Archive for January, 2010

The Worst Birthday Dinner of All Time

January 31, 2010

Nash and I spent most of Wednesday sleeping and catching up to East Coast time. Then we began the most important task of all, getting caught up on our tivo shows. Thursday and Friday were spent unpacking, geing through mail, yuck, bills, and getting caught up on email, and beginning to plan the future of Laugh For Sight.

And now we are finally caught up on blogging, which brings me to yesterday, Saturday.

My cousins, Erica and Jessica, my sister Tracey, and niece Siena wanted to take me out for dinner for my birthday which on Tuesday. Yes, I know, that is an awful lot of estrogen to be around at one time. We decided to go out for dinner in Livingston, NJ near where my sister lives, and that I would head out there with my cousins, and that is where the adventure began.

I had to meet  my cousin Erica at 42nd St. and 8th Ave. Did I mention with the wind chill that it was ten degrees outside. So Nash and I bundled up, well, actually, I bundled up, and I had hoped that Nash had grown his winter coat back, as he was a shedding machine while we were in L.A. Nash and I got to 42nd street pretty quickly, as he was in solid working mode. We had to wait for my cousin for about 15 minutes in the freezing cold. If only this would have been the worst part of the evening, than the evening would have been quite nice.

We got on a bus at Port Authority to head to my cousin Jessica’s boyfriend Matt’s apartment which is about a ten minute bus ride. As we boarded the bus, I heard the bus driver say to Erica, “no dogs!” I didn’t have to say a word, as Erica handled it for me telling the bus driver Nash is a guide dog. You would think the bus driver who go from NYC to NJ would be able to recognize a guide dog upon seeing them, but go figure, NJ Transit must not train their bus drivers as well as Guiding Eyes trains their guide dogs. We got to Matt’s pretty quickly, and he leant us his car. Erica, Jessica, Nash, and I piled in, and headed off for Livingston, NJ.  Oh before we got into the car, Matt gave Erica a bunch of directions on what she had to do to work the stick shift of the 1999 Honda. My only reaction to all of the instructions were, “seriously dude, we’re taking this death trap!” We sat in traffic for a little bit getting on to the NJ Turnpike, and you wouldn’t believe the noist the death trap made, it sounded like an airplane. I was like, time for a tune up Matt, and it ends up he actually just had it tuned up not to long ago. Not to worry, I have been in junkier cars over the years. We finally got on the turnpike, and we made it threw the first toll, then after the toll, the car began puttering at about 35 mph on the NJ Turnpike, which going that slow is an accident waiting to happen. Then Erica pulled over to the shoulder to restart the gears, and sure enough the car would not go into first gear. She kept trying this several times, but the car kept going backwards. Now, when you are blind, and stuck on a car on the NJ Turnpike, or any freeway, it is a pretty unsettling feeling, as you can feel the big ass trucks flying by, but you cannot tell how close they are to you. Yeah, its lots of fun. So, Jessica called Matt to let him know the car was dead. Matt was understandbly not happy, but in Erica’s defense, she didn’t do anything wrong. We were just the lucky ones who were in the car for its final run. Erica then sat on the phone with triple A for a good 20 minutes, only to eventually be told that they cannout come onto the highway, and that we had to call Highway Patrol. You would think the first operater she spoke to would have said that. We then sat on hold with highway patrol, and then waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. It took about an hour, all the time, Nash was chillin in the back seat with Jessica. He was pretty good for the most part, although he did start to groan, as it was getting near his dinner time, and when Nash wants to eat, he wants to eat. No matter what time I wake up in the morning, come 630 pm, Nash begins to get a little impatient, as he knows it is nearing dinner time. What does he have a sun dial or something, as he does it every day. So finally, the highweay patrol tow truck showed up. Hey, Nashee, your and my first ride in a tow truck. It was a big leap for Nash to get into the truck, but he got in with the rest of us. The car was hooked up, and we were taken to the next exit and to the Walmart at the next exit. We then got to wait for Matt to get there with his Triple A card. He arrived shortly after we did with a friend of his who drove him out. Oh boy, an exciting evening for them, and a great way to spend a night going out for a birthday dinner. Did I mention that it was ten degrees out during all of this? Oh, and you didn’t think that was the end of it.

