News dump: NOISES OFF opening night media blowout

5/9ths of the cast of Theatre Tuscaloosa's NOISES OFF. Photo credit: Ben Flanagan / al.com

Once again, Constant Reader, I have totally neglected you. And  as always, for that I am deeply sorry. At least this time, I have a good excuse. (And what’s that you, ask?) I’ve been rehearsing six days a week for the past six weeks, and finally, the moment has arrived: Tonight is opening night for Theatre Tuscaloosa’s production of NOISES OFF. It has been an exhausting process, but once we got our first live audience last night (it was a public dress rehearsal of sorts) it was all worth it.

So, today, I’m going to share some of the local media coverage (pictures, videos, interviews, etc) because…well, it’s nice to have it all in one place (or something).

Me and a good 25 percent of a castmate. Ben Flanagan / al.com

Let’s start with my buddy Ben Flanagan at al.com:

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — In film comedies, actors have the luxury of multiple takes as their crack-ups wind up on blooper reels we see on DVDs.

Stage performers don’t have that luxury. If an actor genuinely finds the lines they’re reading funny, it could spell trouble for a live theater performance.

So how does the Theatre Tuscaloosa cast for Michael Frayn’s popular “Noises Off” farce find the focus to go through one take without cracking?

“It is very difficult when you crack up on stage and generally people just turn upstage away from the audience and try to pull it together,” says Tuscaloosa acting veteran and “Noises Off” cast member Gary Wise.


Having had some high school parts and a role in a George Washington University production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 2005, the University of Alabama doctoral student says once he saw “Noises Off” was being performed locally, he had to try out for it. Getting back in the acting saddle was definitely a challenge, especially when performing with seasoned pros in Tuscaloosa.

“It was strange for a while,” Nevin said. “These people here have worked together a thousand times with each other. It was a bit like meeting the in-laws. You’re thrown into this new situation where everybody else knows each other. But you get up to speed really quick. These are great people here. It’s been a blast.”

Nevin says finding the confidence to get on stage with veterans when you have such little experience takes “a little bit of crazy,” especially when the Ph.D student is taking and teaching classes at UA. But if it’s something you enjoy, you find time for it.

“It kind of informs my teaching in a way in that part of teaching is you have to get up in front of a lot of people and be confident and know what you’re doing,” he said. Doing something like this kind of helps that. If I can do a run of eight performances, in front of hundreds of people, then I can teach undergrads. No offense to undergrads.”

Ben was actually awesome enough to record and post my interview — which you can see here. I would totally embed it if I could. I think the video is great because you can see my funky costume.

Something I can embed, however, is our segment from the local TV news station, WVUA:

See, that’s much easier, isn’t it?

Continue reading ‘News dump: NOISES OFF opening night media blowout’


News dump: Paula Deen’s diabeetus and gettin’ hooked on nuggets

A choice selection of the health news that was. All in one convenient dump.

Mic check.

Is this thing on?

A thousand apologies for missing last week, Constant Reader. Between a morning class, the gym and three hours of rehearsal a night, by the time it comes ’round to writing a post, I am completely pooped. But not tonight. (Cuz I got the gym in earlier today, thank goodness.) The play, by the way, is coming along well in advance of our Feb. 17 opening (holy sh*t that is getting closer and closer).

Aight, let’s get on with the news before I get too full of sleepies to type. We’re going to start off with the big news from last week before picking up a few nugget-related items.

So first off — Paula Deen. And diabetes. (If you were thinking it was going to be anything else, what’s wrong with you?)

Continue reading ‘News dump: Paula Deen’s diabeetus and gettin’ hooked on nuggets’



I went to New Orleans and brought back a national championship…just for you.

But, no, seriously, New Orleans was a blast, and we had a great time (game included). What you see up there is a shot from after the game just a few rows down from where our seats where. (God bless the majesty and splendor of face value student tickets in the fifth row.)

Here’s a little pre and post game for you:

This was our very first stop on Bourbon Street at about 10 or so in the morning. This particular dive, the Tropical Isle, is famous for the Hand Grenade, a margarita-like drink that is sweet and deceptively full of booze. At this point, we had each had at least two, and we were very much full of “cheer.” (Not so) funny story — after we left this bar (literally minutes after we left), the fella there to my left (your right) lost his ticket and had to spend the better part of the day trying to get it back and/or find another one for less than the cost of your average mortgage payment. Good times. (The end of that particular story? He had to buy another ticket — and his wife got a new car so she wouldn’t be mad at the money he spent. Good for both of them.)

