Saturday, December 8, 2012

Concussions ~ Don't play with your health

It's Week 14 of the NFL season and we're still/always talking about concussions.  Here's a quick pictorial that I received from Jen Rhee about concussions.  Fortunately for me, my quarterbacks: Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning are healthy. 

Yes, I am an Indianapolis Colts fan, but I'll always root for Peyton Manning...

Enjoy the infographic.

Please Include Attribution to With This Graphic Concussion Infographic


Babyface at the Howard Theatre - Love song 90s flashback

I'm a sucker for 90s R&B and I love a good love song.  When I saw that Babyface was at The Howard Theatre, I knew I had to grab a ticket and go.  I picked up my ticket on StubHub, where I found it for 50% off the Ticketmaster price. 

Sure enough, as soon as I bought the ticket, I was reminded that the Denver Broncos were playing Thursday night football.  Oh well.  I hadn't seen Babyface since the mid 90s and I wanted to go.  Every time I've noticed that he was performing near me in the past, his schedule never coincided with mine, so I had to seize the opportunity.

I'd never been to the Howard Theatre before.  I knew it had "recently" been redone.  I went in not knowing what to expect and wow, was I surprised!  It's great in there.  They don't pack people in and there was seating for everyone from what I could tell.  The tickets were general admission, but you may have been able to reserve a table.  I'm not really sure.  The venue serves a full menu, so next time I'm definitely getting there early to dine.  I was able to pull right in front of the theatre and valet my car for $20.  Retrieving the car only took about 20 minutes.

Babyface opened the show with "For the Cool in You" and played songs that he's known for singing and those that he wrote for Bobby Brown, Tevin Campbell, etc.  The show only lasted about 1 hour and 40 minutes, but easily could've ran 3 hours with his extensive catalog.  Personally, I would've preferred that he sang longer, but that's always the case with artists that I love.

The crowd and I sang along through most of the show and Babyface told stories of his youth and how he enjoyed being in love.  To be a successful writer, you need to write about what you know and I'm a firm believer that Babyface is an expert when it comes to writing a love song.  He has the formula down to a science.  Granted he's not the most charismatic artist to ever take the stage, but as he tells his stories you can see he has a sense of humor.

The new year is almost upon us, and then there's Valentine's Day.  Babyface's show was an early Valentine's Day present to myself!

And best of all Peyton Manning led the Broncos to victory later that night.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Wirk in London and Ricky Hatton back in the ring

I hadn't been to London since 2009, but I went to visit/meet my mother-in-law for the first time over Thanksgiving weekend.  My new mother-in-law is fantastic!  I honestly couldn't have gotten any luckier.  It was a great few days, full of wonderful food and company.  Can't wait to go back!

After a few days in Shevington (i.e. near Wigan) my husband and I went to London. We stayed in Leicester Square while in London (i.e. which is the equivalent of Times Square in New York City)...  When did all the casinos pop up?  It's almost like the Las Vegas Strip now...

Coincidentally, there was added excitement that Saturday night, since Ricky Hatton was back in the ring fighting a Ukrainian in Manchester.  I'd never actually watched Hatton fight before.  I was in Vegas on December 8, 2007 when Hatton fought Floyd Mayweather.  Specifically, I was sitting in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino's sportsbook watching a bunch of men from the UK lay some late money on Hatton.  Needless to say, those men and Hatton lost that night and they would've lost if they bet the same way for Hatton's comeback fight.  Hatton was knocked out by Vyacheslav Senchenko in the 9th round.  

Hatton's boxing comeback is/was over.  As for London, I'll be back...

Lastly, MTV has Geordie Shore (i.e. the UK equivalent of Jersey Shore) over there?!!?  Really?!?!  Who knew...


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Professional athletes and their money ~ ESPN 30 for 30's "Broke"

Have you seen the ESPN 30 for 30 film "Broke"?  I saw it last week and it started to jog my memory.  Back when I was in the NBA as a WAG, I saw and heard plenty of things that reminded me of the documentary...  Here are a my thoughts.

Ever been to a house where there are checks for $30 THOUSAND dollars sitting in an ashtray?  Yes, checks for $30 THOUSAND dollars just sitting --- getting stale.  I have.

Ever talked to someone who never looked at their phone bill, yet continued to place long distance and international calls.  Home phone bills for several hundred dollars weren't uncommon, until I switched to the "dime a minute".

Ever taught someone in their mid 20s, who makes millions of dollars, how to write a check?  I have.

Ever heard someone pitch the idea of investing in a movie theatre?  I have and might even have the prospectus or business plan sitting in a box somewhere. 