Once Matt arrived, I gave Nash his dinner. I figured since we were going out for my birthday, at least one of us should get to eat. It was now about 7pm, and I had left my apartment at 415 to head to my sisters. After Nash finished his dinner, we got him into the back of the SUV, and I thought Nash would only get to ride in the back of SUV’s in Cali. He likes riding in the back as long as I am close. We then began the wait for the Triple A tow truck. Yes, two tow trucks! Great system they got going here. At least the heat in the SUV worked a lot better than the heat in the dead car and the first tow truck. After about an hour of waiting, the second tow truck showed up. The got Matt’s pile of junk hooked up, and off back to Matt’s apartment we headed.

We got back there, and I just really wanted to get back to the city. I was freezing, tired, and freezing. Erica and Jessica both agreed, lets just go back to the city. Oh boy, we get to wait outside for the bus to arrive! Did I mention that it was ten degrees outside? We waited with the drunk Jersey hooligans who were heading into the city for a night of debauchery, and all I could think about was sitting on my warm couch undnerneath a blankie! Oh boy, now I get to get on the bus and feel like the bridge and tunnel crowd. Sorry Jersey folks, but it isn’t like you havent been called that before. We got back to the city and were going to go out to eat, but as soon as we started walking torwards my apartment, the wind kicked up. I was thinking how nice it would be to have a nice warm drink somewhere, but after we got about five blocks, I said, “would you guys mind doing this another night?” I couldn’t feel my fingers, and I think hypthermia was kicking in. Yes, I do not think I have ever been this cold. Nash was just trotting along. Good to see the weather doesn’t affect him. So to recap, to celebrate my birthday which isn’t until Tuesday, I took a bus, then a car, broke down, took a tow truck, then a SUV, then a bus, then walked the ten blocks in ten degree weather all while not getting to eat! Its safe to say that on my actual birthday, I will not be going to New Jersey!


Homeword Bound, Part II

January 31, 2010

By the time Nashee and I get back to Steve’s, it is almost four pm. We went over to Trader Joe’s to pick up some stuff for dinner, as Steve is also a really good cook. I could do two nights of homecooked meals. I did feed Nashee as soon as we got to Steve’s, as he had to pretty much not eat all day in preperation for the plane ride. I guess everything I kept telling him all day was a lie, like this is your last time going to the bathroom here. This is the last time we will be going out this exit, and so on.

After dinner, Nash and I headed over to the Melrose Improv, as I figured with the extra night, we might as well take advantage and try and do some networking. We ran into a few comedians and discussed Laugh For Sight moving to L.A. We also ran into the events manager of the Improv, so it was good to see her and discuss LFS, and let her know that we are close to getting her the proposal for the benefit.

Ah, Tuesday, our final day in L.A. take two. Nash and I were waiting for Scott to come over so we could head out for lunch, and you would never guess what happened? It started to down pour again. Unreal! Here we are all set to have an enjoyable nice day of L.A. weather, and the freakin rain is back. We ended up ordering in, and just hanging at Steve’s, and watching the tube. Like I have said before, people don’t go out when it rains in L.A. unless they have to. I think it is because most people out here don’t know how to drive in the rain, so it gets a little crazy, and people freak out. Ok, I just would like to finally get home, and with all my belongings this time.

Since it was coming down pretty good, I let Scott take Nash out for his last walk in L.A. For some reason, I can’t walk with Nash and use and umbrella, but I can walk with him and chew gum. I think this could be the first time that I let someone other than myself take Nash for a walk. I did not have Scott take Nash out for the walk with his harness, just the leash. When Nash got back to the apartment, he was real excited. Not sure if he was excited to see me, or if he felt like a real dog going for a walk just on a leash, but I vote for the first one. Nash does get a little panicked when he doesn’t see me, and everyone does comment about how he does look after me, and not like it when I am far away from him. I guess we have grown real attached.

This time, we are taking the red eye back to NYC, as I figured it would be the best way to keep Nash on some kind of schedule. I also figured, it wouldn’t be as crowded, and it would nice to not have anyone sitting next to us. Steve and I said our goodbyes, and we packed into Scott’s car, this time making sure I had all my bags, and Nash. Nash was sitting in the back seat, and we headed off to the airport. About five minutes into the drive, I said to Scott, “Is that your arm?” He said, “No, is that yours?” We both look down at the arm rest, and start laughing hysterically. Nash had put his head in between both of our arms on the arm rest. I guess he wanted to be up front with the guys. His butt was on the back seat, his belly on the floor, and his head resting on the front arm rest. We tried to take a picture, but it was to dark. This was just Nash showing off his personality, and how much of it he has. He sat like this the whole way even falling asleep, and snoaring. What a cute fella!

