end of the 70's, beginning of the 80's, The Clash were huge fans of the first great rap group, so much so they wrote the song "Magnificent Seven". The song features Joe Strummer doing an amateurish, but brilliant rap, inspired by this new infant art form.

Ultimately, the pull-no-punches, no-holds-barred, punk crowd proved to be one of the most narrow minded groups of assholes around. The antogonism of the punk crowd and unreliable PA forced Flash and the 5 off the tour.

I love how punk is supposed to be anarchistic and liberating but as soon as something slightly adventurous appears, punks fucking lose their shit and start adheering to codes and regulations.

That's why The Clash are legends and their fans are just followers. The Clash saw the potential of rap music, as did Blondie when they produced the song "Rapture," also brilliant.

Every time I think of seeing Grandmaster Flash open for The Clash I drool a little bit.
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(no subject) [Jul. 12th, 2006|11:37 am]
Blake Walker
I feared this day might come. Although, I thought it would happen in my late 30's, maybe even my early 40's...

I love world music!

Have you heard what the Africans are doing these days? It's fucking amazing! And Afro-Cuban music has to be one of the greatest concepts of all time.

There's something so incredibly cool about it.

I first caught wind of a group called Ochestra Baobab, back in 2002 or 2003. This was helped by an early love for Serge Gainsbourg (music whose words I don't understand but love) and Damon Albarn's Mali Music c.d.

Orchestra Baobab make me wish I was in a hut somewhere in the middle of the African desert, throwin' back tall boys to save my life while they bang that badass Afro-Cuban soundscape against the echos of lions, tigers and elephants.

Right now I'm hooked on a Brazilian singer/songwriter named Tom Ze. He came out with a new c.d. this year and it's Brazilliant!

Particularly, Ze has a song called "Duas Opinioes" where he duets with one of the sexiest, sultriest, weepiest lady singers I've ever heard.

It's one of the best songs of the year, check it out!

Another couple of artists you should hear are Amadou & Mariam, a married couple who qualify as Africa's biggest musical superstars.

You can never go wrong with Manu Chao, Buena Vista Social Club and of course Damon Albarn's Mali Music, a gringo inspired African album with a little bit of Moracco in the mix.
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Football & Country Music [Jun. 1st, 2006|10:09 am]
Blake Walker
I found out that Arthur Miller was a football star in his youth and couldn't fight in World War II because of a football injury. Fortunately he had a brilliant sense of dramatic structure to fall back on.
There were men who committed suicide during World War II because they were rejected by the recruitment office.
You know who else was a football star? Jack Kerouac, a leader of the anti-establishment Beat generation.
It seems like there are no real men left in the world.
Not that sports determine masculinity but rather social behavior determines grit.
I can't remember who it was or whether it was on TV or on the radio but someone was talking about how during the second half of the twentieth century there was so much focus on individuality that a lot of people took it to mean resigning from society.
Before the 1950's people took pride in community and moving up and being influential in their communities. It wasn't just the people who wanted to be rich and/or famous, there were people who wanted to be the guy or gal who everyone could rely on in their small town. This also included people who wanted to help the local sports team win state or people who wanted to operate general stores where you could get anything you needed.
Individuals during the first half of the twentieth century wanted to be a part of something and successful within that collective. Once upon a time that meant success.
Jack Kerouac and Arthur Miller played football, they loved football and they also happened to see the world in a way that wasn't being addressed. They were both brilliant because of themselves, not in spite of themselves.
Pablo Picasso loved bull fights because to the average Spaniard bull fights were fun, exciting communal events. He wasn't such a cool artist that he was above the rituals of the masses:



If Picasso were American and if he were alive today he'd be at Dodger Stadium every week.
The reason country music doesn't exist anymore is because there are no real men or women left.
What you have now is rural pop music, but country music is deader than rock 'n' roll.
All male country musicians have frosted tips, cowboy hats and tans and all female country musicians shave their legs.
The original country musicians were gentlemen and ladies with demons.
The original country songs concerned murder, drinking, infidelity and blues.
Today you have Alan Jackson singing "Well, it's all right to be little bitty":

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The Verdict or how I Learned to Stop Worrying and Say Fuck the Justice System! [Apr. 25th, 2006|01:53 pm]
Blake Walker
My trial ended yesterday after deliberations that lasted a day and some change.

