So we launched a real podcast...

by Nick Smith


Hello, everyone! My good friend Stefan and I have launched our very own shiny new podcast! It is hosted over on his site. It is entitled Investors Needed. You can visit us at investorsneeded.biz! We just released our second episode today.

Stefan and I are ideas men. We're putting our talents to work for you, the capital-I Investor! And you, too, the lower-case-c consumer! We are developing smell-based technologies, damaging valuable electronics, and coming down chimneys in ways that America is absolutely clamoring for! We're solving the problems you didn't even know you had. Give us a listen and let us open your eyes.

Find us in the iTunes store, listen on our website, or use whatever podcast engine that strikes your fancy!

Cheers,
Nick


Nick Likes A Thing! #2. "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)"

by Nick Smith


Hi guys. I like another thing. I like lots of things. There's a constant conversation going in my head about what the best things are. I blame High Fidelity, but frequently I wind up making top 5 lists. One list I've never fleshed out the top 5 of is the best songs ever. Because there's just too many. And there are so many great ones. And so many great ones that I'll forget for years at a time and come back to. And so many great ones that resonate monstrously for 9 months and then only really function as a reminder of where my mind was in those 9 months. When I was a young'un, I determined that "Do You Feel Like We Do?" by Peter Frampton was my favorite song. It was nominally my favorite for several years, until I determined that it no longer belonged in that role. It had most definitely been supplanted by Weezer's "Say It Ain't So." A song that maintains its stranglehold on that spot til this day. I will never tire of it, of that I am fairly certain.

But I never had a real contender for the number 2 spot. And then all of a sudden I realized that a song I already loved was sitting in it without my even knowing it. "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" by Talking Heads was there for me the whole time. I've been a huge Talking Heads fan, and I've always really liked the song. But for some reason about a week ago I started listening to it even more intently and found out that it was hitting me even harder than it ever had before. 

On the DVD of the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense  there is a featurette where David Byrne conducts an interview with himself, in a way that only he can. Discussing this song, he refers to this song as a love song, and the only one he had ever written, due to the enormity of the subject. And the fact that it is the only love song by Talking Heads only contributes to its power.

David Byrne always had a gift for finding beauty in simplicity. The simple repetitive beat keeps things moving at just the right pace for the emotion of the song to flow through without feeling slow. The lyrics are not particularly narrative, and consist mainly of cliches and other vague statements. But this does not cripple the song, because Byrne constructs it in a way that it is all just a little bit off center, grabbing your ear and pulling it towards the emotion he is evoking.

It's just two human beings. And they are home to each other. And they always will be. And everything else is inconsequential. And I like that. 

Normally when a song holds this kind of magnitude in my world I have strong opinions regarding which version you listen to. In this case you can go either way between the studio cut from Speaking In Tongues  and the live version from Stop Making Sense . It is certainly worth viewing the live version if you can track down the film. Byrne's lamp dancing is the type of weird beauty that he's built his career on. I very much enjoy the added vocal harmonies in the live version. But there are a couple subtle mistakes in the bassline that can wear on the ear sometimes. The studio version is obviously mistake-free, and sounds very good. But it does not have quite the same pop as the live version, and the missing harmony section at the end is a bit of a drawback. But you should probably just listen to both.

You probably already knew this song. But I urge you to go give it a closer listen. Maybe it will hit you in the same weak points it hit me. And even if it doesn't, everyone should listen to more Talking Heads anyway, so I'm not going to feel bad about it. 

Cheers,
Nick


2013/10/05: Nick Likes a Thing! #1. The Dana Gould Hour

by Nick Smith


Hi! I like a thing. I'm going to tell you about it. This is the first installment of a series of indefinite (but if I have a track record for blogging, very short) series on crap that I like. 

I listen to a shitload of podcasts you guys. When I drive home to visit my parents in upstate NY, I look forward to the 13-hour drive because it gives me the opportunity to knock out some podcasts. One of my favorite podcasts is the brainchild of quite possibly the most underrated comedian in America: Dana Gould. 

