a short meditation on birthdays


Today is my birthday. I tell you this not so that you’ll shower me with internet love—though feel free—but because it seems like a nice moment to share why I love birthdays.

Some people hate birthdays. Usually those people are older than thirty. (I’ve never met any kids who hate birthdays. That would be kind of unsettling. But also really impressive.) Those older people say things like, “Let’s pretend it’s not my birthday! I’ll be twenty-nine for the rest of my life!” But really, I think most of those people probably like having birthdays. They just hate aging. It scares them. I get that. It scares me, too. I turn thirty-four today, and I feel twenty-seven, tops. Sometimes I’ll be reading an article in the newspaper, and they’ll refer to someone being thirty-five and I’ll picture some really adult-looking man with a beard. And then I realize I’m almost thirty-five. And then I feel like an idiot.

But, seriously, if the twenty-two-year-old fresh-out-of-college me met me right now, he’d be like, “Whoa, that dude is married?!? With a kid?!? He’s so old. I mean, he’s really cool, but he’s so old.” Then he’d go to someone’s rooftop and get high. But that’s neither here nor there.  

Because, even though I’m perpetually surprised by my age, I do not hate birthdays. I love them. And that love isn’t about a big celebration or tons of presents or the parade of “Happy birthday”s on my FB feed or even the attention. What I truly love is walking around with that feeling that it’s my special day. That’s a ridiculous phrase for a thirty-four-year-old to write, but I can’t think of a better way to put it. It’s my goddamned special day, and I love that.

Right now, for example, I’m sitting in a Starbucks writing this, and nobody knows it’s my birthday. But I know. I’m having a rare one in three-hundred-sixty-five experience, and nobody around me has any idea. Not this older dude in a plaid jacket who’s placed his “You Won’t Be Disappointed If You Will Let Jesus Christ Become the Lord of Your Life” flyers right next to my computer. Not the slightly-less-older dude watching something on his iphone across from me. They don’t know they are sitting at a table with The Motherfuckin’ Birthday Boy. Part of me thinks it’s a tiny taste of what it might be like to be a superhero: Something special is happening to me right now and none of you have any idea. You fools.

But okay, here’s why I really love birthdays: we all have them. Nobody doesn’t have a birthday. It’s perhaps the most equal-opportunity experience we humans share at different times. Everybody was born. Thus, everyone has a birthday. So, unlike the experience of, say, getting a piece of good news, you don’t have to feel like your secret is going to make people feel jealous or bad about themselves. Because again, we all have birthdays! It’s beautiful!

I mean, maybe someone with a winter birthday might be jealous of someone with a summer birthday. But other than that.  

And look, I know some people might get Ringwalded on their birthday and not heralded as much as they deserve to be. But, hopefully, in spite of that, they still have a bit of the feeling. Because it’s their goddamned special day.  

So now you know. I love birthdays. And with that, I’m going to take my really-adult-looking-thirty-four-year-old man-with-a-sometimes-beard-self and walk the street, emitting that birthday glow that only I can see.

Books my now-one-year-old son loved this year.

My son Sly had his first birthday on Sunday. Since one of the cool parts about this year has been rediscovering the wonder-filled worldof children’s books, I’ve composed a list, in no specific order, of The Books Sly Has Most Enjoyed This Year.

Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems

A toddler named Trixie, her daddy, and her best stuffed friend Knuffle (pronounced Kah-Nuffle!) Bunny take an ill-fated trip to the laundromat in this book, which was the first one that Sly had visceral responses to, likely because of the simple yet profound story and captivating cartoon/photo illustrations. There was a week when, every time we got to the page where Trixie bawls (“WAAAA!”), Sly would open his mouth and make a bawling noise with her. 


It was delightful. But then, like so many things in a baby’s always-changing, constantly-ephemeral first year, he stopped doing it a week later, and my fun party trick was ruined.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown

After Knuffle Bunny, this was the next book to get a primal response out of Sly. He would screech along with Mr. Tiger’s first ROAR!


This book has amazing art that pops off the page, and as my wife Katie astutely pointed out, “This is the same story as Transparent.

My Favorite Thing, by Gyo Fujikawa


Our copy of this very sweet book, which is simultaneously lively and poignant, is actually Katie’s from when she was a kid, so she’s starred all the pages that have her favorite things on them (being in a snuggly bed during winter got a star; going camping did not). Sly’s personal favorite is the adorable two-page spread of a dozen unsupervised babies at the seashore.