Ever heard someone tell you that he's going to go look at Hummers, only to get a phone call that he bought a new Hummer only an hour later? 

Ever have your mailbox flooded with tax paperwork in the months leading to the tax deadline?  Professional athletes pay taxes in all the states they play in.  To me, that's no secret, but for the general population this may be news.

I've been there and seen/heard all of it, and it's the norm.  That's just what happens in the league.

I've seen lesser paid teammates' WAGS buy up labels and carry bags with THOUSANDS of dollars in merchandise daily/weekly.  One of the WAGS used to spend so much money, that it was unreal to the rest of us women in the family lounge.  It's no secret, on a team, as to who is making what.  Athletes' salaries are more or less public, so when a rookie's WAG is spending money like it's going out of style, you know there's trouble ahead.  No one said a thing, because frankly it wasn't our business.  Incidentally, this particular athlete was a good guy personality-wise, but he ran into other financial and legal problems, after he left the league.  Tragically, he didn't last long in the league and actually died last year (i.e. age 34).

Some athletes save their per diem money in a jar.  If I remember correctly, in the late 90s-early 200s, per diem was $92.  That money adds up if you save it.  Then again, all money adds up if you save it...  There was one athlete I knew who saved his per diem money and lived a no frills lifestyle.  He didn't last very long in the league either.  He played a little more than 40 games in the NBA before heading overseas.  Last I checked, he became a citizen of the Republic of Macedonia so he could play as a European.  Do you know where Macedonia is?  Neither do I...

That's the thing.  Many of the guys come from college and they and their parents think that their professional careers will be long.  It's a dream.  I don't care how good you were in college.  Ok, maybe I care a little bit.  However, if you're vying for a spot on the team that's being held by a highly paid veteran, you're probably not going to get any meaningful playing time, regardless what sport you're playing.  Don't believe me?  Who's Alex Rodriguez's back up?  Who's Aaron Rodgers' back up?  That's right.  You don't know.  If you don't get meaningful playing time, you're not going to get re-signed, and if you don't get re-signed, you're OUT.

Guaranteed money isn't a given in all the professional sports.  While you can "bank on" checks coming in if you play in the NBA or MLB, money isn't guaranteed in the NFL.  In a city with all 3 sports, it was interesting to see how people spent their money.  When I was a WAG, I'm pretty sure that my player was the one of the top 3 highest paid players in the city, if not the highest at one point.  We lived normal lives, and when I say "normal" it was as normal as possible.

We were in a mid-market city and we lived reasonably, aside from the Hummer, there were really no lavish purchases and concerns (i.e. from a longevity standpoint) that the money would run out.  The focus wasn't on money, and in part, I think it was because of the values that were instilled from our parents.  The focus was on the game, his career, and winning.  Materiality wasn't an issue, because he had nothing to prove off the court.  His esteem came from his numbers, the team's performance, and let's face it -- numbers speak for themselves.

Money affords you access and more choice.  These are luxuries that you can indulge in easily as an athlete, since you're usually recognizable and people expect you to act, look, and spend a certain way.  I watched shows like "MTV Cribs" and used to laugh.  I often pitched a show called "Repo" (i.e. as in repossessed) because it doesn't take a "math major" to realize that people are spending themselves into very deep holes.

Agents talk.  They talk about their other clients, and you hear how players are going to have to "play until they die" to pay for all of their cars, kids, and houses.  That particular statement was made about a basketball player, who was a college phenom, but after 12 years in the NBA, can't find a team who wants him.  As he waits to see if he'll get picked up this season, he's turning down offers overseas.

It's no secret that a career in professional sports can be shortened with an injury.  Career lengths depend on so many factors: the sport, position, minutes, fate, etc. Remember Orlando Brown?  I can't say a thing about his financial situation, but who would've guessed that his career would be so affected by being hit in the eye by a penalty marker? Tragically, he died last year also (i.e. age 40).

Don't even start me on lockouts.  Depending on the athlete's spending, lockouts hurt.  Just like some people in the "regular" workforce, some athletes live paycheck to paycheck.

Gambling.  Yes, I've gambled with many current and former athletes in Las Vegas and the Bahamas.  I've seen guys spread hundreds of dollars on the craps table and I've seen thousands all being risked with a roll of the dice.  Easy come, easy go...

Women.  Like with money, they're easy come, easy go.  Some athletes do find love.  Others are picked apart by vultures looking to win the lottery.  You know the expression, "No money, no honey".  Trust me.  It's true for some of these guys.  If they weren't perceived as having money to blow, they'd be a lone wolves.  It's difficult for athletes to trust, since they are targeted by so many different people.  It's no wonder they hold onto their high school/college girlfriends for so long (i.e. even though they cheat left and right).  I know a woman who dated one guy on a team for years, only to marry a different, higher paid teammate later on.  Awesome, right?