This sort-of monthly podcast does not have a general theme, but rather chooses a different topic every episode. For the most part, Dana just sits down with a few comedian friends (or sometimes other friends, the great Eddie Pepitone is almost always involved) and gets a discussion going, usually focused around an episode's theme. The discussion is always fantastic, fueled by his talented guests, and Dana's own razor-sharp wit and superhuman ability to pull a ridiculous comparison or obscure reference from thin air.

In addition to the fantastic discussions (which make the podcast worth the listen anyway), Dana throws a couple other gems into the mix. At least once per episode, Dana will spend 5 to 10 minutes explaining the importance of a completely obscure piece of culture from a different time (usually 50s or 60s...70s at the latest). It is always fascinating, be it a random horror flick from the late 60s or a group of gospel/country singers from the 40s.

There is also a brilliant recurring sketch, where Dana and the great John Ennis (of Mr. Show fame) play the title characters of Political Talk with Two Guys From Boston . They start out discussing some issue that is in the national dialogue at the time, and shoot off down all sorts of sidestreets and ratholes about their relationships with their fathers, their memories of Gina Ventura from high school, and how they would have dealt with Gaddafi.

Dana Gould is one of the most gifted comedic minds of the last 20 years. His podcast is a testament to his sharpness and his unimpeachable taste. If you need proof go watch his standup on Netflix (I think it's still there) and listen to it on Spotify. But if you've read this far, I imagine you trust my taste enough that you'll just go download the podcast.  Pick any episode. Or start with at the beginning with the brilliantly titled premiere episode. There was a lot of talk about Woody Allen in it, and some regarding his relationship with his once-stepdaughter. It is, of course, titled "Soon-Yi or Later."

Cheers, 
Nick


2013/05/04: Popping Up All Over

by Nick Smith


I neglected to mention last time one other piece of news. I recently made my first appearance as a podcast guest. Friend-of-the-show Stefan Claypool is an aspiring writer of fictions and achieving podcaster who is exploring the life/art balance for those of us without the good fortune of going big time at our artistic vocations. His podcast is called Part-Time Art and you can listen to it at: http://iamtheprotagonist.com/part-time-art/. I had the honor of being his first-ever guest on the most recent show that was posted today. I talked a bit about my process and how I manage to pursue my craft as a non-professional. We also goof around a fair amount, because that's just what happens when you put the two of us together.

All right. That's all I really have for you peoples today. Stay mighty.

Nick


2013/05/02: Coming Up Milhouse

by Nick Smith


Apologies for neglecting this stuff. I am awful at keeping up with these sorts of things.

Good news, Everyone! Something is going well! My comedying has been picking up a bit lately. A couple weeks ago, I had a completely empty calendar. Now I have STUFF! Firstly, I now have my own show. Every Monday night I am hosting the open mic at the Argus. I also have a few shows booked. On May 28th, I will be a guest on the Jimmy K Show, an internet radio show broadcast at maxinkradio.com. It is also recorded live at the Wisco here in Madison so if you're in town, you should come out. On June 19th I'm performing on a showcase down in Loves Park, IL. Then the next night June 20th I am doing my first Thursday night showcase set at the Comedy Club on State here in Madison. I'll be opening for Sean O'Connor and you can reserve seats at madisoncomedy.com

So exciting things are happening.


2012/11/26: I'm Still Here

by Nick Smith


Yeah. At the moment that's about all there is to say. Still up in the air as to what that means. Perhaps it's even a bad thing. Now that I titled this post with that I'm breaking that sentence down into every ambiguity of its meaning and it's true in just about every way you can imagine. And I'm still not sure if any of them are good or bad. Quite frankly this is not important enough to post. But it's been so damn long I figure I better put something here or else face the wrath of an angry...well no one....but still. I just hope that all of these mistakes pile up so I can stand on them and see something cool and far away.