We got to the airport, said our goodbyes, and I checked in, and yes, I had my backpack this time. We got through security very quickly. Nash actually sat and waited until I went through. Hey, he is doing this every day now, so he is becoming a pro, and like they said at the guide dog school, practice makes perfect.

The plane was on time, and we did get lucky, as it was a packed flight, and the only open seat was in our row. Yes! The woman sitting next to the window was very nice, and liked dogs, and Nash behaved perfectly. He did slide around a little on the flight, but did sleep throughout most of it. I was exhausted, but for some reason, I cannot sleep on planes. Like I have said time and again, I wish I could sleep like Nash. It was a good flight, and I watched tv for most of it. Not even dozing off for a minute.

We arrived at JFK at 5am east coast time. Great to be back. Unfortunately, JetBlue must have been going through a shift change, as there was no one to meet us at the gate. When we finally finished taking Nash to the bathroom, and got to backage claim, it had taken so long, that I was the only one at baggage claim.  Ugh, I was exhausted, and had to wait in the cab line, and did not get home until 7am. A long night for me. Of course, I couldn’t fall asleep as soon as I got home, and did not get to bed until about 10am. I slept to about 4pm, and then began to unpack. It had been a long productive 13 days, but I was thrilled to be back in NYC. Now we have to follow up on everything, and hope that things begin to move forward for Laugh For Sight NYC and L.A. The next thing we need to do is lock down the dates. Which I hope to do in the next ten days, as each benefit does take about five to six months to put together. I think we are looking at Laugh For Sight NYC in September and Laugh For Sight L.A. in November, and if things go well, we expand even further in 2011. Hopefully, this will lead to a full time job of producing the Laugh For Sight National Comedy Benefit, but only time will tell. Oh, and by the way, as soon as Nash ate when we got back to my apartment, yes, he went straight for my bed. I think he was very happy to finally be home!

Homeword Bound

January 29, 2010

Last Sunday was your typical lazy day filled with football. Of course the one day that I didn’t want to spend outdoors, it didn’t rain at all. My friend’s Scott and Walter came over to Steve’s, and we watched both games. It was good catching up with Walter, and he enjoyed meeting Nash. I don’t think Nash one minute of either game. He did spend a lot of time going back and forth between who was paying him the most attention.

Scott ended up spending the night at Steve’s so he could take me to the airport in the morning. I wasn’t leaving early, but in L.A. traffic can be a bitch. Steve and I said our goodbyes, as he had to go to work. He was an incredible host as usual. Scott and I went out to breakfast. We sat outside at Kings Road Cafe on Beverly Blvd., hey I am finally leaving, and it is finally nice outside. As we were eating, a woman walked by, stopped, stared at Nash, and kept going. Ends up it was Jodie Foster. I guess Nash is a celebrity in L.A. because all the celebs I ran into were staring at Nash. I always thought it was the other way around.

After breakfast, we headed back to Steve’s to get the last of my things before we headed to the Burbank Airport. Scott went to grab my backpack with my laptop and carry on stuff, and I told him to hold on, as I had to put some of Nash’s food in the backpack. Then we were off to the airport. When we got to the airport, I asked Scott where my backpack was? Ends up it was back at Steve’s! GREAT, no time to go back to the apartment. Oh well, I will have to have Steve Fedex it to me. At least I didn’t forget Nash. Scott and I both misunderstood who was taking the backpack, and how odd, I didn’t see it sitting there when we left. Even if I wanted to go back and get it, I couldn’t, as I left Steve’s keys in his apartment.

Nash and I got through security very quickly. He actually sit and stayed on the second time I went through the detector, the first time, he tried to come with me. His harness sets the detector off, After I go through, then Nash comes through, and a security guard pats him down. Nash gave the guy a look like, hey, at least buy me a drink first!

We got to the gate then it hit me. Oh Shit, my apartment keys are in my backpack. Ugh, what a nightmare. Luckily, I was able to call my building, and find out that the doorman does have keys to my apartment, as I would have spent the whole flight wondering if I was going to be able to get into my apartment. I can’t wait to get home.