House.  When I was a WAG, we were house hunting and learned about a 2nd round pick in the 1999 NBA draft.  His career was unexciting to say the least.  The ONLY reason I know his name is because he was building a house down the street from where I used to live.  Granted the house I lived in as a WAG was right on the water (i.e. Lake Erie) and he chose to build there too.  Another Google search showed me that he made 50 cents on the dollar (i.e. compared to my player) and his house was appraised at double the amount of where I used to live. Hmmm.  Granted we're talking approximately 10 million v 5 million, etc. and I'm not one to tell people how to spend their money, but it looks interesting to say the least...  I hope he's been smart with his money, now that he's out of the league.

Oh, there are so many stories I could tell about my years as a WAG and as I'm still in the "circle of trust" new stories are shared all the time, but I think I've said enough.

All the best to everyone in professional sports.  My advice to all professional athletes:
  • Review your bills.  Don't use your agent as your financial advisor.  That's not what his 3% is for.  Let your agent negotiate your contract (i.e. if you even need him for that).  Let's face it, unless you're a mid-range salary guy, you can probably determine your own value within the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) salary guidelines).
  • To quote Michael Jackson, "Don't go around breaking young girls' hearts."
  • Learn to save.  Your career isn't going to last forever.  You need to plan for your retirement.  
Professional athletes worked so hard to realize their dreams of playing professional sports, that they should want to preserve their legacies.  They need to assert themselves, be educated, and tell people "NO" when they're asked for money.  There's nothing wrong with telling people "NO".  If you're a professional athlete you need to realize that it's your money.  You earned it, and it's not going to last forever.

Below is an infographic I received from Jen Rhee.  Periodically, I receive these images from and place them in my blog if they resonate.  Enjoy.

 Benched and Broke Infographic


Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Wirk is married!

Let's see...  Where to begin.  Yes, I finally did it.  They say that the 3rd time's a charm and I have to say, that they're right.  I am MARRIED.  Earlier in November, in front of my mom, dad, brother, and a few close friends I tied the knot in Las Vegas. 

No, I'm not changing the name of this blog.  It'll always be, although I think my friend Ricky (aka The Rick) is hedging his bets and buying a URL with my husband's last name in an attempt to sell it to me at a later date.

The ceremony was 6 minutes long and we did it at the Little White Wedding Chapel.  I'm not one for wedding planning.  I don't enjoy it one bit.  Roseanne was our wedding coordinator, and she made the entire process easy enough for me that it was a completely painless and enjoyable experience.

Aside from making sure my husband to be was happy, the only things that really mattered to me on my wedding day were: (1) having my immediate family and close friends there and (2) making sure I had great pictures.  Thanks to my friend Richard Wilk, who I believe to be the Santa Claus of Las Vegas, we found Tony Cordell.

Tony was gracious enough to take pictures of my husband and I up and down the strip, while we were in our wedding attire.  They turned out fantastic!  If you ever need a photographer in Vegas, I highly recommend him.  Here are a few of his best!

Photographer: Tony Cordell

Photographer: Tony Cordell


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Guns N' Roses ~ Hard Rock, Las Vegas

For my wedding weekend, I decided that I didn't want a rehearsal dinner.  Instead, my husband-to-be and my great friend, Pat, went to see Guns N' Roses at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  I hadn't seen Guns N' Roses, since I went with my brother to a show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in 2006, and I figured the concert would be more fun than some stuffy meal before my wedding day.

Guns N' Roses performed at The Joint and took the stage at 11PM.  They played for hours.  HOURS...  I couldn't tell you exactly how long they played, since the show seemed to go on and on and on.  We actually left before the concert officially ended and went to go eat at Mr. Lucky's.

If you ask me, the show was good even though it wasn't the Guns N' Roses of old.  My friend, Pat, is convinced that there were Axl Rose doubles being used throughout the show.  HE'S CONVINCED.

I can't really tell you, whether I believe Pat or not, because I didn't watch the show that closely.  Regardless, I had a good time!  Guns N' Roses residency at The Joint is over, and I'm happy I had the chance to see "them" perform again.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NBA season is here and THE WIRK v THE RICK is ON

I'm going head to head with my buddy Ricky at since it's the 1st night of the NBA season.  It's all for "love of the game", but since we're known to spend some time in a Las Vegas sportsbook, we figured a friendly competition could be fun.