I was on the jury. Just over a week ago I reported for jury duty in downtown Los Angeles.
All that week (April 10th-14th) I had called in each night and each night I was informed that I wouldn't have to report until Thursday evening when fate decided to be cruel. I figured there was a good chance I wouldn’t have to serve. After all, no one I knew personally ever served on a jury. I knew people who reported, waited all day without hearing their names called and then went home, but I didn't think anyone actually served. I figured that jury duty was some third world problem you always hear about.

As fate would have it, I ended up being selected to serve on a jury of my “peers”. Yes, I screamed, cried, kicked and cursed. Fortunately for me, I suppose, I was selected for a civil trial which would only take 5-7 days of my life that I could never recover. My job only covers ten days of jury duty. This process managed to wrap itself up in seven.

The case, you ask? A woman slipped and fell on a bottle of shampoo at Food 4 Less somewhere in Watts. She and her council claimed that discs were ruptured in her neck and back, causing damage that made it impossible for her to live her life the way she used to.

Give me a second...as I’m writing this I feel anger rising inside my veins...just a second...okay, we’re back.

You should know that the lawyer this woman hired, a man named Kyle Madison, is the worst lawyer of all time. You show me your worst lawyer and I’ll laugh in your face. To give you an idea, just imagine if George W. Bush and David Brent from The Office had a bastard child and got it drunk and took it ice-skating. Oh yeah, and the bastard is retarded.

There was no preparation, no discipline, no nothing! How the fuck did this guy manage to pass the bar exam and then open his own law firm? Well, we found out at the end of the trial that Madison had been an insurance claim representative for 7 years and then a lawyer for the last seven. Here’s the kicker, this was his first trial. Surprise! Looking back on it now though, the “it’s my first trial,” excuse was just pathetic and insufficient.

On the first day of the trial during his opening statement, Kyle Madison had to stop and take a break because he admitted to feeling “nervous”. We took a 15 minute break on his behalf. When we came back he apologized to us because he had been staying up late preparing for the trial.

For the duration of the trial Kyle Madison was the drowning victim and Frank Dioro, the defense attorney representing Ralph’s and Food 4 Less, was the shark. I have the utmost confidence that every single person on the jury, and I’m not trying to be cute, would have represented the plaintiff better than Kyle Madison could have in his most fantastical dreams.

It is now a court ordinance that the juror’s be allowed to ask questions. We wrote our questions on little pieces of paper, sent them to the judge who reviewed them and then supplied them to the both sides. The lawyers would then determine which questions to ask.

Basically, time and time again we picked up the slack, asking all the pertinent questions Mr. Madison was to ass-backwards to think of.

Meanwhile, Frank Dioro, the council for the defendant was a bat out of hell. Every time Dioro got up he bitched-slapped Madison like a poor step child.

Here’s the difference. Kyle Madison had a partner from his firm and a paralegal in his employment helping to keep his fucking act together the whole time. He carried bags, files, briefcases and records because he didn’t want to miss a note. Frank Dioro, carried a binder containing all the medical records and records of operation for Food 4 Less, a binder that both sides were entitled to. Beyond that, Dioro just sat and listened, taking few notes while biding his time. All of a sudden, Bam! Thwok! Bitch Slap! Bitch Slap! As the trial wore on, Kyle Madison managed to help the defense council reduce him to a pile of coagulated residue.

It was sad, awkward, painful, embarrassing, and all of those words synonymous.

Whatever people tell you about trials depicted in television and films being dramatized and heightened is bullshit. Trials, even civil trials, are filled with flamboyant melodramatic lightning bolts. It is a fucking show to be sure. I have seen few plays, television shows or movies that twisted my gut the way that this trial did. It’s interactive, 3-D drama. I wish I had pop corn in my lap the whole time.

Here is what you need to know about the evidence and of course I’m biased because I voted:

Gail McCraney, a 42 year old black woman, walked in to a Food 4 Less store on April 23, 2003 (remember that date) in a hurry to buy some soda. Upon entering aisle 4 (the pop aisle) she slipped and fell on a saucer sized puddle of clear Herbal Essences (only one witness testified to the brand) shampoo.

Food 4 Less employees are required to inspect and sweep the premises once every hour. The accident occurred around 8:30 p.m. The “sweep sheet,” was signed off on at 8:10 and then not again until the following hour.

Of the 4 employees working that night who took the stand, they all testified to sweeping the floor at least once every 15 minutes or so even though they were only required to sweep once every hour.