Great, the flight is now delayed a half hour.

Even greater, now it is delayed an hour.

I call Steve to find out if he is at home, and maybe he can bring my backpack to the airport. Ends up he was home, but is no longer there.

Great now due to the weather in NYC, my flight is delayed two hours. This is going to be a long day for Nash to hold it. They tell us not to leave the gate, as there is a chance the flight can leave at any time. This is really sucking.

Fantastic, now my flight is going to be at least 4 hours delayed. Then it happens, they make an announcement, anyone wishing to change their flight can at no charge!

So I call Steve up, and say, “so you feel like having Nash and me around for another night, and can you pick us up at the airport?”

Nashee and I can do another day and a half in L.A. and enjoy some nice weather!

Those Hollyweird Rainy Nights

January 28, 2010

So it is now Thursday, and what a surprise, it is raining again. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it is to walk Nash in a L.A. monsoon. He of course loves it, but I keep getting drenched. Nash really loves Steve’s apartment, and that he has so many options for where to lay whether it be Steve’s massive living room couch, the blankie Steve has placed for him on the floor, or Steve’s bed. Like I said, Steve is a great host, but I only get the couch option to sleep. I guess he likes Nash more than me.

Thursday night, Nash and I did venture out into the rain to go to the Melrose Improv to meet my buddy Jim, as it had been a few years since I have seen Jim. Jim is one of my old L.A. cronies, and the guy who introduced me to poker. Although I no longer play, when I lived in L.A. I played in a weekly game, and that is one of the biggest things I miss about LA LA land, is my weekly poker game. Of course being blinder now, I am not even sure I would be able to play poker. Of course, Nash and I could try and figure out a system where we could cheat, and he could send me signals about the other players cards. Yes, I think he is that smart. I was amazed how quickly he learned where the hotel room was in San Diego, and how quickly he knew exactlu where Steve’s apartment is. He would go right to the doors when we got on the floor. Must be his amazing sense of smell. So Jim and I did our share of catching up, and I got a little networking done about Laugh For Sight L.A.

Friday it monsooned worst than any day yet. We stayed inside all day except when Nash needed to be walked, and of course, I got drenched. Nash now even has his own towel at Steve’s. We watched all the floods on tv, and even watched a dog be rescued out of the L.A. River. It was pretty amazing, as they didn’t think they would be able to get to the dog in time, as the water level was rising pretty quickly, then all of the sudden, a helicopter came in, some fireman repelled down, got bit by the dog, but was able to get a muzzle on him, and grab him by the collar, and then they flew away with the fireman and dog hanging down from the helicopter, it was pretty amazing, and being the big dog lover that I have become, I was quite happy to see them rescue the dog. Friday night we watched two of the worst movies I have ever seen, Gamer and Whiteout. Ugh, there are a ton of movies I have not seen, but Steve has seen everything, so being the good guest, I agreed.

Saturday it finally stopped raining, yes, we can finally do something other than sit in the house all day. I went out to meet my friend Jim, his wife Robin, and there kids. Steve and I went out for lunch first, and we actually got to sit outside, as it was not raining. Nash even got a bunch of compliments from people passing by. Hey, Nash could even make it in this town. Jim’s kids really liked meeting Nash, and even though their little dog kept barking at Nash, Nash was his quite mellow well behaved dude.

Saturday night, and time to introduce Nash to those old school Hollywood Nights. We had a few drinks at Steve’s, than Steve, Lou, Nash, and I headed out to Lola’s for a night of fun. Lola’s used to be one of the most happening places in L.A., but it is not as popular as it used to be. Still it was pretty crowded for a Saturday night. When we showed up, the hostess asked us, “do you have dinner reservations?” We said, “no, we’re just going to the bar!” She was getting ready to say something, but then saw Nash, and all of the sudden was as friendly as could be. Wow, maybe we should try and hit some of the Hollywood hot spots, and see if we can cut the line, as I don’t do places with lines. We had a great time hanging at Lola’s, and I think Nash really enjoyed the old school Hollywood scene. We eventually scored some couches with some young Hollywood actresses, but even if I could see, I probably couldn’t have told you who they were. I do now believe that Nash is ready for his close up!