We're both starting with 1000 units.  We'll iron out the rules when he calls me, but here's a starting point.

For obvious reasons we seemed to both want to stay away from the Washington Wizards v Cleveland Cavs game.  Why?  Garbage teams are very difficult to bet for or against.  Wagering on basketball is difficult enough without adding that level of unpredictability. 

As you can see, we both like the Miami Heat to cover -6.5 tonight.

Ricky is taking the over +185.5 in the Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers game.  I'm comfortable taking the Lakers with the line -9.  I don't like over/unders.  Betting totals is an interesting skill, that I haven't mastered.  Plus, with it being the 1st game of the season, Dirk Nowitzki being day-to-day and Kobe Bryant "questionable", I don't know where the scoring will come from.

Game ON.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fantasy football is a "full-time job" that can pay real referees for YEARS

As we enter the post-season for baseball, let's not forget about football season.  Yes, the NFL started its action weeks ago, but we've only been blessed with the real referees for a short period of time.  Earlier today, I saw a note from a friend about fantasy basketball.  Seeing as though, basketball is my favorite sport and the season hasn't tipped off yet, you'd think I'd be interested --- but you'd be wrong.

I don't have the time for fantasy sports.  At most I can do a survival football league, but now that I think about it - I wasn't invited to participate this year.  I guess the boys were scared.

I like numbers, but I'm not a stats girl.  The amount of interest in fantasy sports is HUGE.  Don't believe me?  Check out the following graphic that Sarah Wenger created (i.e. and offered to let me share here).

When you take a look at the graphic and recall that wild ending in the Green Bay Packers v Seattle Seahawks game, it makes you think...

Thanks, Sarah.

Fantasy Football


Monday, September 10, 2012

Baltimore Orioles ticket "scam" ~ All tickets need to be scanned

I'm going to go ahead and call it the way I see it. There was a scam happening at Saturday's Yankees v Orioles game.

I had an empty seat next to me, and there was a couple sitting next to the empty seat. Some time during the initial innings, two men came over and one of the guys had 4 tickets in his hand.

Ironically, the tickets the men were carrying were for the group of four seats that the three of us were sitting in.

Obviously the man's tickets shouldn't have even "scanned" at the entrance since other tickets with the same barcode were already used by myself and the other couple.

It wasn't a rainy day, like Friday, when one of the ticket takers ripped the tickets (i.e. like at a movie theater) when you entered. I guess his machine was damaged with the rain and no longer worked...

At any rate, the ushers and manager did the right thing by honoring the StubHub sales and assigning the other gentlemen new seats.

If you ask me, something wasn't "right", since the other two men shouldn't have been allowed in, much less benefited with upgraded tickets behind home plate.

Who knows what really happened and if those guys are even the season ticket holders that they claimed to be...

Regardless, I'm just thankful that my situation was handled properly by Baltimore Orioles' personnel!

Incidentally, I called StubHub today to the them know about the irregularity. They're going to investigate.

If anyone has any apprehension conducting transactions with StubHub, they should relax. I've had nothing but positive experiences with the company!

Moral of the story: Always deal with ticket sellers and resellers that you trust.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Yankees rout the Orioles, 13-3, since there is no MLB mercy rule

The Orioles could've used as much offense as they could get, but Nick Markakis could only sit and watch. He didn't play, since he had been injured after CC Sabathia's pitch the previous day. He sat in the dugout as his team got routed, and I could see that his wrist was wrapped.

I sat 5 rows from the New York Yankees dugout and watched the Yankees take on the Orioles and take the lead in the AL East.  I'm not going to go into the play by play, but let's just say that it always seemed as though the Orioles pitchers were loading the bases and/or the Yankees were scoring. 

The Yankees won the game with a score of 13-3.  Yes, the Yankees scored 13 runs. 

The father-son conversations sums it up nicely.
Son:  Dad, what's the score?
Dad: I think it's 2-0.  Maybe 3-0.
Me: I think it's 4-0.  Wait,  I see it.  It's 5-0.

Yes, it sounded like an auction, and it more or less felt like one. 

The Orioles started to rally in the 4th, but they could never score more than 3 runs.

You want to know who scored?  Everyone scored.  Ok, not everyone scored, but it sure as hell felt as though, every time you looked there was a Yankee crossing home plate.

Another fun moment in the game was when someone started yelling, "overrated" when Derek Jeter was at bat.  Yeah.  If you are an Orioles fan, you should probably tell that guy to be quiet, since Jeter ended up hitting a homerun.
If you're a Yankees fan, today was a BEAUTIFUL day.  If you're an Orioles fan, at least today's game is over and only counts as one loss.