Post game, natch. First cigar of the new year. Second should come in October. (You can still DIAF, Tennessee.)

Ok, how about some news for the week? We start off with this story in the LA Times about a new and healthier kid’s meal from Chick-fil-a:

Going to Chick-fil-A might be easier for health-conscious parents. The fast food chain just introduced its new kids’ meal, which includes — wait for it — grilled chicken nuggets.

That’s right, they’re not fried. According to a company news release, a four-piece serving of the nuggets comes in at 80 calories and 1 gram of fat, and the six-piece has 110 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.

They’re serving that chicken with a fruit cup, but diners have the option of substituting applesauce, which has 60 calories and no fat. Add some 1% milk to that, and you have a meal (with six nuggets and applesauce) of 260 calories, 4 grams of fat (2 grams of saturated fat), 25 grams of sugar, 32 grams of protein and 26 grams of carbohydrates.

Children’s beverage options will be limited to 1% milk, 100% apple juice, lemonade and water.

An eight-piece serving of the regular fried nuggets has 260 calories and 12 grams of fat (2.5 grams of saturated fat).


Continue reading ‘News dump: NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION’


News dump: Sir Charles thinks WW deal is a scam and wait ’til you hear what Mountain Dew can do

A choice selection of the health news that was. All in one convenient dump.

How was the first week of 2012 for everyone? Good? Bad? Somewhere in the middle? For me, the week was not much more than rehearsals for NOISES OFF and getting ready for the m*th*rf*ck*ng BCS national championship game in New Orleans in three m*th*rf*ck*ng days. (Good lord, is it really only three days away?)

We start our news off with this item from Deadspin (the only sports blog worth reading, if you ask me) about how an open mike caught Charles Barkley’s real thought’s on his endorsement deal from Weight Watchers:

“I’ve been on weight watchers three months. I have to lose two pounds a week. I’m at 38 pounds now. They come and weigh me every two weeks. I ain’t never missed a weigh-in. Never going to…I’m feeling much better. But I ain’t giving away no money. I’m not giving away no free money. I thought this was the greatest scam going—getting paid for watching sports—this Weight Watchers thing is a bigger scam.”

Key point to note here: He’s not calling Weight Watchers a scam. He’s calling his deal to make money for losing weight a scam.

Continue reading ‘News dump: Sir Charles thinks WW deal is a scam and wait ’til you hear what Mountain Dew can do’


New Year’s resolutions — and you

While I was at the gym this morning, I was struck by the crowd that had seemingly materialized out of nowhere. (Of course, anything more than five people qualifies as a crowd at Snap Fitness.) I also noticed how the fella on the treadmill next to me was joining the gym — in that he was signing paperwork and was wearing his new door pass around his neck.

If I didn’t have a calendar, it would be a real headscratcher. But since I have like 10 of them (and I know it’s Jan. 2), the crowded gym makes sense. People are using the New Year to make a new start with their lives — good for them. I hope they can keep it up. (This also brings to mind what the fellas at World Gym use to say: the place was always busiest in January and right before spring break.)

This also brings up the topic of New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never been big on them, and historically, they’ve always been more of a joke than anything else in my family. (Dad’s go-to resolution was to not bungee jump and/or skydive in the coming year.) But I understand how they can be motivators for people.

Continue reading ‘New Year’s resolutions — and you’


News dump: Stolen Spam leads to an arrest, a favorite hangout closes and more

A choice selection of the health news that was. All in one convenient dump.

Seasons greetings and whatnot as we get ready to say goodbye to 2011. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and may your New Year celebrations be even lovelier. This week’s news has a certain local flavor to it as we take a look at three Alabama stories that may or may not have personal connections (which I’ll get into).

We go first to the South Alabama town of Atmore (and the Atmore Advance) for a story about a wedding band tossed from a car, meth tossed from a back pocket and a certain meat-like product stolen from a gas station:

An intoxicated suspect wandering near Fountain prison and a stolen can of Spam led to the arrest of four people on drug charges Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies said.