Laugh For Sight is expanding to L.A.!

January 27, 2010

The reason I came to stay at Steve’s Monday night, instead of Tuesday, is along with being a very talented actor, Steve has his own contracting company. He also does a lot of design work, and he is doing some work on J. Lo’s house, so he wasnt going to be here all day Tuesday, and he is such a great host, that he wanted to make sure that I had a set of keys. Oh, did I mention that it was raining still? Steve has a giant couch that is bigger than my bed, and at home, I do not let up on the couch, but Steve was totally ok with it, even insisting. Steve even gave Nash his own pillow and blanket. Like I said, he is an amazing host, and Nash is getting spoiled out here. It will be interesting to see if Nash tries to get back on my small couch at home. Nash and I have been sleeping together on the couch, as he sleeps at my feet, and the two of us have been quite comfortable.

So Tuesday afternoon, the gang from Optelec came over to pick me up, and we headed over to the legendary Melrose Improv where I have performed quite a bit over the years. Unfortunately, no shows this time, as the L.A. part of the trip came together at the last minute. We were meeting with the Improv to see if we could iron out the terms to host a Laugh For Sight Los angeles in November which would move LFS NYC to May or September. While we didn’t agree on all the terms, everything was very doable, and Optelec and I am now putting together a proposal for the L.A. benefit, and we may have everything signed by late next week. Very exciting stuff. Hey Nash, how are you enjoying sunny California? I’m kidding, it was still raining. Unreal, I havent been out here in two years, and L.A. is having there worst rain in years.

Since it was monsooning, Tuesday night, Steve and I picked up some wine, and just hung at his apartment. Californians don’t go out in the rain. In fact, most of them freak out and cant even drive in the rain, and I the blind guy might even be a better driver in the rain then they are.

Wednesday came, and guess what more rain and the worst amount so far. Walking Nash and getting drenched every time we go outside is beginning to get old. Today we had a big meeting with one of the biggest management firms in the comedy biz, MBST. My buddy Scott who has been involved with Laugh For Sight since the beginning was coming to pick Nash and me up to head to the meeting. We had to dog proof his car, as it was still monsooing, and hailing in parts of Cali. I’m sure some houses in Malibu are beginning to float down the road. Believe me, it happens. I got a phone call from the manager we were meeting with and our meeting got pushed, at least it wasnt getting canceled. We headed out to lunch, and we had to choose a place that had covered parking, as it was really coming down. So, even though I am not a big sushi fan, I agreed, as I wanted to keep Nash as dry as possible. After lunch we headed to MBST, I thought I remembered their address from my Hollyweird years. Ends up they are in the same building in Beverly Hills as Castle Rock.

While we were sitting in the lobby waiting for our meeting, Scott said something to me, but I didn’t understand him, as he whispered it. Ends up someone was coming up from behind to pet Nash, but then they stopped when they realized he was a guide dog. Should I tell you who it was? What do you say to Billy Crystal when he tries to pet your guide dog? You look Marvvvvelous Mr. Crystal. No, I didn’t say that, but I wish I would have thought of it at the time. I thought that our meeting would last about 15 minutes, ends up it went a little over an hour, and it was very productive, as the management firm really likes the cause Laugh For Sight, and is going to help out getting their clients involved with Laugh For Sight. Some people have been asking me, well did you talk to them about managing you? Sorry guys, they manage Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and several more, so they are a little out of my league. I doubt we will even get any of their monster clients for Laugh For Sight, but it is a beginning, and they know who we are, so we shall see where things go from here.

After out meeting, we headed back to my friend Steve’s, and it finally stopped raining, so we decided to head out to El Carmen’s for happy hour. This was Nash’s first experience with the L.A. bar scene, and it was good to see that he was as popular in L.A. as he is in NYC.

Later Wednesday evening we headed out to Silver Lake with I believe is a little North of Hollywood, and we went over to the Director of VisionZone’s house. It was great to meet his wife, and hang out in Hollyweird for a little bit. Quite a two day adventure that was go, go, go.

VisionZone – That’s A Wrap!