B is for Brooklyn, by Selina Alko


We have read this book at least a hundred times, and we’re still discovering new details in Selina Alko’s unique, wonderful renderings of all things Brooklyn, which often include random found materials, like newspaper clippings and ticket stubs. Since Katie and I have lived in four different Brooklyn neighborhoods together, reading it also becomes this weirdly touching nostalgia trip.

Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt

Though it’s been so much fun to see Sly learn to interact with this undeniable classic more and more over the months, I find this to be the most problematic of this list, for two reasons:

1. There’s a subtle, slow-building undercurrent of creepy that runs through the whole thing, and not just because Paul and Judy are vaguely unsettling characters. Patting the bunny? Okay, that’s cute, I guess. Playing peek-a-boo with Paul? All right, sure, why not? Sticking your finger through Mummy’s ring? Um, nope. Shaking Mummy’s button box? I am officially uncomfortable.

2. There’s this one page where you’re supposed to smell the flowers, and it gives off this potent, nausea-inducing fragrance that is highly upsetting.


I feel like having a smell in a book was really cutting-edge when this came out in 1940, but no one’s bothered to update the smell since then. They should. It’s the worst.

Corduroy, by Don Freeman


Here’s a classic that holds up a little better. Sly loves Corduroy’s touching journey to find his lost button, especially the part where Corduroy rips a button off a mattress. One small gripe: I feel like Corduroy isn’t always operating at the top of his intelligence, especially when he gets on an escalator and is like, “Is this a mountain?” You live in a department store, Corduroy. Are you seriously telling me you and the other toys haven’t discussed very basic details of what the other parts of the store are like beyond your little shelf? But maybe they haven’t. Gotta give Corduroy the benefit of the doubt on this one, I guess.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst; illustrations by Ray Cruz

And to complete the Classic Trifecta, this one’s still awesome, too. What’s not to like about a book where the message is, “Some days suck, from morning to night, and that’s just what it is”? I love it so much. And Sly freaks the hell out about the illustrations in here; something about the scratchy black and white art makes him want to shout random noises.


My Very Own Name, by Maia Haag; illustrations by Mark Mille


This is one of those personalized books, where all the animals in the forest, under the firm leadership of the Owl, come together to spell Sly’s name (which, since his full name is Sylvester, means those animals got a lot of work to do). Sly loves this book, and I don’t blame him; all humans love seeing their name in print. It’s a fact.

Fortunately, by Remy Charlip


This was a book I loved growing up, and I still love it now. The protagonist Ned gets invited to a party. Unfortunately, it’s in Florida and he’s in New York. Fortunately, his friend loans him a plane. Unfortunately, the plane explodes. (That is a real thing that happens in this book. Terrifying). You get the idea. It’s funny and dark and clever and captures, in a very simple way, the surprising and unpredictable nature of life. Unfortunately, Sly usually likes us to read this one many times in a row.

We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems

I’m starting and ending this list with a book by Mo Willems because I had never heard of him before Sly came into our lives, and now I think he’s a goddamned genius. Seriously, the man is prolific. As if all three Knuffle Bunny books aren’t impressive enough, we learned he’s also written this fantastic series of Elephant and Piggie books (not to mention a beloved series of Pigeon books we haven’t delved into yet), which are hilarious, sweet, and full of great lessons. This one, a meta- joy where Elephant and Piggie become aware they’re in a book, is Sly’s favorite. There’s a moment where they start cracking up because they’ve made the reader say “banana," 


and one day Sly started doing this fake-laugh along with them, a disingenuous "Ah ah” sound.  It was easily one of my favorite moments of the year. As Katie said, “What a good audience member he will be at his friends’ Level 1 improv shows.”

Thank you to the various people who gifted us books on this list. And to the people who gifted us books not on this list! I assure you your books have been in the rotation, too, just couldn’t feature them all here. 

And if anyone has suggestions of kids’ books they absolutely love, especially those by diverse authors, please let me know! We’re always looking for new favorites. 

The Internet Will Always Be Dessert This Year.

             I had one of those days yesterday where I think all the answers to my life are on the internet.  

            Not coincidentally, the Please-Internet-Make-Me-Feel-Better-About-Myself Days often happen when I’m working on something scary or overwhelming or incredibly meaningful, i.e. the days when my Resistance Machine is working at full tilt. As I talked about a little while ago–as inspired by Steven Pressfield’s must-read TheWar of Art–Resistance is an insidious force that pops up in all of us in a multitude of ways and always has one goal: to keep you from making and doing the things you are meant to do.

