Tag Archives: Houston Texas

Showing Love For 100 Losses

10 Sep

It’s inevitable. The Astros will be watching the post-season at home. Sigh. Okay, now let’s try to turn the rest of this miserable season into something memorable.

Losing more than 100 games does not need to be the only way this team goes down in history. There is time to rebound and provide some last-minute excitement for the fans and the franchise. There is a way to better represent the city of Houston. In fact, there are 10 ways:

1. Provide free parking at every home game until the end of the season. Sure, someone has to pay but it shouldn’t be the fans. Issue parking vouchers—or send an intern from the front office to buy a ton of money orders.

2. Name a celebrity co-manager at every home game. Get Houston’s best and brightest stars in the dugout for a day. Can you imagine Carolyn Farb wearing the uniform?

3. Add some surprise promotions. Have Wandy Rodriguez sign the left arm of everyone in attendance or 10,000 of his baseball cards. Give away the bat of any player who hits a home run. Let one lucky fan shower with the team. Actually, save that idea for one of Carolyn Farb’s future fundraisers.

4. Create special 100-loss t-shirts to give away to fans. On the front, show a Texas-themed thermometer with the mercury at 100 degrees. Give it a caption like, “100 means it’s hot!” On the back, use an image of cartoon-looking ballplayers in a state of chaos. Make the caption say, “100 means we’re cold.”

5. Pay 40,000 out-of-work Houstonians to fill the seats one game. Coach them to cheer no matter what happens on the field. Keep them at the ballpark through the 9th inning by offering to pay them immediately following the game.

6. Select one lucky fan to host an Astros player in his or her home for a day. A solid day. 24 hours. Showing up at noon and leaving at three is not acceptable.

7. Add a twist to #6. Shoot a commercial showing the ballplayer doing housework for the host fan. Explain how helping the fans one at a time is the team’s way of making up for the 2011 season.

8. Take every fan out for dinner after a night game. Thank goodness Katz’s Never Kloses. They’ll still be seating fans days later, but the Cheesecake Shake will be worth the wait.

9. Fly 500 fans to Chicago for the series against the Cubs. Instead of randomly selecting fans, choose a deserving group, such as volunteer firefighters, although many of them will be busy responding to the wildfires consuming much of Texas.

10. Offer season tickets to any Houston area family that names a newborn child after any player currently on the roster. In two weeks we may want to take note of how many expectant mothers demanded c-sections on September 28.

Ten Years in Texas

1 Sep

September marks my tenth year in Texas. The actual arrival by rental truck came on Sunday September 16, 2001. I had never been to Texas, although 2 years earlier the news director at KVIA in El Paso interviewed me by phone for an opening in the weather department. I began thinking I was destined to live here when, in the summer of 2001, Houston became a place for possible relocation.

At the time I was married and my radio news anchor wife interviewed for a job at KTRH. We didn’t tell many people about it. We had already moved so many times in the five years prior.

Ogdensburg to Watertown

Watertown to Rome

Rome to New Hartford

New Hartford to Albany

So we did our research of Houston, and didn’t make it known to most people that we could be leaving New York State soon. When the actual job offer came, and she accepted, then we shared the news. Some people we knew were happy for us. Others thought we were just moving on a whim.

In between her accepting the job and us moving, some significant things occurred. My grandfather passed away. Her mother’s health began noticeably failing. And then there was 9/11. The timing of our departure suddenly seemed horribly inconvenient, but there was no looking back.

Okay, there was some looking back after we arrived. On numerous occasions, my wife applied for radio jobs in cities such as Boston, New York and Chicago. I also applied for jobs that would have brought us closer to home again. She and I even developed a pitch for a TV show that would be shot in her hometown of Alexandria Bay, New York. So we weren’t exactly settled here instantly and planning to stay forever. But the move out of Texas never happened, although a move within Texas did occur—first by her and then by me.

Ten years later, I can look back and examine my choice to move to Texas. I wanted a change, a big one. I was not satisfied with where I was, working as a noon news producer at a local TV station. It wasn’t my dream. It wasn’t even my chosen profession. It just happened.