Don't be that guy,

Nick


2012/10/26: A Treat For Far-Flung Friends And Fans

by Nick Smith


I've been a bit busy of late with work and comedy and other various assorted shit, so please forgive me for letting this blog languish for a solid month. But I did start a debatably interesting podcast in that time, so there's that. You can listening by clicking Yammercast at the top of your computer screen to go over to the podcast's page. So at least I did something.

Many of you have been clamoring to hear me do stand-up despite the geographical difficulties in doing so.  Consider this my gift to you. I did two sets on Wednesday night. First at the Big Deuce Open-Mic at the Comedy Club on State, quite possibly the best open-mic comedy show in the nation. After that, I went over to The Fountain to perform on The Cut Open Mic run by the great Jackson Jones. Below you can hear my set at the Big Deuce. Enjoy.


2012/09/17: Somewhere at the edge of the bell curve

by Nick Smith


The chasm inside is yawning a little harder than usual today. The batteries in my pen died. The sparks aren't flying. It will all come back. But it's just frustrating waiting for them to do so. Staring at a page full of sentences, notes, and symbols and scouring them for a punchline that isn't there is horribly exhausting to the trusty old patience.

Thinking I can get from Stage 1.1 to Stage 1.2 and Stage 1.3 faster than other people is pretty goddamned foolish, isn't it? "Oh, I'll be able to do it a little quicker because I really want to." The stones are laying themselves seemingly faster than I can imagine covering them. Bleeeeeech too much future in my head. I will be funny now and then I will be funny tomorrow. If I can keep doing that then we'll call that not losing.

I've been exposing myself to new music. And re-exposing myself to old music. And that chasm yawns all the more. Thrusting my heart into songs that cultivate feelings that I seek desperately, but have shown themselves empirically to be beyond the realm of achievement (α = 0.01). Stepping sometimes firmly on stones I know to turn red and cause the steam to come shooting back. Often it is counterproductive to dwell on such matters. Slopes slicken. But sometimes that steam turns the turbines.

Then I read old xkcd for two hours. Aiding nothing. Good night.


2010/09/10: The End of the Tunnel?

by Nick Smith


I listened to Henry Rollins' interview on the Nerdist podcast earlier today which got me very inspired to get up and do shit. He talked a lot about his workaholism and what lead him to be the way he is, and it reinforced my desire to throw myself into the things that I am trying to do.

So I spent a bunch of time thinking about where I am and where I want to go. And I realized, as I often do, that the road ahead of me is crazy long and crazy steep and it's going to take a lot of work to get anywhere close to where I want to be. But in a twisted way, I find this knowledge comforting for a few reasons. One in that I am lucid enough to know that this is going to be easy and I am certainly not entitled to becoming successful, but it will only come through me throwing as much of myself as possible into my work.

The second reason is much more complicated. I felt EXACTLY the same way 8 months ago when I was just starting out. And I know that I am certainly not in the same place I was in then, but I still feel the same incredibly huge distance from the faint light at the end of the tunnel that is probably just a dude with a Maglite anyway. It tells me that I am focused forward on what I need to be doing next. I have covered a lot of ground since January. But I am ignoring that in favor of focusing on what I can do with the next 8 months. 8 months from now, I hope I feel the same way. There's no status bar I am filling up. There is no percentage of completion. There is only fighting with my brain to make it think new thoughts every day and send the signals to my body to get out the door and walk up on stage. Everything else will be everything else.

Stay hungry,
Nick

I don't want the world. I just want your half.


2012/09/08: For a song

by Nick Smith


Time to return the big scissors to Jimmy's Gold Shovel and Oversized Scissor and Key Emporium. The ribbon is cut. I've noticed a few of you curious folk milling about wondering if I am ever going to put anything on here. Here you go. More stuff. To read. I guess.

I've been spending the weekend pretty much camped out at the Comedy Club because Kyle Kinane is in town. I'm going to avoid gushing too much here, but it is a privilege to watch him work. If you have not heard of him, and have anything greater than or equal to a passing interest in stand-up comedy, I strongly urge you to go buy his album on Amazon or elsewhere. That's been my week. That and working a bunch so I could take the weekend off.