January 23, 2010

On  Monday, it was day two of the VisionZone shoot. We had a nine am call time. Andre, the producer met me at the hotel, and we walked over to the restaurant we were shooting at. The crew had a 630 am call time, so dont feel to bad for me. The restaurant was filled with all of the extras for the scene, and I had instructed the crew to tell the extras to not talk to me or look at me. Kidding of course, that is the way some big Hollywood stars are. I actually forget who the actor was that told the crew to not have the extras look at him. We began shooting fairly shortly after I arrived. My character is sitting in the restaurant, his stomach is grumbling, and he has low vision and can’t read the menu. A basic comedy of errors. I had written into the script that I order a dish with tomatoes, and I say will be fine as long as this dish doesnt have tomatoes, and they cut to a shot of me taking a big bite of a tomato. I hate tomatos, and knew the expression on my face would be priceless, and it was. I almost threw up, but I did manage to keep in character, spit the tomato out, wipe my tongue furiously, and scream for the waitress to bring me water. During the second take, I even ad libbed and had the crew laughing really hard, as I was screaming, excuse miss, waitress, I need some water please, miss, waitress, somebody, mommy! Hopefully they will end up using that take. We moved through the day pretty quickly, as there wasn’t a lot of setup since I was just sitting at a table. Nash was in the back of the restaurant off set, and was really well behaved. Hey afterall, this was day two, and Nash was now a pro at being on movie sets. We did have to shoot one final scene of me being thrown out of the restaurant, as the waitress shoves me out the door, and this caused Nash to stand up, and people told me he was staring at the actress who played the waitress, and was not very happy with her which was pretty funny. And after that, it was a wrap. VisionZone was completed. Now the director has the fun task of editing the film, and trying to make me look like an actor. That cant be easy. The film is supposed to be released in March online, and the premiere is at the Foundation Fighting Blindness Vision Walk in San Antonio, and they are flying Nash and me down for the premiere, so that should be fun, and as soon as I heard about that, I began making plans to go to the Alamo. I love history, and cant wait to go to the Alamo, oh yeah, and the premiere should be fun too!

Then the rain started. For those of you not familiar with California, it never rains.  The Optelec folks and I were supposed to head up to L.A. right after filming, but due to the downpour and 35 mph winds, we decided to wait a few hours. We left around 6pm, and boy was it a good idea we waited, as the 5 freeway was completely flooded, and all backed up. Rescue workers were in the water up to their waist, that cant be too much fun.

Nash slept for most of the ride, but I think he did enjoy looking our the window, and seeing all the California sites for the first time. We were originally going to stay in a hotel out in Marina Del Rey, but it was just more convienet for me to be dropped at my friend Steve’s house in West Hollywood who was being kind enough to take Nashee and me in for the week. We got to Steve’s, and as soon as we came into the apartment, I took Nash off his harness and leash. He ran all around the apartment, as he is not used to this much space. He then went into the bedroom, and jumped into Steve’s bed. I screamed, “Nash, no!” Fortunately, Steve loves dogs, and didn’t mind. Whew. Oh, did I mention it was still raining?

The VisionZone film shoot!

January 22, 2010

The reason I was in San Diego was to star in a short film called VisionZone. It is a film that will be released in March with the launching of the VisionZone website, more on this in coming months. In VisionZone, I play the lead, the hero of the short film. It was a two day shoot, and the first day, I had a nine am call time. My character suffers from low vision, and is not legally blind like me, so it required some method acting, and I had to channel my inner DeNiro to recall those years ago when I could still see and get around without Nash, and without a cane. The first scene we shot required me to walk across the street. One of the crew held on to Nash off to the side. Nash was freaking out a little, as I dont think he liked me walking across the street without him. The crew was able to tell how attached we are, as Nash was very uncomfomfortable with me doing the scene, but it went very smoothly for me, and there were people around telling me when to walk. The funny thing is the intersection we used in downtown San Diego was the only intersection that actually beeped, and told you when to walk. Pretty ironic if you ask me. We then moved on to shots of me walking down the street, and at one point Nash got kicked off the set which was pretty funny. He was whinning a little, as he didnt understand that we were shooting a movie, and that nothing was real, and I guess he didnt understand Quite on the Set. We were filming the same day as the Chargers Jets game, and during one take, we got interrupted with the annoying Jet fans walking bye and screaming out J E T S Jets Jets Jets. Great I thought I came out to San Diego to get away from these annoying fans who can spell.