The burden of proof required the plaintiff to convince the jury that Ralph’s was shirking their responsibility from the bottom to the top.

The reason they needed to prove this was because Gail McCraney claims to have received life altering, debilitating injuries as the result of her fall. Specifically, her council claimed that a jelly like substance found inside the bones between the discs in her neck (not unlike the air bubble cushions in the bottoms of some sneakers) had torn and ruptured inside of her, causing immeasurable pain.

Over the course of the trial we heard the testimonies of five expert witnesses, expert in reading MRI’s and X-Rays, four of which determined beyond the shadow of a doubt that her physical symptoms did not result from the trauma incurred. Instead, they determined that all of her physical symptoms and pain were the result of a pre-existing physical condition that occurs in every human being and may or may not cause severe pain.

After almost unanimous medical testimony my decision had been made. 4 out of 5 medical doctors declared that she did not suffer from the incident in question and according to Ralph’s policy the employees were only required to check and sweep the floor once an hour, which they often did every fifteen minutes.

Plus, Gail McCraney’s lawyer was an excuse for a human being who managed to prove not a goddamn thing. Kyle Madison’s only real strategy was to drag Gail McCraney’s kids into the court room and have them testify that their was a god fearing and wonderful person so that the jury would smother her with cash.

I hate Kyle Madison. He is a smug slime ball who shouldn’t be allowed a license. Frank Dioro is also sleaze personified but at least he’s good at his job which I find a lot less disgusting in this case.

In the spirit of playing Devil’s Advocate, I will impart you with two final pieces of information that will undoubtedly affect what you think. Ralph’s and Food 4 Less keep video cameras trained on every corner of every aisle of every store. As soon as an accident occurs, the video tape is reviewed and then mailed to the corporate office with a report of the incident, unfortunately Ralph’s claims to have lost the tape. The missing could be a sign of negligence but the more you dwell on it the more you delve into dirty corporate dealing which I believe to be another trial entirely.

With that said, the incident occurred literally 3 years ago. 3 years ago! The plaintiff filed suit two months ago. We have no idea what kind of injuries could have occurred during that time.

Three key pieces of information we as the jury weren’t entitled to or never had proven to us: 1.) How long the shampoo was on the floor 2.) How it got all the way over to the soda aisle and 3.) What Gail McCraney’s medical expenses were over the last three years.

So, we the jury, deliberated. It was our job to determine three things: 1.) Was Food 4 Less negligent? 2.) Was negligence the result of substantial injury to the plaintiff? 3.) What should the plaintiff be awarded in the way financial compensation?

Just to spare you the boring details of the deliberation I voted that Food 4 Less wasn’t negligent. So for me the point about determining substantial injury was moot. Unfortunately 10 of the other jurors voted that Food 4 Less was negligent (in a civil trial you only need 9 votes to reach a verdict). Most of my fellow jurors decided that Food 4 Less’s policy was evidence of neglect. They felt that a policy requiring store employees to sweep only once an hour was neglectful while admitting that Kyle Madison had failed to prove anything.

Next, was Food 4 Less responsible for causing substantial injury? No! No, I said. They weren’t neglectful so they weren’t responsible. Most of my fellow jurors even admitted that 4 out of 5 doctors testifying to no resulting injury was hard to beat. Then, somewhere in the deliberations we started talking damages awarded before we took a vote on substantial injury.

The average price was $50,000. I said zero. A few people wanted $125,000. I said zero. One man adamantly fought for a price tag of $250,000. I said fuck no.

Many passionate monologues were delivered, full of concern for the plaintiff and how deep in the whole she would find herself financially after all the lawyer and doctor fees. Some how, some of the jurors assumed that Gail McCraney would need money to pay for a $67,000 operation on her neck and spine, this after we all agreed that 4 of 5 doctors determined her injuries to be unrelated to the incident. How the other jurors arrived at $67,000 I have no idea. Meanwhile, my cynical self pictured Gail McCraney buying an island in the Bahamas and her lawyer paying for a weekend at the Bunny Ranch out of pocket.

Finally people were talking around $80,000. I said zero but if you had bent my arm I might have gone to $25,000 just so we could get the fuck out of there and go home.

At this point I learned how truly phenomenal the want and desire to just go home overwhelms the human spirit of the average juror.