            And the internet is Resistance’s best fucking friend in the world.

            Case in point: yesterday, when I was getting ready to start chopping apart the most recent draft of my second book, to officially start rewriting in the hopes that I will, within approximately fifty or so days, end up with a Much Better Version of said book, I couldn’t truly buckle down. I worked, but in drips and drabs, always somehow finding my way back to my email or my Twitter feed or a Variety article about who might be directing some Marvel movie coming out in 2033.

            We’re all aware, of course, that the internet is antithetical to getting work done. This is not news. Most writers will tell you that if you want a prayer at any sort of productivity, you should turn your wi-fi off.

            And yet.

            It is a lesson I am forced to learn again and again.

            Because Resistance is so powerfully uncomfortable, it is constantly triggering my Go to the internet button. Yesterday, Resistance was a voice in my head telling me that I have a huge task ahead of me and not a whole lot of time to do it and my next draft better be awesome because I like how the first book turned out and right now the second book is simply Not As Good.

            Yes, here again, a classic case of Awesomeism happening. It’s a daily problem.

            That Resistant voice in my head makes me feel small and powerless and so I run to the internet where I have some control. I can get something else done that will get me my power back! So I come onto this Tumblr and slightly edit one of the sentences in the About section, or I look up the address of a restaurant I might be going to next month. And then, since I’m already internetting, I figure I might as well check my Twitter feed. And then I read some random article about the Knicks, which is beyond dumb because the Knicks are literally the worst team in the NBA this year, so what the hell is there to read about? And then, if I’m going to be really honest here, I end up Googling the title of my book, just to see if new stuff has popped up about it that will make me feel like I have worth in this world.

            When I get to that last step, I know the shit has hit the fan: I’m in a full-blown Resistance spiral. Searching sadly and desperately for some piece of affirmation that will right the ship and make me feel like less of a time-wasting failure.

            “But it’s too late,” I tell myself. I’ve already gorged myself on too much internet before getting actual work done. The ratio is messed up, and it leaves me with the same empty feeling I get ten minutes after I eat a Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich.

             But on those days when I get right to work as soon as I sit down, and I’m able to push through the struggles, through the discomfort, for at least half an hour, I don’t feel like that. Even if I don’t have a ton to show for it, I feel good, like I’ve done my part, like I’ve earned a quick dip into the internet pool.

            Ideally, the ratio would look something like this: fifty minutes of continuous work earns me a fifteen minute break, which would include as much dick-around/email/Twitter time as I want.

            Then back to work.

            Just so you know, I’m rarely able to maintain this kind of discipline. But I want to.

            So here’s one of my intentions for 2015:  

            Time on the internet will be deliberate and mindful, a reward for a period of work productivity. Once I sit down to work, I can never lead with an internet binge. Never.

            Put another way:

            The Internet will always be dessert this year, never the main course.

             As always, I’m writing things like this mainly as a way of imprinting these ideas into my head and holding myself accountable. So if you find the above words irrelevant to your life, I applaud you. You have an amazing work ethic and you should never change. 

            But if this resonates with you, then thanks for making this piece part of your internet dessert. Now go get some work done.


Be an Asshole in 2015

            Well hello there, my friends. Happy 2015 to you. I hope your year is off to a shimmery, hopeful start. And I hope you’ve been having as much fun hoverboarding as I have.  

            In the past five years, Katie and I have moved away from making new year’s resolutions, opting instead to write down our intentions for the year. We’ve both found it to be way more motivating and satisfying and focusing. These intentions should be things you’re hoping to accomplish for the year, and you should say them as if you are predicting the future, as if these things are already foretold. Because future-predicting is way more powerful, not to mention way more fun, than goal-setting.

            For example, here was my first intention on last year’s list:

I will write a solid first draft of my second book by May 1, 2014.

            I actually didn’t finish until the beginning of August. I often misfire on the timing of my intentions. But it doesn’t matter! Because the important part is getting the shit done! (Unless you have deadlines to meet that are set by people who are not you. In which case you should do as I did above, giving yourself a deadline that is way before the deadline that is set by the person who is not you.)  

            Here is another one of my intentions from last year:

Ray and I will continue with our podcast, and we will make a much more focused effort to promote and get it out there, potentially joining the Stitcher network. We will be featured on Pop Candy, Vulture, and various other high-trafficked blogs.