All have been charged with possession of a controlled substance and precursors of chemicals used to create methamphetamines.

Twins Misty and Christy Faircloth of Walnut Hill, Fla., Richard Gohagin of Atmore, and Derek Price of Poarch, were arrested after one suspect was apprehended near the prison and found to be in possession of a controlled substance, officials said.

Deputies responded to a call of an unknown suspect walking close to the prison fence on Highway 21 next to Fountain Correctional Facility, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Greg Forbes said.

“The prime subject was walking close to the fence next to the prison when correctional officers contacted their K-9 units into investigate,” he said. “They then called into us about the white male, and I arrived on the scene to find him appearing to be under the influence of a controlled substance. I asked him if he was under any controlled substances, which he said Adderall, which is a controlled substance. I then asked him if he had anything on his person to which he answered no. At the same time, he took his hand to his back pocket and tried to toss away a pink baggy that contained a controlled substance believed to be methamphetamines.”

After questioning the subject and taking him into custody, the subject was asked why he was walking next to the prison.

The subject’s answer soon followed with another call related to his incident that led to the other arrests, Forbes said.

“When asked why he was walking there, he said that he was looking for a wedding band that he threw out the window of his car,” he said.

“The car was at the BP station down the road waiting for him to call to pick him up. We then received a call from the BP reporting a theft had just occurred. The descriptions were of a white male and white female that had just stolen batteries, a can of SPAM and left in a white Grand Am.”

The suspect told Forbes he was waiting for a “white Grand Am.”

This story has it all. Meth. Spam. Marital strife. What more could you want?

Oh, and yeah, my cousin was one of the guys that got arrested.

Continue reading ‘News dump: Stolen Spam leads to an arrest, a favorite hangout closes and more’


Featured Feedback: Someone else says that Slenda Lean sucks

Afternoon, gang. Just a quick note to pass along before I hit you with a full post tomorrow.

Remember when I hit y’all with this screed about the Slenda-Lean shake system? You know, how it probably sucks and is run by frauds and charlatans? Today I got a comment from one unhappy customer about her experience, and since it’s effectively buried in the archives, I thought I’d push it out here to everyone.

Here it goes: (paragraphs added for convenience)

I really enjoyed reading your blog on these people! Why? I’m one of those stupid people that didn’t read the between the lines. I actually purchased the product and waited for it to arrive, so that I could see if it really worked. Hey! Can’t blame a girl for trying!

After 30 days of waiting, I called the company back and let them know I no longer wanted the product, as I never received the first shipment. When the “customer service agent” reviewed my information, not only was there no actual address to mail my order to, but my name was misspelled as well. I asked her how they planned on actually shipping anything to me? The only thing they got right was my credit card number! I was so angry at them for being so irresponsible and asked for my full refund. THe customer service rep. said she would issue a check request and I would receive a paper check in 7-10 business days.

I called 2 weeks after, I let them know I had not received my refund, and she says… ” oh, so sorry about that, let me check our notes” “oh, our accounting department is having problems with our communication and that information is unavailable at the time, I’ll go ahead and issue another check request so that you can receive your check by next week” me:”what if I don’t receive it by next week? her:”you can call us back, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t receive it”

2 weeks later…. no check! Called back! SAME THING!! it’s been about 2 months and I’m still getting the run around. I feel stupid calling but what else can I do? Maybe they’ll get tired of hearing me out and actually refund my money? at least, that’s what I hope. I just wish I knew if there was more that I could do against them. Unfortunately, I have no idea if there is even anything I could do against them. :( Hopefully, this does not happen to anyone else!! I HATE this company!!!!

I feel bad for this woman and her hassles, but it’s definitely something to think about — a company that’s willing to pitch you empty promises and false hopes probably doesn’t care all that much about you.


My name is Will. This is my story.

After a life of overindulgence and great fun, I tipped the scales at somewhere on the wrong side of 350 pounds in February 2010.

In less than a year, I lost 16 inches on my waist, 5 inches on my neck, three shirt sizes and 175 pounds.

I earned this new body. I intend to keep it.

Got questions? Need advice? Email DTWRmailbag@gmail.com and I'll try to answer 'em.

Before (Fall 2009): 350 pounds

During (August 2010): 250 pounds

After (December 2010): 180

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