I began to sense that what this deliberation was really about was broken hearts. 9 out of 12 jurors had their hearts broken by the poor old maternal lady living under adverse poverty and they wanted to stick it to corporate America even though we all admitted that the plaintiff’s council was a wanker who proved nothing and didn’t deserve to live.

I declared that we shouldn’t vote based on a vague sense of sympathy or revenge and the others vehemently denied that that was the case.

What I learned from this whole experience is that any time a little old black woman is the plaintiff in any case the other side is going down, without question. Reverse racism.

I think juries tend to think they are making a statement when they deliver a verdict. Unfortunately, despite my reasoning and indignation, they all seemed to think that Food 4 Less would change its store policy as a result of us finding them negligent. We didn’t even know if their store policy is an industry standard, what about all of the other grocery stores in the rest of the country? I was trumped and outnumbered.

There was a black button on the wall connected to a buzzer audible to the bailiff. We were supposed to push it twice when we reached a verdict.

After buzzing, the bailiff came and got us and we took our seats in the jury box. I was juror number 11.

After the judge reviewed the verdict he handed it to his assistant who read it aloud. As he read the awards for damages Gail McCraney started crying (She also cried when her daughter was on the stand talking about what a great mother she is. In all fairness, Frank Dioro never missed an opportunity to let us see him refill Gail McCraney’s cup of water. Insincere, schmuck).

Frank Dioro immediately had us polled after the verdict.

Polling is when each individual juror tells the court how they voted. Frank was not happy and so he was grabbing at straws. I was one of two or three people who voted no negligence, no substantial injury.
When it came to the issue of damages awarded, people gave varying numbers even though we had agreed on $80,000 inside the deliberation room, mostly because it was useless to debate anymore and we just wanted to go home.

I didn’t like it, I didn’t agree with it, but I made sure my indignation was registered and that’s all that I could do.

When they polled me about the damages awarded I went ahead and said $18,000 for lost wages, $31,000 for pain and suffering and $31,000 for future medical expenses.

It twisted my gut to do it and felt really wrong but I hadn’t managed to convince the jury of anything else and I did what was necessary so that we could all go home. Otherwise we would have gone back into the deliberation room and debate the price tag for several more hours or even days.

Once we were dismissed the lawyers on both sides wanted to talk to us out in the hallway.
One of the jurors asked what the terms of the settlement were, and why it didn’t succeed.

(Drum Roll)

We learned that in the failed settlement, predating the trial, the plaintiff had requested $50,000 dollars and Food 4 Less was only willing to award $10,000.

I’ve never felt the stomachs of 12 people collectively drop. We all suddenly wanted to throw up. We had done what we feared the most: Awarded an exorbitant and obscene amount of money in a civil trial/frivolous law suit.

Mind you, had the plaintiff gotten $50,000 her lawyer would have received half of that. Now, we paid her stupid incompetent ass backwards lawyer $40,000 and depending on whether or not her injuries are founded, Gail McCraney is taking the family to EuroDisney.

One of my fellow jurors, a man named John who was a banker, sharply dressed at all times and on my side during the deliberation, kicked and cursed his way down the hallway, spitting anger over the fact that he wasted a week of his life over this bullshit.

The reason our stomachs turned all at once was because we could smell the tax payer dollars and the last week and a half of our lives turning to ash.

At least I’m not one of the people who voted in favor of this bullshit claim. That gives me some satisfaction although not much.

Without joking, I really can’t remember the last time I have felt so gross. I was forced by law to participate in something that I truly believe to be unjust and wasteful. I submit that there are meaningful civil law suits out there but I can also assure you that this wasn’t one of them.

I ran away from the lawyers as quickly as I could after the trial. They tried to corner as many of us jurors as possible just to talk shit about the other side and assure us of how petty they both were and are.

When they were talking to all of us in the hallway the cattiness was overflowing and they didn’t care that we were standing there in front of them or that the trial was over.

Before I was assigned to jury duty I was cynical about the process and was angry that a week and a half of my life would be usurped by some frivolous law suit. Post trial I’m just disgusted, having had all my worst fears realized and then some.

This is my advice: if ever you get called for jury duty then don’t do it. At least depending on what you think of the case, do whatever you can to get out. My biggest regret at the time was not telling both sides during the selection that I wouldn’t be able to be objective. I told them that I could be objective because I thought that’s what I supposed to do. I was wrong.