            This one only partially came true; Ray and I did continue with our podcast (The Lance and Ray Show check it out), having a genuinely good time and learning more about what the show could/should be in the process, but we totally dropped the ball on the promotion part. Life gets busy; new things pop up that you never could have predicted at the beginning of the year, and you don’t have time for everything. And also, Pop Candy doesn’t even exist anymore.

            So that intention is going to carry over in some form to my list this year. (Katie and I are going to write our lists TONIGHT. I know; we’ve already started 2015 off with procrastination. But in our defense, we spent the past two nights building a big-ass Ikea dresser. And that felt good.) On my 2014 list, I’d say about 60% of my intentions for the year actually played out the way I had foretold. But that’s pretty damn good. I made predictions on my future and got three-fifths of them right!

            I should mention that it’s helpful if some of your intentions are things you’re pretty certain will come true. Things like, “I will run three times a week, and it will feel great.” “I will focus more attention on my friendships with Bob and Tito, aiming to hang out with them at least a couple times a month.”

            Hopefully, you’re noticing that all these intentions, especially the one about the podcast, are pretty specific.

            This is important.

I will make a lot of good art this year is an example of an unhelpful intention. What kind of art? How many projects do you mean by a lot? When will you finish each of them by?

            Specificity in goal-making is something I’ve always struggled with. Because it takes bravery. And confidence. And brazen ambition. The more specific you are, the more it feels like you’re A. full of yourself and B. destined to fail.

            But you need to make big, epic, specific goals for yourself. Because if you can’t dream big for yourself, no one else will be able to either.

            When I was pursuing an acting career, I prided myself in my realistic stance on the whole thing. I would go to an audition, and afterward I wanted the world to know that I knew that my odds of getting the part were unlikely.

            “You never know with these things,” I would say.  

            “I’m sure they saw at least fifty other dudes for this part.”

            “Yeah, I mean, I felt good about it, but it’s such a crapshoot, so we’ll see.”

            This is a horrible way to go after your dreams. All of those things I said on a loop were true, but it was completely unhelpful for me to pay attention to them.

            The mind is a powerful thing; the thoughts you have can dictate reality. I truly believe this. So if your thoughts are that you’re in an impossible business and you’ll never succeed, that will likely become your reality.

            (I could—and probably will—write five to ten more blog entries about my complicated psychological relationship with the acting business and with auditioning and how I was always my own worst enemy, so look forward to THAT.)

            The people who succeed in any given field are the people who believe deep-down that they belong there, that they can do it. They don’t listen to the noise all around them saying that it’s unlikely to happen; they listen to the voice in their head that says it will happen.

            I’m not suggesting you push to the opposite end of the spectrum and become an arrogant jerk. I’m just saying there is a fine line between being modest and undercutting your own dreams.

            I already know that the list I write tonight is going to shoot the moon, with future predictions for the year that include lucrative movie options for my books and an appearance on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I feel kind of uncomfortable even telling you that because usually no one knows what’s on my lists except me and my wife; intentions are a really vulnerable thing, especially when you’re aiming high. But they’re also a vital thing because I need to start believing these things for myself first.

            And then, when they actually happen, people can say, “I can’t believe that!” But I won’t be surprised. Because I’ve already been believing it.  

            Do you think I sound like an asshole?

            Me five years ago definitely would. But I encourage you to sit down and be an asshole with me. Write some grand, highly specific intentions for your year. Let your brain know that big things are going to happen in 2015.


Things change all the time. RIP Tea Lounge

          The Tea Lounge, my daily writing spot since May, closed three days ago. I have many feelings about this.

            The predominant one is heartbreak. For the past seven months, the Tea Lounge–a unique, cavernous-yet-cozy spot that’s been in Park Slope, Brooklyn since 2000–had become, for all intents and purposes, my office. It’s where I wrote most of my second book, as well as all these recent blog posts.

            In the past couple months, I’d begun to experience something there that I’d always dreamed of: the phenomenon of being a regular. I’d tried to make that happen at various spots during the writing of my first book, but it had never taken. (This is partially because one of the main spots where I wrote the first book was the Lenny’s in Hell’s Kitchen. Don’t judge, it has a great room in the back, which possesses three key features that I look for in a writing space: nobody bothers you for staying too long, there are always interesting characters around, and it’s not the place where I live.)