After our street scenes it was off to Optelec’s headquarters to shoot the VisionZone scene. They had to build the set from scratch, so I had a lot of downtime. When you are shooting a movie, it is a very long day for the actor’s, but the actors spend most of the day sitting around, the crew is constantly working busting their ass, and yes, even us small actors get pampered. I was constantly being asked if I needed anything, which I didn’t, but I could definitely get used to this. As I was waiting, my costar Emily showed up, and we were introduced. She plays my savior the VisionZone employee.

Emily, my VisionZone Costar

After the store was built, it was back to work. I actually fall into the store, so I got to do a lot of flopping around which was fun. Emily was fantastic to work with, and we shot all of the VisionZone interior scenes. Only a 14 hour workday. Nash was off set and while we were shooting one scene for about 2 1/2 hours, I realized it was the longest we have ever been apart. He was really well behaved, and didnt whine at all, plus I gave him one of his bones to play with, so he was happy. As soon as we got back to the hotel, we both crashed. Nash was in heaven with the king sized bed in the hotel room. Funny thing was even with all that room in the king sized bed, Nash still tried to sleep on the left side of the bed which is my side. Nice try buddy!


Greetings From San Diego

January 19, 2010

So Nash and I got into San Diego Friday night, and Kelly from Optelec, the company that I am doing the short film for picked us up at the airport. We headed to my hotel, the Marriott Gaslamp. For those of ou who have not been to San Diego, first off, it is gorgeous. I was staying downtown which is the Gaslamp area called so primarily because the streets are all lined with gaslamps. I guess a few years ago when they built Petco Park where the Padres play, the entire downtown area was gentrified. It’s amazing as ballparks used to be in really bad neighborhoods, but that is not the case anymore, as the Gaslamp area was really nice. After I got settled in the room, we headed out to meet Andre the cEO of Optelec for dinner. I had a real craving for shrimp tacos which are amazing in San Diego, so we went to a restaurant where I could get them. I guess you could say I had a hankering for them ever since I knew I was heading to San Diego. The restaurant we went to had 250 different kinds of tequila, not to worry, we didn’t sample each one. We did have a couple of margarita’s. Dinner was fantastic, and the shrimp tacos were all I was hoping for. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, and I went to the hotel bar for a drink. Nash and I then headed out to check out another bar that the bartender suggested, we headed a few blocks from the hotel, got there, and it was too crowded, so we decided not to go in. Nash and I then headed back to the Marriott. Only problem was we got a little lost, so I asked someone if they knew where the Marriott was, and they said sure which one? Ends up there were four Marriotts in a mile radius. Uh oh, not to worry, Nash and I eventually made it back.

Saturday was a day for Nash and me to just hang out and relax in beautiful San Diego. We started our day by hanging out downstairs at an outdoor coffee shop. There was a huge parade in honor of Martin Luther King  Jr. and Nash and I sat and I enjoyed the sounds of the parade while Nash got to enjoy the sights. We then went back to the hotel room, and got a very strange phone call. I picked up the phone, and they said, “this is the front desk, we have been told that you have a pet in your room.” I said, “no, I have a guide dog in the room,” and they then said, “oh, are you enjoying your stay?” So that was the end of that. We walked around a little Saturday afternoon, and then watched some of the football games, but since they were both blowouts, I fell asleep during some of it.

Saturday night Nash and I went to a party at Andre’s house, the CEO of Optelec and the Producer of Vision Zone. He lives in a historic section of San Diego, and in a gorgeous three story house. We met a bunch of the employees from Optelec and some of the crew for the updoming short film we were getting ready to shoot, VisionZone where I play the lead and the hero.