If you do get assigned then don’t settle if you disagree. Argue into the ground. Today I’m thinking of things I could have said to sway a few more people but this whole thing has been a learning curve and now I feel nauseated by the justice system. I started out as a cynic and now I just feel gross.
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My First Strip Bar [Mar. 29th, 2006|08:54 am]
Blake Walker
In 2001 I was playing a Spirit (a.k.a. chorus member) in the Dallas Shakespeare Festival production of The Tempest. The production was directed by a man named David Bell who had flirted with glory but through a series of misteps now found himself doing Shakespeare outdoors to an audience of mesquitos. Before coming to Dallas David Bell had just written, directed and opened his musical adaptation of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venu, on the Las Vegas strip. To say that Bell brought some of that Vegas aesthetic to his production of The Tempest would be a gross understatement.

This Tempest had everything: sequens, head-dresses, musical numbers, large feathers, scantily clad females and cod pieces for all the boys in the chorus (before the end of the run all the cod pieces had deflated except for mine. I was very proud). We rehearsed in-doors, we rehearsed in the boiling heat and we wrapped up production all within in an 8 week stretch. I spent my days when I wasn't rehearsing getting high and eating mushrooms. One of my best friends at the time was a drug dealer and virtually the only person in Dallas selling shrooms that year. I think I tripped a total of 10 or 12 times from the beginning of 2001 through the fall of that year.

On the weekends David Bell would treat the entire cast to expensive dinners and countless drinks. Looking back on it now it sounds like I was leading a fairly care-free blissful existence except that I was lonely and getting high was the only thing I looked forward to.

On one such weekend one of my fellow Spirits named Chris was having his 18th birthday. David Bell was determined to make Chris' birthday the mother of them all. Bell took the entire cast out to one of the most upscale steak houses in Dallas. I was twenty at the time but to David Bell's credit all of us who were under age drank merrily without question that evening and none of us had to pay. Afterward David Bell wanted to perform a right of passage for Chris and so we all caravaned to a strip bar. There was a sign outside that advertised the strip bar's fully equipped buffet and salad bar. I remember adding "dining at a strip bar," to the list of things I will avoid at all costs for as long as I live. The strip bar also required its patrons to wear button down shirts. Most of us were in shorts and t-shirts.

After being rejected by the upscale strip joint, we moved on further down the road to a place called the Dallas Gentelemen's Club, a pack of liquored up thespians looking for a good time.

Once inside, the girl at the door asked if we were all of legal age. David Bell told the girl we were there for a bachelor party and suddenly we were in without any further inquiries. The "bachelor" in question was Tim, the foley expert/dramaturg for The Tempest who worked as an actor in Chicago and dated Anne Heche's sister. That evening Tim (who wasn't actually getting married) got so drunk on Everclear that he took off his shirt, break danced on stage with several strippers and missed his flight back to Chicago the next morning. He almost died of alcohol poisoning.

Throughout the evening David Bell, a man spending out of control, would point out the respective male members of the cast to prospective strippers, hand the strippers $20 bills and watch as they went to work, excitting a bunch of drunk young drama dorks.

I recieved more lap dancers from more ass-backwards, trailer trash Mexican women with pot bellies than I care to remember. What started out as fun and slightly erotic became tiresome and boring by a certain point.

It was later revealed to me that David Bell dropped $3,0000 that night. Happy Birthday, Chris!

All in all, it was fun but creepy. I never thought my first experience at a strip bar would turn out to be a bizarre social experiment. At any point in my development, I could have had some titties hit me in the face, drunk a few drinks and then retired for the evening, calling that my first strip bar experience. But how many people can claim to have been wined and dined by a randy old gay man with too much money and a craving for watching young straight guys get off?
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Favorite Films Of The Year [Jan. 10th, 2006|09:28 am]
Blake Walker
1. Capote - Phil Hoffman gives the performance of his career. In addition, he didn't eclipse the movie, everything he did served this story and effectively made you feel both equal parts disgusted and enthralled with Truman Capote and his legacy.

I loved every inch of this movie. Not least of which the production design. I was left wishing that I could attend some swanky literary party full of back stabbing New York socialites in the 1950's.

I can't wait to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman play the bad guy in Mission Impossible 3.

