Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Um....we're back in Jersey...

So how is THIS for boring entry:

Woke up in New Bedford this morning, packed the van, rode a few hours down to the Mahwah area, checked into the Holiday Inn for a hot second (we check out tomorrow), and then pretty much kicked it all day. Watched "My Dog Skip" (warning...this movie produces TEARS!), took a 4 hour nap, ate some grub and talked to friends.

Yeah...that's pretty much it. I could add some FLOURISHES, for fun...like Eric slept the entire van ride, or Andrew bought a new wallet at some Outlet Stores this afternoon, or there was just a dog barking out in the middle of the hotel area at 1:30am or the fridge in our room doesn't work and stinks when you open it...but it all is just to mask a PRETTY dern boring day on tour! And by "boring", I mean 'I HAVE NO PROBLEM RELAXING LIKE THIS AND GETTING PAID FOR IT.'

Tomorrow we have 2 shows and then everyone is heading NORTH to Keene, NH. Well, except me. Why? I guess you'll have to tune in TOMORROW to find out why. But it promises to be fun reporting.

And to wrap up tonight, a couple of THINGS that I wanted to share:

1. So there was a Coca-Cola commercial a couple of years ago (2004) that I just LOVED! And so I wondered whatever happened to it. SO I went on line, and through the wonder of the internet, I FOUND IT! And because I love it, I wanted to share it with all of you. SO...click on the picture below to take you to see the commercial! Or just click HERE.

2. CAMERA UPDATE! I'm sure you all check back here EVERYDAY...wondering what is the latest on the camera. WELL - the camera was shipped...and the other day, I got 2 emails from Canon. The 1st was a confirmation that the camera was RECEIVED. Nice. The 2nd was a note saying the camera had been ACCEPTED into repairs. NICE. Cutting and pasting from the email, it also reads:

"We have received your equipment for evaluation and repair. Based on initial examination, the necessary repairs will be performed at no charge to you.

Please note that in the unlikely event that any additional internal damage is found due to liquid/water, sand, corrosion, battery leakage or impact (such as dropping the unit), a revised estimate will be mailed to you for your authorization, since these conditions are specifically excluded from warranty coverage."

3. If you HAVEN'T tested your MATT-FACTOR, don't hesitate! The contest is staying open until Friday, March 3rd. All you have to do is click HERE or HERE or HERE to take the quiz. Winners will be announced on MONDAY.

And that about does it. I'm off to pack and finish reading my book. I should go to bed - but a 4 hour nap today rendered that IMPOSSIBLE for the time-being. Hope this finds you all safe and well and having a happy FAT TUESDAY! And remember...when you're Augustus Gloop - EVERY Tuesday is FAT TUESDAY!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Weekend In New England

Well here's something to make your head spin...Friday and Saturday: 2 shows each day in Connecticut. Sunday: 1 show in Massachusetts. Monday: Travel BACK to New Jersey...this time we're headed for Mahwah. Talk to me about THAT tomorrow. But seriously...isn't that INSANE?
The shows in New Haven were great. The audiences were all very receptive and the venue was nice and all that jazz. And although I LOVED the days off and kicking around Yale and going to all those Secret Society functions, it was nice to be back at work and bringing the truth of Wonka to the people. It was actually pretty sad to pack up and leave New Haven...but mainly because it means leaving all that scrumptious coffee cake at Claire's. But I'll survive.
The coolest, COOLEST part of my time in New Haven was Saturday's last show - because my friend, Steve Stalder, and his wife, Kirstie and their 2 daughters, Savannah and Cora, came to see the show. They live in Danbury, CT - and made the hour-drive to New Haven to catch the show and spend a little bit of time catching up. Steve and I spent a couple of years as Mormon Missionaries in the Wild, Wonderful West Virginia Charleston Mission. I'm a little sad AND embarassed to say that it's been about 10 years since I've actually seen him. BUT - it was like no time had passed at all. And it was so cool to meet his family. I'm so glad they got to see the show! OH - and that we got to eat Chinese Food together...right by the piping hot radiator at the Chinese place around the corner from the theater. THAT is a memory that will stick with me.

L: Here is Augustus with the Stalder Family! R: Me, Savannah (dark hair) and Cora (blonde hair) kick it in the lobby.

