Week 28: The Mysterious Staricase; I’m #1

Friday I was off to Santa Fe with my friend Dave to be ushers in our good friend’s John’s wedding. We flew on passes from Southwest so we had to stop briefly in Albuquerque thanks to the Wright Amendment. I must add a hello to Jen and Christina who sat next to me on the flight out. Jen works for Guitar Center and won an employee contest for a trip to LA to see the Black Crowes.

So Dave and I land in Albuquerque, grab a rental car and head out on the 60 mile drive north to Santa Fe. The whole drive we discussed how so many people commented to us that Santa Fe was such a gorgeous place and tourist destination. We arrived at 5:30 and checked in to our “hotel”, where we were greeted by a lady with glitter on her neck and chest, what could have been tatooed eyebrows and wearing a boa. When we got to our room in the motor lodge, we found a bullethole in bathroom window. A bullethole from what we could tell by the cracks, had been fired into the bathroom. We were due to leave for the rehearsal dinner at 6:15 in what turned out to be Jason Voorhies country. Great dinner, lovely facility, but it was waaaaaay out there.

So when dinner was over, we headed back to civilization for a little gambling at the Big Rock Casino and Bowling Alley – not a typo. John loves playing craps and he’s pretty adept at it, so I hung next to him while learning to play craps. I got the terminology down, but I’m don’t sure if I was placing bets or speaking in code. What I do know is that everybody lost money but me. Maybe John wasn’t teaching me anything, just taking my chips. Hmmm….

Saturday morning we decided to go to breakfast together at IHOP and then Dave and I would pick up our tuxedos. Dave, Pete (John’s brother), Fink (the photographer) and I enjoyed a lovely breakfast and had splendid service. Across the aisle, John, Chip the pastor, groomsman Eric and his wife did not share in our experience. We had ordered, eaten, finished, and paid only to notice John’s table hadn’t even gotten their orders yet. When we left IHOP, their table had just received their silver dollar pancakes.

So we head over to pick up our tuxes at Men’s Warehouse and everything was fine except for one small detail, literally. I must remind you that I am 6’3″, 185 pounds, so when I find that must vest was a size small I was not amused. I brought this up to the bitchy lady working there and she peppered me with questions from “Where did you get measured?”, “Can you button it?”, “Did you let it out in the back?”, and “When is the wedding?” and then proceeded to force button the vest. I could feel the tension on the back of the vest was pretty high and was so tight that I my breathing was shallow just so I would take a deep breath and own a vest. After all of this, the lady puts her index fingers inside the sleeves of the vest, checked to see that it was buttoned, shrugged her shoulders and said “It’s buttoned so it fits. We don’t have any in the back, so I can’t do anything for you.” So far my New Mexico experience has not been so great.

From there, Dave and I headed back to town and spent some time walking the famous Santa Fe square, again some sort of tourist destination. Coincidentally for us, this weekend the largest arts & crafts fair in the southwest was taking place in the square. It was during this time I realized that Santa Fe is a tourist place for older people that collect antiques, but I could be wrong.

Dave and I decided to check out early from our beacon of luxury and head back to Albuqueque that night after the reception since we both had 7:00 am flights. It made more sense to drive the 60 miles that night instead of leaving Santa Fe at 4:30 am. It was also nice to be able to sleep with both eyes closed, not worried a bullethole would end up in the front window. John ad also checked out since he would be staying at the swanky Inn at Loretto Saturday night. Since we had all checked out already, we would have to get prepped in Fink the photographer’s room. I asked John if he was nervous and he commented he was ready for everything to be done and he could go on his honeymoon in Hawaii. The details and showcase of it all had started to wear on him. At 4:30 we were off across the street to send John off to his pending nuptuals.

The wedding took place at the lovely Loretto Chapel home of the mysterious staircase. The story is that after the church was completed in 1898, there was no way to get up to the balcony 22 feet above (then how did it get built to begin with?) so the nuns prayed for 9 straight days and an unnamed stranger showed up with a donkey and a cart and built a grand spiral staircase. Even today, the physics of the staircase are baffling since it was built without nails. Go check out the site. The chapel is beautiful and the story is pretty cool, too.