Maybe MLB needs a mercy rule...  I know the Atlanta Braves came back from a 0-9 deficit against the Washington Nationals, but...

After crushing the Orioles today, the Yankees are back on top of the AL East.


Yankees v Orioles ~ Saturday's bogus double play ends the game

My friend, Teri, is a huge New York Yankees fan, and she'd never been to Oriole Park at Camden Yards (i.e. until this weekend).  With the race to first place in the AL East coming down to the wire, I talked her into going with me to Saturday's Yankees v Orioles game.  She didn't need much convincing, once I planted the idea and before you knew it, we had a couple of tickets to the game!

Saturday night was a great ball game.  Covered from the rain in section 49, we watched the Yankees and the Orioles battle. 

We watched CC Sabathia serve up meatballs and Orioles hit homeruns.  We also saw CC hit Nick Markakis with a pitch.  It's going to be a while before Orioles fans see Markakis at bat.  Reports that I read say that, Markakis is out for six weeks.

It was a great game, but the ending was very unfortunate. 

As the Yankees were rallying from a 3-5 deficit in the 9th inning, I saw the supposed "double play" that ended the inning and the game.  It didn't take a genius to see that Mark Teixeira was safe.  Umpire Jerry Meals made a bad call, and I agree with Teixeira.  My guess is that Meals either wanted to go home or just got ahead of himself.  Either way, it was what it was, and the game was over. 

If I was Teixeira, you wouldn't have been able to pull me off the base.  How frustrating...  That's baseball, and that's life. 

The Baltimore Orioles won the game 5-4, and as a result both teams are tied for the lead in the AL East.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Made in America Festival, Day 2 ~ Santigold, Jill Scott, Eve, Run DMC, Drake, Pearl Jam, and Jay-Z

Day 2 of the Made in America Festival "guest-starred" rain.  I waited out the rain by heading to brunch with friends, but decided to head over the Made in America Festival in time to see some of Santigold.  To be honest, I didn't see enough of her set to draw any conclusions. 

After Santigold, it was Jill Scott's turn.  I'll admit right now that there is only one song by Jill Scott that I "know" (i.e. the song where she wants to go on a long walk).  Regardless my favorite part of Jill Scott's set was when Eve (i.e. E-V-E) came out and they performed one of Eve's songs on stage.

 After Eve and Jill Scott left the stage, I noticed Eliza Dushku and Rick Fox checking out the show from one of the monuments. 

Rick Fox still look great!

Run DMC was out next and they were phenomenal!  I flashed back to my younger days and jammed with them to "It's Tricky".  It was great and the crowd was excited.  Just when you thought the crowd couldn't get any more excited, I spotted Jay-Z and Beyonce coming over with Ron Howard and the camera crews.  For those of you that didn't know, the Made in America Festival was being taped and there will be some sort of footage/movie/documentary produced (i.e. at least that's my understanding).

As soon as I saw Jay-Z, I moved over to take some more pics, and EVERYONE seemed to follow.  At any rate, it was wild to see him and Beyonce get down to Run DMC's performance.  Jaden Smith (i.e. Will Smith's son) was there too.  When someone in the crowd, yelled "Karate Kid", Jay-Z literally laughed out loud.

After Run DMC, Drake came out to do his thing.  I'll admit right now, that I'm not a Drake fan.  I don't understand all the hype around him, but it could be that I'm not as young as his biggest fans.  I don't think he's a great performer, and I don't think he's good looking.  Oh well.  To each, his/her own, because it did look like other people enjoyed his set...

After Drake, it was time for the main event: Pearl Jam.  I'd never seen Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam when I was in college, and I hadn't listened to them in years.  I was amazed at how many of the songs I remembered the words to and how many of their hits they performed.  They were on the stage for two hours and performed through the rain.  I'm THRILLED that I finally saw Pearl Jam perform live and that they were AMAZING on stage.

As an extra treat, Jay-Z came out on stage and performed with Pearl Jam, when he sang "99 Problems".

Day 2 was the perfect finale to a fantastic festival!  I really hope that Jay-Z, his sponsors, and the city of Philadelphia make the Made in America Festival an annual Labor Day event.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Made in America Festival, Day 1 ~ MMG, D'Angelo, Passion Pit, and Jay-Z

I was in the US for Labor Day and that meant that I could attend Jay-Z's Made in America Festival in Philadelphia.  The MIA Festival was a 2-day festival (i.e. Saturday and Sunday) and with Labor Day off, you know I was planning on making the drive up/over to Philly to check out the festival.  I bought a 2-day VIP pass, which gave me a free T-shirt, a souvenir ticket, a bottle of water, a special VIP tent, and a special VIP viewing area.  For someone like me, this was THE PERFECT way to go.  The VIP viewing area had its own bathrooms, but the tent had better bathroom facilities and it offered a buffet for $20.  There were also bars for your convenience.  ****  The Platinum VIP tent had open bar, but for someone like me who attends these festivals by myself at times, I don't usually drink.