I've been doing a little bit of prep work for my show tomorrow night. For those that require constant reminders, it is Sunday night at 7:30 PM at the Project Lodge at 817 East Johnson St. in Madison. I'm shooting for half of my set consisting of new material, but I may hedge a little and lean a little bit more heavily on the old stuff. I admit I have been fairly lax with my writing and have not been seeking out stage time as actively as I should have for the greater part of this summer. This fall I will hopefully apply myself with a new-found ferocity.

It's horribly easy to fall into the illusion that I am not capable of improving and that my best material is behind me, because it is the only tangible material I know of, While always present in some form or another, it is often difficult to directly access my faith in my ability to grow as a comic as long as I don't give up.  The volume of output has gone down drastically, so the failure of any new material is magnified and much more difficult to cast aside as chaff when I don't manage anything promising at the same time to focus my energies on.

The more I write. The better I'm going to get. And the more I'll be driven to get up and develop my chops. It's just that every time this big ball slows down, it takes a heck of a struggle to get it back up to pace. Throw your back into it, Smith. Quit bein' a bitch.

May all the choirs of angels sing your song,
Nick

Your cheeks have lost their luster.


2012/09/03: Unmoored

by Nick Smith


I am taking this sumbitch live tonight I guess. Come on in! Sorry the place is a mess. I don't really understand what the hell I am doing with this, despite the "user-friendliness" and "intuitive interface" and other such horseshit. Not sure exactly what I will have to offer in terms of content. I know that I'll do what I can to keep you updated about my endeavours at amusing the masses with my rapier wit and whatnot. There is also a consistently-just-on-the-verge-of-happening piece of recurring content about which I do not wish to spoil the surprise and have no real timetable for as yet. Yes I am typing this with the intent that the text will serve to glare at my co-conspirators in a lets-strap-in-and-press-the-button-labelled-ON sort of way.

Also of note. I will be performing at the Project Lodge Comedy Showcase this Sunday, September 9th at 7:30 PM. It costs $2 so the organizers can pay the folks at the Lodge to use their space. The Project Lodge is at 817 East Johnson Street in Madison. I have some new material squirreled away that you might find chucklesome. THIS is the answer to "when can I come see you do a show?" or other variant of inquisition concerning my pursuit of humor.

So...yeah. Website. Not much to see right now. But bookmark it or some such bullshit. There will hopefully be some cool shit coming down the pipe perhaps? Maybe once I manage to get some passable video of me onstage, maybe? Who knows? It's the goddamned internet, man! Anything can happen.


2012-08-26: Christening

by Nick Smith


I am attempting to migrate and centralize my internet shit over here at the soon-to-be whoisnicksmith.com. I just spent way too long poking at this Squarespace thing until it did my bidding. I am making this move because I have always wanted my own dotcommy space to fiddle about with for all the world to see. Also, it will become necessary to have a place where I can refer the rest of the world to go when I need them to help me further the process of making fun shit for maybe a living? Also, the gears are turning on the production of some potentially-recurring content-to-be-named-hopefully-sooner-than-later. As for now, I'm just crudely doing vaguely internetty things to this page in hopes of making it resemble a competently arranged hunk of stuff.

Cheers, gringos!
Nick


6/18: Midstream

by Nick Smith in


It's becoming clear that I have pretty much abandoned my musical dreams. For the better. Music was always on a level just far enough over my head so that I could see it clearly, but I could only occasionally brush it with a fingertip, but never totally grab onto it. I may even have the ability to do it for a living if I really want to, but I don't any more.

Which is good because I would need a new guitar anyway. Guillermo has had it after 7 years by my side. Some of the frets have worn down so that it is impossible to play in tune. Which is basically totalling the guitar, as it was a $100 guitar. Why replace the frets when I can just buy a new guitar and lay Guillermo to rest?

So today I put away all my music stuff that I normally have out and within arm's reach. It was a significant moment. It marks me officially forsaking music for comedy. It was in the making ever since I started doing standup, but I at least kept things around so I could use them from time to time. But I decided it was time. I can't stand to look at that broken guitar any more.