            But with the Tea Lounge—which, it’s worth noting, has the aforementioned key features in spades—it had started to take. As of the past few months, the people who worked there knew I drank tea, not coffee. I was often that annoying guy at the counter having jokey conversations with the staff, and it felt so good. I developed a friendship with another regular, a charming 40-something dude named Caio, who’s working on a complex cinematic installation based on a story by Jorge Luis Borges. “This place is my Cheers, you know?” Caio said to me once, gesturing at the room around us, and I nodded along, realizing at that moment: This place is my Cheers, too, Caio!

            Granted, that was never completely true. I was endeared to a lot of the regulars—the bald dude with a mustache and glasses who always sat reading the paper for a couple hours in the same armchair, the older woman who would spread out a bunch of essays in front of her (to grade, I think?), the sharply-dressed guy who wore a fedora and stared at blueprints on his computer—but my awkward attempts at a daily “Hi” and a nod were often left unreciprocated. Which was okay with me! These people were doing their thing, just like I was, and it was comfort enough to know I was going to see them every day. 

            But all of that became moot last Thursday, when I learned my sort-of Cheers would be closing in four days.


            It didn’t help that the day before, my wife and I had learned that ‘Snice, a vegan café that was one of our favorite places to eat, had been shut down indefinitely for failing its sanitation inspection. Apparently the place had mice and roughly eight different species of flies roaming around. Cool!

            So one day ‘Snice is gone, the next day the Tea Lounge.

            And that Thursday afternoon, grasping for some stability, I sat in the soon-to-be extinct Tea Lounge and called my doctor’s office to schedule a yearly physical. “I’m sorry,” the receptionist said, explaining that my primary care physician would be leaving the practice next week.


            Look, I know it’s a luxury to deal with problems like these, to even call them problems, but that didn’t make the sudden disappearance within two days of three regular fixtures in my life any less strange. It felt like a message from the universe that I couldn’t quite decode. 

            Maybe the message was simply this: things change. All the time.

            The reason heartbreak was the predominant feeling in this Tea Lounge saga, rather than the only feeling, is because in my Googling about what had happened, I stumbled upon this article. The owner of the Tea Lounge blames its demise on freeloaders who buy a cup of coffee and then stay there all day to write their novel i.e., people like me. “I’m running a business, not a community center,” he says.

            This was the most confusing, infuriating thing in the world to read. What a twist, you guys: I’m mourning the loss of my beloved home away from home, and it turns out the one who killed it was ME!

            Except, unfortunately, I can’t accept that as the truth (and not just because I bought salads occasionally). The owner speaks as if the freeloaders (AKA his most loyal customers who have each given him hundreds of dollars) were holding him hostage, as if he’s not the one who can run his shop however he wants. He raised the prices in late summer, and though I was annoyed for a second, I was happy to pay that because I understood he needed to stay in business. If he wanted to set up some kind of Argo-Tea-style one-purchase-gets-you-two-hours-of-WiFi, he could have. If he wanted to ban laptop use during certain hours, he could have. (Defensive much, Lance?)

            After reading that, I suddenly understood the Tea Lounge was going to close either way. These days, it was a wonderful place in spite of its owner and not because of him. I’m sure he used to have a better attitude about it, but clearly not anymore.

            Things change. All the time.

            In fact, this blog entry is coming out on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday for that very reason; I was about to post this yesterday before I headed out for the night, but as I searched for the link to the above heinous article, I stumbled upon THIS.

            Two long-time, devoted Tea Lounge patrons are in talks to re-open it as a place called The Meeting House, a cross-cultural co-working space/community center/café.

            Oh man. It’s so moving. Things like that are only supposed to happen in Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. 

            So, the Tea Lounge may re-open as an even better version of what it was, run by people who are genuinely excited about it.

            Or maybe not.

            Either way, it’s a reminder that life is unpredictable and magical and painful and great.

            And things change. All the time.


November 7th, 2004. When I Moved to NYC.

        Hi! Happiest Election Day to you, my friends. I hope you’ve gotten out to vote or, if you haven’t, that you’ve already planned when in the day you will. If things are as dire as the 80,000 emails I’ve been receiving say it is, then you probably won’t have to wait that long in line. I didn’t.

         As I proclaimed last Wednesday, today is the beginning of my Terrific Tuesdays blog series. (That will be the last time I am calling it that. Just wanted to see how it felt. It felt terrible.) Leading up to the April publication of my YA novel Denton Little’s Deathdate, I’ll be writing about my creative process, my transition from an acting career to a writing career, things I love, people I love, and why I will never, ever have a cat.

            I thought maybe I’d start with the origin story of my book and how it was I came to start writing it, but I always think it’s cool on TV shows when they save the origin story episode for later on (see: West Wing - Season 2, Episode 1), so instead, I want to go back even further, to November 7th, 2004, the day I moved to New York City.