There were two stages and a tent where DJs spun (i.e. I think).  I stayed in the VIP viewing area for 99% of the day, and only listened to the other stage and watched the screen, when I was interested.  Luckily for me, I could see the screen from my makeshift perch.  The way the barricades were set up, there was a line of seats in the VIP area, so about 20 of us were able to sit, without having to do so on the ground. 

Day 1 of the festival was a long one, but it was worth it to see Jay-Z perform, especially with special guest star Kanye West.  I'm a huge Kanye West fan, and having Kanye come out on stage was a dream come true for this fan.

My day started out with Rick Ross and MMG.  For those of you that don't know, MMG, stands for Maybach Music Group. 

After MMG, I saw D'Angelo again.  ****  I'd seen D'Angelo the week prior when he was in concert with Mary J. Blige.  D'Angelo's performance was shorter than the performance the week prior, but it was about the same with regard to tone and style.  The guy to my left said it perfectly, when he said, D'Angelo sounded like a mix of Prince and James Brown.

After D'Angelo, Passion Pit was on the main stage, and they definitely warmed the crowd up for Jay-Z.  Inflatable beach balls bounced around the general admission section (i.e. directly in front of the stage) and the energy of the crowd went up.

Each act, earlier in the day, was on for about an hour, but Jay-Z had 90 minutes.  If you want to see Jay-Z rock a show, by himself, for more than 90 minutes I suggest that you see him in concert.  This was a festival and with guests like Common and Kanye, etc. Jay-Z definitely shared his time on stage.

All in all, I had a great time on day 1 and couldn't wait for Pearl Jam on Day 2.

Oh, and for those of you that are curious, OF COURSE Kanye and Jay-Z ended the show "in Paris".


Look out Hollywood ~ Extra work on the TV show "Do No Harm"

Keep an eye on the upcoming NBC show, "Do No Harm".  You just might see me in an episode.  I recently worked on the show as an extra, and I may have landed some camera time. 

If you're unfamiliar with the show, here's a link to the show's website. 

That's right ladies and gentleman, the count is now at 2 (i.e. for the number of TV shows I've worked on).

I don't want to go into any details about the scene I participated in, but I will let you know that Heery Casting handles the extra work for the show, which films in Philadelphia.

If you're heading to Philadelphia and looking to do some work as an extra, do a Google search and find out the details.  It never hurts to try!  Who knows.  You might get to work with Steven Pasquale, Alana De La Garza, and/or Phylicia Rashad.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wirk deux Soleil ~ My 2nd trip to TSNY in DC

OK, so I went to my second class at Trapeze School New York (TSNY) in DC, and I continued to work on my knee-hangs.  It was tough to learn another trick, since so much time elapsed between classes, but I continued to work on my timing for a catch.

I'm not "there" yet, but I did attempt being caught twice.  I didn't reach my goal yet, but I'm definitely getting closer!

If you're curious about going and taking a class, maybe this will ease your fears.  In this particular class, there was a family of 4 (i.e. mom, dad, and a young boy and young girl), a father and his daughter (i.e. the father was in town visiting and took his first class), two guys who bought a Groupon or Living Social deal, a girl who used to go more regularly (i.e. but has subsequently been working overseas), and me.  We were a motley crew, but it was a great time! 

Enjoy the pictures.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

D'Angelo is back, let's hope he stays ~ Liberation Tour

In 2009, I saw Maxwell at the O2 Academy in Brixton, while overseas for work.  I sat next to a man named,Sam, and when he and I were talking (i.e. before Maxwell took the stage) the subject of D'Angelo came up.  Sam asked, "Where was D'Angelo?  What has/had he been doing?"  Well, numerous articles have been written on the subject of D'Angelo, and last night it was time to stop reading and listening to stories...  It was time to watch the man perform, so I ventured to Philadelphia.

With his new solo material, since 2000, D'Angelo entered The Mann amphitheater from the seats and walked to the stage to rock it.  At times, his sound was very "James Brown-ish".  D'Angelo looked as though he was enjoying his time in the spotlight during what I believe to be the first stop of the Liberation Tour with Mary J. Blige. 