It's not like I ever knew anything about music anyway. There are MAYBE 100 bands tops that I can really discuss with any measure of competence. I feel like a moron when I talk about music with most people who make a modicum of effort to keep abreast of the goings-on of the music world. Call me a goddamned heretic, but if you played me three songs and told me one was by The Arcade Fire and told me to pick it out, I would have no clue unless you did a really shitty job picking those songs. But I could hold a goddamned clinic on the Mountain Goats, or teach a full semester course about the intricacies of Explosions in the Sky's The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. I'm just starting to catch up to the rest of the world about Radiohead. It's not MY fault people don't get jam bands the way I do. I understand why they don't. But still. Phish is awesome. Don't take the fact that you don't get them out on me.

But I don't really listen to all that much music any more. Except at work. And I don't have a free hand when it comes to the music at work. Blaring The Chronic at full volume and profanity in a coffee shop is not a particularly effective way to keep customers coming back. Except for the AWESOME ones. But in the car and hanging around my apartment I try and keep up with too many podcasts. And I keep wanting to add more but there just isn't any space. My poor brain can't take in any more. There are probably more fantastic podcasts out there in the world than there is time for one human being to listen to them. Your favorite podcast is probably very good. But there's only so much room on the cart.

But I'm going to be very funny this week. I hope.

It's good to be young, but let's not kid ourselves, it's better to pass on through those years and come out the other side with our hearts still beating having stared down demons and come back breathing.


5/31: Stasis Points

by Nick Smith in


A glowing ball of energy. In my hands. Well in my hands to the degree that I am holding it in a position. And if I don't move a muscle, it won't go anywhere. At least it's kinda pretty. I'm older now. Hooray. Successfully weathered the annual ritual of aging without the darkness pulling on the corners too much. Instead of the focal point of a depression, I seem to be managing to turn the event into the impetus. As we learned in physics, the static coefficient of friction is significantly higher than the kinetic one (or whatever the term was for shit that's already moving), so I'm just happy that the big ball of life has lurched back into motion. Part of it was the realization that I have a show in 3 weeks, and I haven't been on stage in 2 weeks. That got me out the door to the Big Deuce last night. While I was cut from the show, the thing that matters is not that I got on stage, but that I made it to the club without caving to the desire to sit home and stew things over. Doing. It is the most important of all the things. But I still have a show to get ready for.

At this point, I'd say that I have seven or eight minutes of material that is worth doing. My plan is to hone enough new material so that I only need five minutes of old jokes to fill my ten-minute set. I have a few ideas on the back burner right now, but I don't get the sense that any of them are good enough to make my set. My problem is that I haven't sat down to write in a long time. I've only explored ideas in my head briefly and jotted down a brief note of the idea in the hopes that I will write something funny based around the idea. But the last few ideas have been sitting lonely on my whiteboard for a few weeks. It's time to plow the road.


5/28: Notch

by Nick Smith in


I suppose now is as fitting a time as any to take stock of my life. Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of my exposure to the elements. It is most unfortunate that for the second consecutive year, the event will be marked in the midst of a rut, and the plans I was hoping to make have already taken on critical levels of water. I’m struggling to tell if it is the notch on the pole that is inspiring reflection that leads to endless doubts, or if it is mere coincidence that yet again the occasion will be marked during a period when I would be asking these questions anyway, as they occur every few months or so. It is a nuisance and I am really going to have to find an effective workaround, or I fear I won’t be able to get this heavy, heavy life off the ground. I am so fucking far behind schedule that it is preposterous. And I’m living my life in such a way, especially with my eating, that I feel like I’m hacking a year off the deadline every month. I usually attempt to avoid such discussions here (and in most places actually), but I feel it is incumbent upon me given the occasion to record the fact that I have not succeeded in entering a relationship in well over three years now. That is an awfully frustrating fact no matter how you look at it. Sure I’ve learned a lot in that time. But nowhere near enough. Not even close.