Nash and my first flight together

January 19, 2010

Sorry to all of Nash and my loyal readers, as it has been a hectic few days of being busy busy busy, and no time to blog as you will see from the next few blogs I enter as time allows. On Friday, Nash and I took our first plane ride together, and it was a great experience. Leading up to our trip, people kept asking me, does he get to sit on the plane with you, and if so, where? I would tell them yes, and that he goes in the overhead storage. It amazed me how many people said, really? No, he doesnt go in the over head storage. He sits at my feet on the plane.  So, we got to JFK on Friday, and I had give myself 2 1/2 hours to get to the airport, and we just barely made it, as they were already boarding when we got to the gate. Now to back track to give you the full experience of going through an airport with a guide dog. We checked our bag, and waited from someone to walk us to security. I was flying Jetblue, and they have always had great customer service, and it is good to see they still do. Nash did not get to eat his normal amount of food, as we wanted him to be as empty as possible for the flight. Its not like I can walk him out o to the wing when he has to go to the bathroom. Nash went to the bathroom before we got in the cab to head to the airport, and then when we got to the airport, the customer service rep took us to an area that they have for dogs to go to the bathroom. Nash sniffed around for like ten minutes, but did not have to go. Oh boy a six hour flight, I hope he is empty! We got to go through the employee entrance for security which is nice because you dont have to wait in line, but it still takes time. I derobed to go through security, then put Nash on the long leash, put him into a sit and stay, and I went through the detector. Only problem was Nash got up and cam e with me, so we tried it again, but Nash did the same thing, so I had the security person hold his leash, and then I went through the detector to get cleared, and they ran a wand over Nash to make sure he wasnt smuggling anything on to the plane. We then got dressed again. Interesting, while I had to take my shoes off to go through the detector, Nash did not have to take his paws off! So we got on to the plane, and we were sitting in the bulk head, and I was hoping that no one would be sitting next to us, but no luck, as all the Jets fans were headed out to San Diego for the game. Oh boy, I hope they don’t do there annoying J E T S, Jets, Jets, Jets chant the whole plane ride. Luckily the people sitting next to me were the exception to the Jets fan rule, they were nice, and I was lucky because they loved dogs. And its a good thing they liked dogs, because Nash was definitely taking up the woman next to me’s personal space. What can I say, he likes to spread out. For the flight, Nash was not in his harness so he could be nice and comfy. He was really well behaved, except for when they brought the snacks around, as he kept staring at the woman sitting next to me as he was hungary. The Jetblue flight staff was fantastic, and really nice, and they made traveling with Nash a real joy. When we got to San Diego, there was a customer rep waiting for me at the gae, and we headed out to get my bag. The rep took Nash for a walk to do his business which was strange, and made me a little uncomfortable, as I don’t like being without him. Nash really had to go, and the amazing thing is we got in to San Diego an hour early. The pilot did say at the beginning of the flight that he was from San Diego, but who knew that he knew a short cut to get there? Next blog will be about being in San Diego, but be written in L.A., as that is where we are now.

California Here We Come, Right Back Where We Started From, California

January 14, 2010

You have to love the theme song by Phantom Planet for the O.C. Nash and I are off to San Diego today. I got him a new flavored nila bone for the long flight, I can’t believe with all the advances in technology that it still takes over 6 hours to fly to San Diego. We are staying in a real nice area of San Diego, the Gaslamp area. I hear it looks a lot like London with lamps all down the street, and there are a lot of restaurants and stuff in walking distance which is great for us blind folk. Ends up we are not shooting tomorrow, so Nash and I will have time to go walking around. We shoot the short film on Sunday and Monday, and then after that it is off to Los Angeles for some meetings about Laugh For Sight possibly expanding to L.A. later this year. I was hoping to have some shows set up for L.A., but with the last minute confirmation of the L.A. leg of the trip happening, I am not sure we will get to do any shows, but we shall see. I can’t believe that it has been over two years since we have been out to LA LA land, so my network isn’t what it used to be, but this will be a good opportunity to re-establish my network, which will be quite beneficial in case we do hold a Laugh For Sight in L.A. I am not sure if I will do the Hollywood scene at all, as my last time out there, I had a real negative experience with people being assholes. Go figure, people are phony in L.A., and won’t help a blind guy with a cane, but it could be interesting to jump into the Hollywood scene with the superstar Nash, and see how people treat us. It is amazing the difference between the comedy and Hollywood crowds in L.A. The comedy crowd is actually pretty down to earth, or at least it was the last time I was in L.A.

I really think Nash is going to miss my bed while we are gone, but wait until he sees the giant bed in the hotel in San Diego. I bet his eyes will open real wide, and he will never want to leave the room. Nash now has a foot and bed fetish. He is in my bed every night, and a lot throughout the day. At least he hasn’t peed in it to mark his territory, as I think I might have an issue with that.

Well, I broke down and am bringing my laptop, in case they make any script changes, it will be easier to read it on my laptop then in print, since I can’t see print anymore. So my next blog check in will be after Nash and my first flight together, and from San Diego.