Houston seemed promising in 2001. In many ways, the promise paid off. Opportunities that previously appeared out of reach were realistic in Houston. I discovered new professional challenges and creative endeavors. I stepped away from TV news, except for one part-time stint that lasted a year, and produced TV shows. I wrote my first TV commercials, and began acting in commercials and films. I even started writing books, which may turn into a lifelong pursuit.

My time in Texas has also provided me with another life-altering experience. The birth of my daughter in 2005 is the most memorable moment of my life, and the joy of raising her overpowers any other experience, personal or professional, in my life. As the family’s only native Texan, she is in a class all by herself.  For her, Texas will always be home.

There is also one more valuable aspect of my Texas experience that I must acknowledge. Since arriving here a decade ago, I have met some of the most inspirational and supportive individuals in my life. Some have served as role models and mentors—even without knowing it. Others have provided support in the form of kindness, praise, friendship, even transportation. Their devotion to bettering their own lives and the lives of those around them underscores an important point for me to reflect on as I celebrate ten years in Texas. In the words attributed to Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo, whose controversial and comical works as a playwright and theatre director are popular in Italy: “know how to live the time that is given you.”

Standing Still

14 Mar

It’s Spring Break but instead of flying somewhere or driving a lot, I’m standing still. I’m actually sitting down but I feel like my insides are moving faster than the environment around me. So I feel like I’m going nowhere at the moment.

The fact is, I’m putting forth energy in a lot of directions. My biggest responsibility (and the most rewarding one) is raising my daughter. While she’s on vacation, we’re spending the time in Houston with my brother. She’s wanted to visit Houston for awhile; she hadn’t been back since a weekend visit in October. It’s been so good to see my girl enjoy time with her uncle again, especially since we missed him during the entire holiday season.

Our week will consist of lots of playtime, Nick Jr. shows, trips to the park, card games, and much more. Maybe we’ll see a friend or two as well. She’s already made a new pal since we’ve been back. On Saturday she met a little girl who lives across the street from the park. By Sunday evening they were calling each other “sister.” I love seeing her embrace opportunities to make new connections in life.

I need some new connections, too. The professional kind is what I have in mind. Yes, my thoughts are returning to career matters while in the midst of a so-called vacation. I have no work lined up for this week or any week, for that matter. Despite my efforts to find paid writing gigs-and my frequent auditions as an actor-I have not a single gig or project coming up. Frustrating? Yes. Stressful? Of course. Overwhelming? Not really.

I spend a significant portion of every day searching for writing gigs and submitting to the suitable ones I find. On occasion I get a response. A fraction of the responses lead to paid gigs.

One of those gigs was writing an activity guide for WonderDads. The book is available through Amazon so I’m spending time promoting it and asking people to buy a copy and review it. I haven’t made a cent from it yet so it remains in the Experience Only category at the moment.

Thanks to my agents in Dallas and Houston, I audition in person or on tape at least once a week on average. I’ve had some great auditions in the last 2 months, but haven’t booked a single commercial, film role or TV role in that time.

Blogging about my parenting experience has been a helpful outlet. I also created a security guard character in a series of YouTube videos called “Overnight Protection.” These little creative ventures are ideal ways to keep me engaged in my crafts and help me actively pursue new ideas. It feels especially important to continue to cultivate my talents when paid gigs seem to be few and far between.

So Spring Break may feel like it’s moving terribly slow right now but I’ve really got plenty to keep me busy. I’ve got to pack up the rest of the belongings I’ve been storing here since I moved to the Dallas area several months ago. Also, since writing the first paragraph, I’ve stopped several times to play Hopscotch with my daughter, cut out a picture she drew and help her fly around the house while she’s wearing wings. Maybe I’ll pretend to fly her to the set of my next acting gig and we can both dream big for awhile.

But first, she’s got a question.

“Can we go to the park now?”

“In a few minutes. Hold on.” I replied.

“Daddy, I cannot hold it.”

“Yes, my dear, we can go now.”

I’m lucky. There’s no standing still at the park.