The wedding was beautiful and his new wife Amy looked stunning. In typical John fashion, they exited to the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” theme and huge laughs. Kudos to you, Juany.

After the wedding, we moved into The Inn at Loretto for the reception. The food was great and the highlight was the house band from Denton, Texas, 2 time Grammy Award winners Brave Combo. They were also featured on an episode of “The Simpsons” in 2004, which to us is cooler than the Grammys. They were fabulous musicians and sounded wonderful. Before we knew it, it was almost 10:30 and time for the LSFFL Draft Lottery. What is the LSFFL you ask? It’s our fantasy football league that we’ve all played together in since 1996. We get together every summer to pull ping pong balls out of hat and feel like we’re not complete idiots for doing it. This year’s lottery had half of the team owners present and for the first time ever – I’M #1. So the Plano Pilots will welcome LaDanian Tomlinson as the #1 at the August 25 draft. Stop laughing.

Around 11:00, Dave and I changed out of our tuxes, I could breathe normally again, and we were off to Albuquerque for the night. We checked in and I went bed at 1:30, was up Sunday at 5:15 am for 7:05 flight, which was late. How can the 1st Southwest flight of the day bw late? It was sitting there when I walked up to the gate at 6:30. It’s beyond me.

I arrived LA exhausted and needing sleep. My normal crashpads were booked – Todd and Page had guests and I left Tom’s keys back in Dallas (he was in Austin) so I had to check into a hotel early to take a nap. This is the first time in 28 weeks that I have had to check into a hotel, and I have so thankful to Page, Todd and Tom for allowing me into their homes and saving me a ton of cash. I wish I could say the same about American Airlines who continually raises fares as the days go by it seems.

After a much needed nap, I headed over to class. The bad news was that we lost Angela, and now we’re down to 6. Angela just moved over from the Thursday class to be with us and she had some family and traveling commitments that weren’t sured up when she entered level 4, but things started falling into place in the last 2 weeks and she had to leave us. Today’s class time was used to flesh out sketch ideas. I was fortunate that 2 of my ideas make the show cut. Between class and the show, I went to eat with Mike, Ellen and her husband Joel to discuss some sketch ideas and catch up on life outside Second City.

The show went very well, I thought. My sketches opened and closed the show, and I thought for being our first semi-scripted show that we did a great job. I’m beyond anxious about the future of this group. We know each other so, so well on a personal level and we all love each other that it’s easy for us to kick around ideas without anyone getting their feelings hurt. My apologies again to Mike for highjacking 2 of his sketch ideas yesterday.

Dinner after the show was with my friend Crystal from Dallas and her Emily over at the Hollywood & Highland complex. We enjoyed some great Italian food and spent plenty of time getting caught up. At 9:00, I left the ladies to head over to Improv Olympic to see my classmate and friend Mike jumping in with the improv group “The Illuminaughty”. That’s such a great group name. That and Clusterfun.

After the show, I rejoined Crystal, Emily and her parent, Glen and Carolyn, for Karaoke in Sherman Oaks until 11:00. I was blown away by Emily’s voice and made absolutely no attempt to get up and sing. Not even if they had “Since U Been Gone” or not. From there it was back to my airport hotel, and I didn’t fall asleep until around 1:30. Which sucked because I was up at 6:30 am for my 9:00 flight. At LAX I saw Jenna Jameson and holy flippin cow is she skinny. Really skinny. Really.

Since I was flying Southwest, I had to leave out this morning and, thanks again to the Wright Amendment, I had to go through El Paso. Going on a couple hours sleep I slept through the 2/3 empty flight to El Paso until a lady sits RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and then LEANS ALL THE WAY BACK. Brutal. From El Paso the flight to DFW rough. Not turbulence rough, but idiot people rough. I had 3 12 your old punk ass kids in front of me bouncing slapping each other the whole trip, and a big dude behind me snoring. I mean choking, sleep apnea snoring, louder than the engines right outside my window.

When I landed, I had to run an errand before heading to acting class. I wish I wouldn’t have gone. My scene was deplorable, absolutely brutal. What a nice way to end a good weekend and great show than with this nut filled turd of a scene. That’s the way things go sometimes….

Miles Traveled: 2,470
Total Miles: 69,160

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