Saturday after the shows we drove to New Bedford, MA and we woke up this morning, went and did our show and then everyone chilled. I watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics tonight and, almost on cue, was emotional at the parts NBC WANTED me to be emotional at. Tricky TV Producers! But it was fun...I love watching the Olympics...but I secretly love the closing ceremonies the most because (as cheesy as it sounds), it's like these 2 or 3 hours where we're all the same. Meaning the world watches, and there are no medal winners or disgraced losers. There is just a bunch of people, from a bunch of different countries, in a stadium somehwere, waving flags and dancing to the danceable hits of blind classical singers and extremely blonde angst-free rockers. And I think...YEAH! We ARE the world. And we ARE the children. And we ARE the ones who make a brighter day, so darn it, let's start giving.

A final look at the Closing Ceremonies and the flame. GOOD BYE, TORINO!

So now we sit and wait...for 2 more years...for when we all come together in Beijing to do it all again - but THIS TIME, with the most amazing fireworks displays probably EVER!

And while I was interneting tonight, I found a very good AND hysterical article, wrapping up the entire 2006 Olympics. So take it away, Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports Columnist. I really enjoyed #5, #10 and #12...but the whole thing is worth the read.
So yeah - tomorrow, we're heading BACK to New Jersey...but we're sending HAPPY THOUGHTS that Mahwah turns out to be amazing and exciting. Why shouldn't it be? You gotta THINK POSITIVE!
OK - I guess it's bedtime.
Happy Monday to you all.


So this is kind of like a BREAKING NEWS PICTURE: This picture was taken of Andrew at approximately 4:20am. Only MOMENTS before he rolled over, looked at the clock, and then looked at me and said, "You're insane."

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bored on a Sunday Night?

Well, DON'T BE! Check on what you know about me. Or LEARN something. All you gotta do is click HERE and it will take you to a quiz all about me. Just 10 questions...what do you have to lose? NOTHING. And who knows....the HIGHEST POINTS winner MIGHT just get a prize from the road. We're heading to Mahwah, New Jersey. Who doesn't want something from there?

Anyway - take the quiz. And make sure you put down your real name...so I know who the prize goes to!

Good luck...and may the best Blog Reader win!


P.S. If you didn't click above, you can click HERE and get there, too. I'm just that helpful.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My Time At Yale: A Photo Tour

So I'm back and I somehow have to wrap a couple of days kickin' around the campus of Yale university into a coherent blog entry! How can it be done? WELL...Luckily, Andrew left his camera for me to use while he went to New York City, so I have had 2 full days of taking it all in. Yesterday, Puppetmaster Chris, Jill and I hit the campus - and acted as smart as we could, so as not to tip anyone off that we weren't REALLY Yale students. (We even went as far as making various comments about our professors, exams, thesis papers and tests throughout the day...just to make sure no one was on to us!) And today, it was ALL ME - ALL YALE - ALL THE TIME! And I'm going to be honest - Yale is a better place because of my visit.
So now...sit back, scroll down, and enjoy my photographic tour of Yale University. It really IS a beautiful place...and you're reading it here first: I'm considering leaving the tour to make a triumphant return to college here at Yale. They keep ASKING ME...and so I'm considering it.
I'll keep you posted.


So this was a great place to start...although, in theory, we didn't actually START here. We just ended up here. But if any of YOU come here, START here. There is history and pictures and an explanation of the Whiffenpoofs and free bumperstickers and some student newspapers and stuff. We took a poll after we left, and 3 out of 3 guests in our party, INDEED, felt welcomed.


So, on the GOOD WORD of my friends, The Rosman's (who led me to the magical coffee cake at Claire's), we hit Yorkside Pizza. And now, the Rosman's are 2-for-2. I had the personal tomato, spinach, feta, bacon pizza - and it was delicious. And what we didn't get in service was made up for in the food.

BUT...I was still hankering for dessert. So we made our way BACK to Claire's, this time during the day, and the joint was JUMPING! I had Jill get the Coffee Cake again, and I tried the chocolate peanut butter cake. Both were a hit - and I sampled the coffee cake again...and remembered WHY I loved it the night before. INFACT, the bite I had of Jill's was more moist than the night before...and it soundly bumped the Lithuanian coffee Cake experience up to a high 9. BUT the clincher...wait for it...I MET CLAIRE! THE ONE AND ONLY! And she was more delightful than both cakes put together! And she was SO excited that we were with Willy Wonka! THANK YOU, CLAIRE! For your hospitality and amazing cakes! (I can't tell a lie...I went back AGAIN today...mmmmmm......)


So...these are just random shots from all around campus...as we wandered. I don't have a LOT of insight into it all...I just took the pictures because I was AMAZED at how beautiful each and every building it. So much character. So much charm. It reminds me a lot of Boise State University.

Top L: Chris wandering into an open courtyard-type area. See the church-looking place behind him? Well, we heard organ music - so we followed it, and braved opening the doors that said 'Yale Students and Staff Only'. Top R: THIS is what was inside. And somewhere, an organ was being played. BOTTOM: Nothing to do with the other 2 pics...just more cool architecture.