It took until I was 24 to discover what I want my career path to possibly be. I just have to do it for free for a few years. Then for not enough to support myself on for a few more. With extreme focus and devotion, I may be able to afford not to have a day job by 30. But in all likelihood not. Because there is a colossal amount of denial regarding my chances of success. But in my defense, it is impossible to succeed at anything that I want to do without tremendous denial of the almost certainty of failure.

So now all I have to do is spend all day tomorrow ignoring the mental image I just conjured of myself dying at 29 penniless and alone in a gutter clutching my replica of Gamaliel Painter’s cane. Shit. For now I’m going to tumble down a rabbit hole of Mountain Goats songs that aren’t going to help anything, and go to bed way too  late. Then wake up tomorrow and figure out what the hell I’m going to do with the day. Woo.


5/25: Do not reset the system or all unsaved progress may be lost

by Nick Smith in


I thought I had found hit a decent save point so that when I slipped up again, I wouldn’t wind up back at the beginning. I’m not necessarily back at the beginning. But it sure feels like I’ve achieved so precious little. Some of the barriers I had thought were no longer obstacles are suddenly as formidable as ever. I need to come up with some sort of alternate arrangement. Things are not going to work out like this if I’m ever going to get anywhere. I need more eggs for these baskets. The moles just come too fast.

Hard to fulfill all the promise you had when you’re the one that’s broken.

Times like these, specifics don’t make anything better. The lies come easier. And smoother.

Brain, you have accumulated a fair amount of vacation time, and I do not wish to discourage you from using it. But it is very inconsiderate of you to just not show up and shoot me an e-mail saying you’re off to Winnipeg when you know damn well that there is a critically important meeting on the schedule. Not cool, brain. Not cool.

It’s so much easier to say nothing at all. And I think that I’ve done that quite successfully.

I’m talking a lot. But I’m not saying anything. Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Turn me over.


5/22: Seasonal Affective Disorder Across Hemispheric Lines?

by Nick Smith in


So apparently the ebb and flow of my emotional state, and with it creativity, do not necessarily correlate to the seasons like I had suspected they might. I'm troughing like a motherfucker right now. This is most frustrating from a creative standpoint.  I just don't have any confidence in any of my ideas, and the mental gridlock of my current emotional state makes sitting down to right a monumental challenge. I have been fortunate to develop passable material the last couple of months without much focused writing. But I will always be reluctant to seek any sort of real help for these sorts of problems. Because in the grand scheme of things, my emotional, creative, and attention fluctuations are not posing obvious hazards to my health or anything. Well, if you really drill down and get into areas like my diet and my inability to handle most real-world responsibilities you could make an argument that these problems place a great deal of stress on my health and well-being. But still...COME ON. I'm still the same person. It's just when I'm alone the world gets a bit heavier during these times than  when I'm normally alone.

This conversation is just boring the shit out of me. I was just hoping that with the nice weather and shit my mind and body wouldn't turn into a little bitch.


3/29: On my alcohol problems...

by Nick Smith in


Busy busy.  Went out to the Big Deuce (the open mic at the Comedy Club) last night. Signed up. I was cut. Which is fine. I felt like I only had half a good set's worth of material, and I was really scrounging for the rest of it. I'll take the week to work on stuff and hopefully come back with three minutes that I'm more confident in next week. I am a disappointment as a drinker.  Not that I necessarily aspire to be a big drinker, but I feel like I have a constitution that should be able to stand up to a stiff challenge from alcohol. Somehow, despite my general resilience, I just can't handle my booze. I had three beers at the comedy club last night and came home with a great deal of stomach discomfort. A few weeks ago I actually managed to have a night where I had two drinks and threw up twice the next morning. That 1:1 drinks to times barfing ratio is downright unprecedented. This may not seem like a big deal at the outset, but being able to handle my liquor would be a helpful asset if I am attempting to pursue a line of work that involves a great deal of hanging around in bars. So that's my problem with alcohol. I fully acknowledge that that is not necessarily a bad problem to have, especially from the whole, maybe-I-won't-develop-crippling-alcoholism perspective.