2. A Histroy Of Violence - I haven't read the graphic novel but David Cronenberg took a huge risk playing with surrealism throughout and still exploring complex relationships and consequences. I've talked to a lot of people who didn't appreciate the film's heightened nature especially the action sequences which seemed too slick and coreographed, like they were taken from a Schwarzenneger film or any of the Die Hard movies.

To me the film set out to cast violence in a very sexy light and then have the family in the story deal with the consequences in a very messy way that movies seldom if ever address.

The shock of the film was not the gore or the ability of the film's make-up artist to build a face that looked like it had sincerely exploded but in the storyteller's ability to unprepare you for that explosion and then strain the family's relations in the interim between the violent parts of the movie.

Sex becomes more violent, parenting becomes more violent, in so many ways that are boiling just below the surface.

There were times during the film where I felt short of breath in between the gore.

Once you let violence into your life it becomes the pink elephant in the room for the rest of time.

You may never beat anyone up, you may never kill anyone, you might just lose your cool one day and shove someone to the ground who steps in front of you at the ATM but it's possible that you will never be the same.

3. Good Night, And Good Luck - Short but sweet. The editing was amazing. George Clooney really should direct more movies and contiue working extensively behind the scenes. The acting was pitch perfect, the style was delicious.

This movie was filled with all of the greatest bit players and character actors around. It's almost as if they made a list of the greatest, most underrated character actors around and then established a forum for them to bounce off each other.

I'll tell you this, if Phillip Seymour Hoffman doesn't win for Best Actor at the Oscars then David Strathairn should get it. Who didn't love Strathairn as slimey high class pimp Pierce Pachet in L.A. Confidential? Who didn't appreciate what he did for the blind by playing a sightless, brail reading computer genius in Sneakers? David Strathairn deserves an Oscar every time he steps out.

It's funny, back in the early 60's Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible, a metaphor for the McCarthy era. Today, George Clooney made Good Night, And Good Luck (about the McCarthy era), a metaphor for the unsettling behavior of the current United States government.

Thank you for political statements brave enough to be understated, classy and stylish. This film just may end up being more effective and impressive than ten Michael Moore documentaries.

On top of everything Good Night, And Good Luck is still a great time at the movies.

I'll write more later...
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Life Lessons [Jan. 3rd, 2006|11:34 am]
Blake Walker
LESSON 1

I was listening to NPR when they mentioned that someone I knew was stabbed to death back in April. Fearing the worst I got on line and searched the obituaries.

Unfortunately it was the same guy I had known. He was only 32. Apparently he was coming off of work and got caught in the middle of an attempted robbery.

I knew him from taking class at the Groundlings. We didn't really keep in touch but my memories of him are vivid.

Our class went to dinner together on the last day and we drank, ate and talked.

We also had a class party later but he wasn't there for whatever reason. He was really funny and I can remember the scenes I did with him. There was one where we were cherry pickers on a ranch. In another one we were shopping for Hallmark cards.

Some time after our class ended he sent out an e-mail announcing that he had booked an episode of Monk.

Another time I sent out a forward about something or other and he replied to it. He asked me what I was up to, how I was doing. I never responded. It was just one of those things that I let get by me because I procrastinate.

You never know when you'll feel sorry for being bad at keeping in touch.

LESSON 2

A few months ago one of the seniors at the center where I work gave me a set of golf clubs. I kept meaning to ask if he would go with me to the driving range and teach me how to swing.

Suddenly and unexpectedly we found out he had cancer and only had a short time to live. He went into the hospital briefly before returning home to die peacefully. I still have his golf clubs in my room. At some point I should try and learn how to swing.
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Correction [Dec. 29th, 2005|12:41 pm]
Blake Walker
There was an incorrect sentence in my last journal entry. It should read as follows:

*This enabled Man Spiner to secretly become one of the richest men in America.
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Emo Phillips Is Brett Spiner [Dec. 29th, 2005|10:39 am]
Blake Walker
I stayed up all night doing research only to make a startling discovery: Emo Phillips is a character played by actor Brent Spiner of Star Trek fame. For those of you in the dark Brent Spiner played the character Data, a loveable but emotionless cyborg on hit show Star Trek: The Next Generation. And who is Emo Phillips you ask? Emo Phillips is a loveable but emotionless comedian who is well known for playing the shop teacher who severs his own thumb in the Weird Al masterpiece UHF.

For years Brent Spiner has managed to give the performance of a lifetime, literally, without anyone cathing wise. That is until last night when I made my fateful discovery.