Some more looks at buildings...up close and personal. And of course, for that added effect, BLACK AND WHITE.

And...a couple more.

One of the more interesting/different buildings on campus. It houses the Yale Rare Book Collection and Library. For some reason, before I knew what it was, I was convinced it was going to have SOMETHING to do with TV.

Inside the Rare Book Building. Evidently they keep them behind glass or something. They make it really tough to get to those early Hardy Boys Series.


So yeah...all over campus, there are these gates and doors. And there are people coming in and out of them...using little swipe-like cards to get in. So after our initial wanderings, we start to wonder...WHERE DO THEY LEAD!? And on the gates that are clear, you can see courtyards. SO - I remember back to my covert-ops training and at the first available chance, follow someone, in stealth mode, through one of the gates.

And this is what we saw (and thank goodness the camera has panoramic): A GRASSY AREA SURROUNDED BY BUILDINGS! Just as we suspected. And there were students, many students, WANDERING through those grassy areas, heading to and fro...carrying out their Yale duties. And we knew we were on to something big.

So then we did it a few more times...thanking our covert-ops training each and every time.

And get THIS! Some of these places didn't just have grassy areas. They ALSO had cool walkways in, near and around them. I snapped this photo JUST before a Yalie come OUT of those doors and headed towards me. I played it cool though...and said something about Socrates before turning and BOLTING.

Chris and Jill show off some the walkways and doors that we used to access these grassy areas.


Do I hear you saying "WHAT SECRET SOCIETIES, Matt?" If so, read HERE before you move on to this SHOCKING expose. Through my Internet Research, I found the location of the 5 largest S.S. on the Yale Campus...and last night, Jill, Elisa and I did a reconn mission to check them out. And today, I went back for pics in the daylight.

This is the 'Tomb' for the SKULL AND BONES Secrety Society. You want some INTERESTING reading, go to GOOGLE, enter SKULL AND BONES SECRET SOCIETY, and read page after page after page of stuff about it. And rent the 2000 movie, SKULLS. And THEN come to me and tell me HOW THE CRAP I CAN GET INSIDE THESE BUILDINGS!!!

Here is the BOOK AND SNAKE Tomb or building or clubhouse. Again, GOOGLE BOOK AND SNAKE for more fun reading!

Some photos from our NIGHT TRIP to Book and Snake. The 3rd pic is an attempt at ART - the shadow of a tree on the side of their tomb. Can you HEAR the ghosts howling!?!?!?!?!

Here is the SCROLL AND KEY one. This one was the first one we came across. (And keep in mind, they all sit right on campus...) I thought it was a Jewish Temple - because there are Star of David-looking markings on the front staircase. And because I was totally into the reconn, in broad daylight, I walked UP to the doors, KNOCKED on them and then tried to open them when no one came. BUT to no avail.

This is the BERZELIUS place. Crazy old man Berzelius. At night, Elisa swears she heard music and saw lights on inside. I guess we'll never know.

And finally, here is WOLF'S HEAD. This one we DID see lights on. And there is Jill and Elisa, at the gates, right before Elisa scaled the wall. But not really.


That's right...everywhere I TURNED...there were words, words, words! That's how they do it...and now that I've cracked the code...let me show you what I mean.

Signs, posters, walls, sidewalks, entrances, exits, street lamps, cemeteries, the Guttenburg Bible...I mean there is NO shortage of stuff to be READ when you're at Yale. And some of it's even in OTHER LANGUAGES. CRAZY. I know.....


Hiding, you ask? Yes. Why? Well, they have been a little on edge since the CAMERA incident in NYC. They were in the other pocket, and the Belching Chinese Man just missed them by INCHES. But they are back, and better than ever! See for yourself!

These 2 are thinking about leaving life on the road and enrolling here. I guess only time will tell.


Our show appears to be well-advertised around town.

Art ABOUNDS in New Haven. L: A cool thingy on the streets. R: Something Jill made at Yorkside Pizza out of straw wrappers.

A cool old cemetery by campus. I visited the grave of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Inventor of the Cotton Gin and the Father of American Football...JUST to name a few.

The ONE THING I've always said is that there just isn't enough Fraggle Rock Graffiti out there in America today. New Haven, sure. But nationwide, we're still lacking. And you KNOW how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE Fraggle Rock.

The Anti-Climactic Ending: Frozen water coming out of a pipe. Somewhere on campus. I'm sure something about it is profound. Ponder it, and get back to me with your thoughts.