From what I could tell, from talking to the people around me, I was in the minority.  I was there to see D'Angelo.  They were there to see Mary.  Don't get me wrong.  I like Mary, but I've seen her a bunch of times, so I wasn't as excited about seeing he as I was more curious as to what D'Angelo looked and sounded like.

He was smiling and looked fitter than the previous bloated pictures, I'd seen published years ago.  Ladies, I'll be honest with you.  I didn't see a "How Does it Feel" D'Angelo on stage, but I suspect that if he keeps on track and focused, he'll get there.

As I was watching the man perform, I couldn't help but think that I wanted the old D'Angelo.  I would've been more than happy to hear the "Brown Sugar" album, or at least "Alright" in the set list.  He sang, "Cruisin" and it was smoooooooth.  Yes, I threw in some extra "o's".  It was that good. 

I admit, I think I'm getting old.  I'm not a huge fan of previous material being rearranged or maybe a little over-produced.  At times, his hour on stage reminded me of Prince at 3121.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you better ask somebody (i.e. or at least Google it).  D'Angelo's set was funky, but I wanted smooth. 

During one of his numbers, the woman behind me said, "D'Angelo's one of those guys where you have to have to close your eyes to hear him."  Wow.  That's a statement.  D'Angelo's voice would've been sufficient but let's here it for job creation...  He had his background singers in tow, and at times I think they detracted from his "shine".  

As for me, I wish I could've been brave enough to close my eyes and groove ~ but I'll admit that I was too afraid that if I blinked, he'd be gone, and I'd have to wait more than a decade for the chance to see him again.

D'Angelo is back.  As a music lover and a fan of his talent, I hope he stays. 

My original post about the Maxwell show can be found here.  Originally, I thought this piece would be the "brother" (i.e. not sister, since these are men) blog to the piece I wrote in 2009.  The more I think about it, the comparison isn't fair at this time.  With as much time "off' as D'Angelo has taken, I think I'll save the in-depth analysis until I see and hear more.  As for hearing more, I'll do it again next weekend at Jay-Z's "Made in America" festival.

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nats defeat the Braves, 5-4, after 13 innings

I caught the Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals game on Monday August 20th.  I'd flown back from Singapore, thrown my bags in my apartment, and walked out the door to meet Kathy (aka the world's biggest Chipper Jones' fan) so we could head to the ballpark.

Comfortably seated about 4 rows behind the Braves' dugout, we noticed that they were postponing the start of the game for rain, so off to Ben's Chili Bowl we went.

As we waited by a condiments station for the rain to stop, we witnessed a man reach into the onions to put some on his hotdog.  COME ON, PEOPLE!  If you can't get the onions or any of the condiments to dispense, you DO NOT reach your hand into the ingredient(s).  So gross.

The Nats rookie, Bryce Harper, and the Braves veteran, Chipper Jones

Once the rain stopped and before the start of the game, we settled back into the seats.  Quickly the Nats took a 4-1 lead at the end of the 1st.  Kathy didn't seem worried.  After the amazing comeback from a 0-9 deficit (i.e. at least I think that's what it was) in the last game we attended, I'm sure Braves' fans everywhere weren't scared.

Yes, the Braves rallied and the game was tied at 4 after 5 innings.

In what seemed like a marathon game that ended after midnight (i.e. on a night when I had just flown 24 hours) it seems like everyone was exhausted.  The Nats' bullpen was exhausted, and I was exhausted.  I would've closed my eyes a bit, if I could've, but the thought of getting pegged by a foul ball was enough to keep me up and aware.  ****  Incidentally, the man on my left, picked up a foul ball that was hit our way, after the people in the rows behind us couldn't snag it! 

Nats celebrate Espinosa scoring and the win by a score of 5-4
Chipper Jones heading to the bullpen at the end of the game
It took 13 innings, but Chad Tracy hit a single and Danny Espinosa scored to put the Nats up 5-4.  The Nats earned the victory, and I snagged some great pictures!


Monday, August 6, 2012

My day on the set of House of Cards ~ Hooray for HollyWirk

What do Gwyneth Paltrow, Annette Bening, and I all have in common?  We all worked with Kevin Spacey!  Yeah, yeah, yeah...  I know what you're thinking, and you're right.  They're big stars!  Well, there's plenty of room in this universe for everyone to shine, and I got my "sparkle on" on Friday in Baltimore.

Last Sunday I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be in a TV show or movie.  In 2009 I was chosen to be an extra for the movie, "Just Wright".  I couldn't work the three days though since work sent me to London.  For some reason, last weekend, I decided I wanted to try again.