Brent Spiner

As a small child Brent Spiner loved playing different characters during bath time and also indulged in the art of funny vocal inflections. When asked if they had any pets Spiner's parents would always tell people that they had "a dog, 2 cats and a chameleon. The chameleon brings more joy to our lives than you'll ever know and he gives command performances in the living room after supper".

In addition to grand characters and funny voices little Brent Spiner had another passion growing up: TAX EVASION!!

Little Brent loved cutting corners and playing hooky whenever the opportuinity presented itself. Sometimes Brent would even diguise himself as his 5th grade teacher and teach class. His classmates and the school's administration were none the wiser.

One day when Brent Turned 21 he realised it was time to become a man and that in the game of life you play by a whole new set of rules.

With a secret love for tax evasion and stand up comedy Man Brent invented a new identity for himslef. That identity was one Emo Phillips.


Emo Phillips

The name Emo comes from his deft ability to play emotionless characters. He chopped off the "Emo," and turned it into a first name. Phillips comes from the love he felt for his favortie composer--John Phillip Sousa, the man responsible for so many patriotic marching band confections. He extracted Phillip and the S from Sousa and turned it into Phillips.

The only thing missing from Spiner's perfect web of deceit was a total anachronism, something so funny looking to the outside eye that the general public would be too delighted to ask questions. Thus, one day when Man Spiner was walking past a renaissance festival he noticed a kiosk selling Prince Valliant wigs. Using his credit card he walked over to Ye Olde Faithful ATM machine and withdrew the mere $20 necessary to complete his master plan.

For the next decade, that being the 90's, Brent Spiner rode a wave of stardust fanatasies through the filter of duality.

He set up seperate bank accounts, acquired seperate social security numbers and even rented a dummy apartment where Emo Phillips was supposed to have been eating, sleeping, shitting and writting comedy. This enabled Man Spiner to secretly one of the richest men in America.

Once upon a time Brent Spiner was the little chameleon of his family's living room but now as Man Spiner he continued endulging in his chameleonic ways inside his new living room called...THE WORLD!

I'm sorry to have shocked you all so bad but there remains one vital piece of information that I have not shared with you. A piece of information so shocking that I almost regret sharing it with you all.

There never was a Brent Spiner, there has only ever been...EMO PHILLIPS!
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Stuff, December 27, 2005 [Dec. 27th, 2005|09:46 am]
Blake Walker
I can't believe Christmas is already over. I can't believe Thanksgiving is already over. This is the first Christmas I've spent here in Los Angeles since 2001. Routinely my family goes back to Texas every year. I miss Texas. I miss my old house in San Antonio and I miss the flatlands. I miss listening to audio books on the long road trip between Los Angeles and San Antonio. I miss traveling from one city with a Spanish name to another.

My sister's in town which is really nice. I haven't seen her since Avril. That's right I said Avril, bitches. That's because I'm going to Paris at the end of January for one completely gratuitous vacation. I'm also stopping over in London. I need to see some good theater. One of the few pieces of theater I've seen that changed my life was in London. It was the Pillowman featuring Jim Broadbent. Jim Broadbent won an Oscar for the movie Iris and he also played the MC in Moulin Rouge.

When I saw the Pillowman I had a revelation that I didn't think I was capable of having. If every piece of theater was as good as that production of the Pillowman then no one would give a shit about television or movies. If I could be guaranteed that every play I saw was going to gut me and then leave me with the responsibility of carrying my own entrails out of the theater, television and movies would be obsolete. As it stands, theater is really hard to do and good theater is even harder. I honestly regarded theater as a dying art form before I saw the Pillowman in London. I didn't care and I found it boring. This was even after I had spent 4 years and thousands of dollars of parents money getting my degree in acting/theater at Southern Methodist University.

I don't know who but someone said the best thing about good theater is you get to breathe the same air as the people living on stage. I remember during the Pillowman when one of the characters lit up a cigarette. The smell of tobacco filled the theater making me feel like I had just been crammed into this tiny interrogation room with the people I was observing making it that much more real and voyeuristic.

That's what good theater is all about.

READ:

The Pillowman

WATCH:

The Wire: Season 1 (and subsequent seasons)

Capote (playing in theaters)

GO SEE:

My Improv show this Thursday, December 29th @ 10:00 p.m. in the...

Andy Dick Theater
@ Improv Olympic
6366 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
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