            I need to briefly interrupt to say that, until thirty seconds ago, I thought the date I moved here was November 1st, 2004. I even tweeted on Saturday that it had been ten years since I arrived. But just now I Googled the date, and it turns out I was WRONG. Because I know I moved here on the day of the NYC Marathon, and in 2004, that was November 7th. So, Serial is totally right - memory is completely suspect. And you, my friends, are being blogged to by an unreliable narrator.

            Anyway, I moved here almost ten years ago, i.e. an amount of time equivalent to going to college two and a half times. Or, put another way: A baby that was born as my dad and I were in Brooklyn parking the small U-Haul truck packed tight with my belongings is now ten years old.

            Hot damn.

            I’d graduated from college in May of that year, spent the summer as an apprentice at the Williamstown Theater Festival, then lived with my parents in New Jersey for a couple months before making the move to a neighborhood in Brooklyn newly referred to by opportunistic real estate people as South Park Slope.

            My college friend Greg and I moved into a sweet, little apartment (if you stood at a certain spot in front of our building, you could see the Statue of Liberty!), bought our $70 monthly unlimited Metrocards, and began our new lives. I was ready to get my acting career started, and Greg was pursuing a job in theater or art history.

            I need to interrupt once more. Suddenly remembering that I kept a blog ten years ago, I did another quick Google search and was able to find it immediately. Oh sweet God. Why did I think keeping a public journal during my early twenties was a good idea? The blog is now set to private, so you will not be able to read it. I’m sorry. But I will be choosing some good excerpts for future entries. Here is a small sampling now, written at 3:19 in the morning on December 18th, 2004: So, people, get this:

Greg and I just had our first annual holiday party, and I’m sorta drunk and feeling that post-party thing where you’re like, “Where the ladies at?” And then you’re like, “Oh right - they all LEFT.”

            So, uh, yeah. That’s been on the internet for the past ten years. Super. That holiday party Greg and I threw was a bright spot in what had been a very slow November and December. One of the other bright spots was the Meredith Vieira-hosted Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, every weekday at 12:30 pm. For at least the first month of our lives in New York City, that was the only consistent daily plan Greg and I had. We didn’t have cable, but this was back in the day when you could use a hanger as an antenna, so we were all set. I feel like I’m 800 years old.

            We watched WWTBAM? so much that I started thinking we needed to be on it. At the very least, I thought we’d each be able to make it to the $32,000 milestone, which would be, like, a lot of money. But it wasn’t the right time of year for auditioning to be a contestant, so instead I went online and applied for tickets for us to sit in the live studio audience. No one got back to me.

            That November, I also made my New York City acting debut in a play called Sotoba Komachi at a hideous place called the Producers’ Club. Young actors, save yourselves some trouble and do not act in things at the Producers’ Club. And, really, everyone should be advised to never see things at the Producers’ Club (unless you’re being supportive of a young actor friend). I still remember waiting outside the door to our theater space 45 minutes before our show started because we couldn’t get in there until the real-life Kramer (who had supposedly inspired the Seinfeld character) finished the intro to his bus tour.

            Later that month, Greg and I worked at the GlaxoSmithKline booth at a dental convention. At the end of the week, every booth was getting rid of their leftover giveaways, and I walked off with a bag filled with so many toothbrushes, so much floss, so much toothpaste; it was the opposite of Halloween, though no less joyful. “New York City, baby!” I thought. “Free stuff everywhere!"  And no lie, that stash did last me until a couple of years ago.

            But as all this was going on, really, all I wanted for my life and career was to be on The O.C. Or some other awesome teen drama. I wanted to be Seth Cohen. I have a history of unhealthily loving teen dramas–Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, and then The O.C.—and finally, I was out of college and ready to be on one.

            Spoiler alert: I never was. Though soon after, in January of 2005, I co-created a weekly improvised teen drama called The NYC (get it??) with my buddy Pete Capella, and it was: A. very awesome and B. how I met my wife, Katie.

            But more about that later. For now, let’s just linger in the smoke of late 2004 nostalgia, when life was new and MySpace was king. Thank you for reading this first Tuesday blog entry and for indulging me and this snapshot of my life way back when. I promise all of these won’t be me reflecting on watching game-shows ten years ago. (Only about 65% of them.)

            Now go enjoy the day, vote if you haven’t, and please help yourself to one of my virtual toothbrushes.