On Sunday, I searched for casting agencies that were looking for background actors and submitted three former Facebook profile pictures, along with my age, weight, and sizes to them via E-mail.  I noted that I was non-union, and waited for a reply.

Sure enough on Monday, I got the call from Central Casting that I could work on Friday.  The show, "House of Cards" will star Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.  It's being shot in DC and Maryland from what I can tell...

When the casting people called, originally I had a call time of 8PM, and I was "background with car".  Then I received another call asking if I could play a pedestrian.  Ultimately, I got a call around 9AM, saying that someone dropped out, and I was asked to report at 2PM and to drive my own car in the scene(s).  By the way, it pays extra if you're asked to use you car.  I'm not sure how the editing will eventually work out, but who knows...  You may see me and/or my car in the episode!

By 2PM, I had parked my car (i.e. per my instructions) in the garage and hopped in a white shuttle van to holding.  When I arrived at holding, I was told to repark my car on the set.  No problem.  I hopped back in the van and moved my car to the set.  Then I walked a couple of blocks back to holding, where I received my paperwork.  I met the other folks who were driving, and then we went to craft services to get some food before heading to the set.  I presume it's because of the long hours, but they call it breakfast.  There were hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, union rings, salad, fruit, etc.  We grabbed our food and we were off to the set.  

Eventually, I saw Kevin Spacey and other background workers on the set.  We, drivers, received walkie talkies so we could hear our cues to drive.  For about 3 hours, I drove a route and made u-turns.  I got to sit in my car, in a cool 66 degrees, while the background actors sweated it out in 90+ degree weather.  The crew passed out water bottles and that was a welcome treat!

I was in a prime position to watch Kevin Spacey get his make up touched up in between takes.  He had a fan to keep him cool while they were touching up his make-up, otherwise he would've melted like the other people who were outside!  

If you're an extra, you're not supposed to take pictures on the set or of the actors, so don't do it.  Trust me, it's not cool and other people were scolded for doing so.  You don't want that embarrassment.

At around 8, we wrapped and they brought out the pizza for us.  Some extras got upset when they tried to eat the sushi that was for the crew, and were told that it wasn't for them.  That's life people.  The crew needs to eat too, and they're probably union.  Some people just need to be happy that they're picked to be a part of the experience!

If you have the show biz bug and want to go "Hollywood" for a day, my best advice is GO FOR IT!!!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Trapeze School New York (in Washington DC) - Wirk du Soleil

Last night, I finally pulled the trigger and took my first class at Trapeze School New York (in Washington, DC).  I had been wanting to take a class for some time now...  Now, I'll be honest.  I like watching sports, but I really haven't been active for many years.  Luckily for me, I do have coordination and natural aptitude for athletics!

****  It's not as if I was signing up for some sort of pull-up/push-up/sit-up challenge. 

I went into the class hoping that I wouldn't be afraid to "get off the board" and only wanting to do a few swings.  I think my expectations were quite reasonable.

I was greeted by two instructors: Will and Brian.  Will put the safetly belt on me and walked through a quick demonstration of the calls and what I should do when the calls were made.  Timing is everything.  He stressed the importance of doing the steps when they were called out (i.e. not to anticipate and/or wait).  The quick training was just what I needed.  I wanted to fly!

I attached the hooks to my belt and up the ladder I climbed, when it was my turn.  Up on top, I met Colin.  Colin held unhooked me.  Attached some other safetly lines to my belt, told me where to hold on with my left arm, brought the bar to me (i.e. so I could grab it with my right hand), and held on so I could wait for the calls to bend my knees and GO!

What an experience!  I had about 6-7 turns in a class that had about 10 participants at different levels.  I didn't feel bad at all as a beginner, since everyone was working on their own tricks and skills.

What goes up must come down, but by the end of the night I was able to do a backflip off the bar before landing!!!  That's right, folks.  I was able to do a backflip and I did it TWICE.

Don't believe me?!?! Check out the video.

Trapeze school was a great experience and yes, I'll be going back.  I think I'm going to work towards a catch and maybe add another trick.  Brian mentioned something about a heel hang and I watched the video a couple of times, and I think I can do it.  Plus, he said that my last turn was my best turn and that I had "catchable timing".  Yes, my progress and his critique motivated me to book another class.  If I'm that close, I definitely have to go for the catch.  Plus, I need a back-up plan, just in case this whole career thing in business gets tiring, and I decide I want to join the circus!

OK, now for the nitty gritty: Class was $51 and there was a one-time registration fee of $20.  If you sign up for your next class before you leave, you get a 3rd class free.  The pictures with the flash drive were about $35 plus tax, and I had one of the other students film the video for me for free.