But my diet has really gone down the shitter. I like that sentence so much that I'm just gonna let it sit there.


3/27: Of My Own Free Will

by Nick Smith in


Today was to be my second consecutive day off. It began with a call. New girl's sick. I hustled in and cranked out a morning shift. It was not horrible. I was out by eleven. I had the rest of the day in front of me to run errands and such. I found myself at the library to pick up tax stuff, and I found myself browsing the DVDs. It's an interesting collection. Especially the television DVDs. A lot of stuff I never thought about people wanting to own on DVD was there. I also took out all the Mystery Science Theater 3000 they had because...come on. It's MST3K. Also browsing through the movies, they had an unriffed copy of Spacy Mutiny that I strongly considered checking out. I think that would be a fun gettogether. Get a few people to sit and watch and do our own half-MST3K half-original riff of it. SMOKE MANMUSCLE! I faced down Amy's tonight. I spent a little while rehearsing my set so that it would flow a little better before I left this evening. When I was there I decided, "Fuck it. I am going to have a good set tonight." And I did. And it was great. The Snooki bit has a lot of good laughs in it. My Kickstarter bit is going well, but I need to put some more punchlines in with the reward system. Some of them are just weird and don't really hit. I dusted off the old bit about the coffee stickers and it wasn't until I was telling it that I realized that it wasn't as good as I remembered it being. But having a good set at Amy's was just what the doctor ordered. I can go to the Club tomorrow and if I get on, take the stage with some measure of confidence.

Lo-mein belly. Maybe not the best plan. But that's way too late now. I accept my punishment with the knowledge that I took this course of action of my own free will.


3/26: And a Biscuit

by Nick Smith in


I've been taking a break from the old shell the last few days. Saturday after work, I trucked up to a little town called Hartford to spend in evening listening to the California Guitar Trio in the company of the incomparable Mr. Loren Claypool. They introduced a song by telling us they would be asking us to guess what time the song was in. I correctly deduced that it was 15 and when they asked us to guess at the end, I was able to stand up and proclaim it, and it felt pretty damn awesome. Sunday was more work. But then I finally went and put an end to this stupid hiatus I've been on, and I made some people laugh, which is always a goodness. Then I decided to be a Renaissance man and grabbed my guitar and went and played the late open-mic at Mickey's. So that was pretty a pretty neat evening as well.

Today I continued the apparent tradition I've developed with these 2-day-off blocks where I just flush the first day down the toilet with video games and other inactivities. But I still got up and did my time tonight, although it didn't go that well, but I'll hammer some things out tomorrow and see if I can't survive Amy's without it being a total disaster. And then hopefully I can take what I've been working on all week and try to get on at the Club on Wednesday.

So I feel like I've finally reached a point where I'm bailing water a little faster than I'm taking it on. Maybe. Maybe it was just a fluke. I hope not.

I really need to work on my stage presence. When I'm up there, I devote so much of my focus just to remembering my poorly-rehearsed jokes that I'm stuck inside myself and not pushing myself out to the rest of the room, so I only get laughs when the joke itself is so good that shines through my shaky delivery. I think all of these things will iron themselves out with time and practice. As I spend more time writing, I'll learn what I need to do to get out of my own way and let ideas flow freely. As I spend more time on stage, I'll get more comfortable standing there alone and taking command of the room. Those things will hopefully feed into each other. I just need to do a better job of devoting myself to it. And that starts with not spending most of the day playing Plants vs. Zombies and Counterstrike, mixed in with a Benadryl nap.

Now that spring is here, the allergies make their triumphant return to fuck up my head. The return of sneezing, itchy eyes, itchy mouth (I don't know what it's generally called but the back of the roof of my mouth/upper throat area gets extremely irritated), and the classic I-know-I-got-a-good-night's-sleep-but-I-still-need-a-3-hour-nap-because-Benadryl-knocked-me-the-fuck-out Game. Not excited about that.

I'll take this start to the week.