Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Year Is It?

Thursday September 29th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Today is the first full day of the Jewish new year 5772. The Chinese year is 4708. In our society we’re lagging way behind in 2011. Does anyone actually know for a fact what the hell year it actually is? Of course not. We as humanity don‘t know a whole lot else either.

   We’ve had thousands of years to get it together as a species, and we’re not even close to figuring it out. We’re still hung up on petty issues like skin color and which plot of dirt is supposed to be ‘holier’ than another. My aching bung hole, can’t we get it settled already?

   Every culture is hung up on something, and it’s not getting any better. Religion adds to both the confusion and tension because everyone thinks theirs is correct and everyone else is going to sizzle in a flaming barbecue pit for eternity because they didn’t share the same belief in some invisible space being that knows every time we fart, pee, belch or sneeze.

   The older I get, the less I’m buying of any of it. I guess I’m officially the curmudgeonly old croaker I never dreamed I’d become. Why is the world the way it is, and why can’t we make it better or at least a little more fair? I’m not satisfied with the way things are going, and I can’t be the only one who’s losing hope. Something’s wrong, and it needs fixing.

   Greedy bastards seem to be winning, and that’s just not right. I would think if there is a higher power that it would have been taken care of by now, but it isn’t. In fact, it’s getting a whole lot worse in a very short time. I wish I could have faith it’s getting better, but I’m just not seeing it. My own life is going pretty well, but the world around me is imploding.

   That’s what’s so frustrating. Just when I finally seem to be figuring the key things out in life and getting myself on a productive path, the rest of the world seems to be sliding back down whatever mountain we’ve been trying to climb for the past several thousand years.

   Has it always been this way? Unfortunately, probably yes. It’s only now that I’m seeing it clearly, and it makes me feel very insignificant. In this enormous infinite universe, I am but one of six billion other cosmic specks that comprise human kind, and none of us have done much to make the place we live better than we found it. We should all be ashamed.

   I know I am. I should have been doing what I’m doing decades ago, but I was too stupid to figure it out then. I was too busy being pissed off at things I couldn’t control, and all it did was waste most of my youth and dilute my creative vision. And there are no do-overs.

   Is 5772 going to be the year there’s finally peace in the Middle East? I hope so, but that should have happened 5771 years ago in my opinion. New generations crop up but do not let go of the past stupidity that wasted the lives of their ancestors. I don’t want to do that.

   I swear I’m on the wrong planet, and sometimes I just want to get back on the spaceship and go home, wherever that is. Am I or anyone else here ‘for a reason’ or is this just a big cruel cosmic prank? I don’t know, but I have my doubts. Something just doesn’t add up.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Comedy Class Kickoff

Wednesday September 28th, 2011 - Palatine, IL

   Tonight was the official kickoff of comedy classes at Harper College in Palatine, IL and everything fell into place perfectly. There was a live show from 6:30 to 7:30 with some of my former students performing, and then an abbreviated version of the class from 8 to 9.

   I don’t think they’ve done too many events like this at Harper in the past and it was very well received. Scott Cashman is the person in charge of continuing education and he’s the one who suggested we try this to drum up interest. I’m glad he did, it was quite a success.

   The whole staff I’ve been dealing with from Scott on down have been nothing short of a dream team to work with. I’ve gotten quickly frustrated in the past with all the red tape of dealing with colleges, but not here. I feel like we’re all part of a team and we‘re winning.

   This is a kind of thing I can see doing again and again, and it’s a win/win for everybody involved. My students get precious stage time in front of a real audience, and Harper gets to have a fun free event to promote. I get exposure in an area I normally wouldn’t be seen, and get to both perform and teach on the same night. That’s not something I normally do.

   Bill Gorgo came out mainly to visit and support but since the audience was so receptive he went up and did a killer ten minute set. I knew he was the perfect choice for this event as he’s a high school teacher by trade and understands where the line is in this scenario.

   I also asked Karl Newyear, Michelle Krajecki and Russ Martin to be part of it, and they all showed up and knocked it out of the park despite the fact there was no microphone for the show. Scott overlooked that detail but nobody was upset. It was an intimate room and not a problem to speak loud enough for everyone to hear. It was a good exercise actually.

   It’s fun for me to watch students grow, and to also be able to reward them with a chance to do a show in front of an appreciative audience. Karl, Michelle and Russ have all put in a lot of work for years and deserved a night like this. Having Bill close it out made it flow perfectly, then a large number of the audience ended up staying for the class afterward.

   I love teaching with Bill because he not only knows comedy but is also a techno wizard. I have all I can handle to check my email but Bill brings flash drives packed with obscure audio and video and we can access it in a New York minute. It makes it easy to go off on tangents in class because we can bring up the concrete examples to show what we mean.

   The show and class together were a winning combo, and those who attended enjoyed it. I’m not sure how many will actually pay to sign up for the real class, but it was still worth it to put this together as an introduction. Eventually I think it can become a regular event.

   The thrill of all of this is that we’re starting up completely from nothing. I never tire of the feeling of accomplishment that brings, and I’m grateful for a chance to work with the staff at Harper who are letting it happen. These students are going to get a fantastic class.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

The Sweetest Laughter

Tuesday September 27th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   For the first time in way too long, it was a comedians’ night out. That’s one of the perks of the business outsiders don’t get to experience, and I’ve always loved it. It’s a chance to let the guard down and recharge the batteries with people who share a bond in lifestyles.

   There are few sounds on earth sweeter than that of a comedy audience laughing, but one of them is fellow comedians laughing out loud at something another one said. Comedians are notoriously hard laughers, even if we think something is funny. We just don’t show it the way civilians do. Most of us will point, nod and say “Hey, that’s funny.” But that’s it.

   Getting a comedian to laugh out loud is like getting a rabbi to eat pork chops. It happens once in a while, but when it does it turns heads in disbelief. The rabbi really has to have a craving for pork to get him to do it, just like a comedian has to hear something hilariously funny to trigger even a small physical laugh. Our ability to be surprised has been numbed.

   Tonight Tim Benker, John DaCosse and I met at Tim’s house to drive to the very same Zanies club I just got through working last week. Normally, that would be the last place I would ever go on a night off but we went to hang out with our friend Dwayne Kennedy.

   Tim and John and Dwayne and I have been doing comedy since the early ‘80s and have now each acquired the moniker of ’old school veteran’ whether we want it or not. We’ve all been around the block more than once, and we’ve earned our stripes with hard work.

   Zanies has been a big part of all of our lives, and a chance to hang out for an evening of relaxed fun without having to be preoccupied with doing a show was too enticing to pass up. We exchanged stories, insults and laughs in the car, and it continued when we arrived at Zanies and were joined by Dwayne and Bert Haas who booked us all for all these years.

   Living the comedy life for any length of time is not for everyone. It takes a severe toll in several ways, and only someone who has lived the life can fully relate. There’s unfairness and petty politics and an overabundance of rejection comedians have to deal with that can be stressful and downright unpleasant. Having someone who can relate to it is a comfort.

   After the show we all sat around and exchanged stories and made each other laugh hard. All of us have been through the comedy wars, and nobody in the group was trying to steal the spotlight or anything like that. It was just a group of road seasoned veterans having an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and there was a friendly vibe the whole time.

   Each one of the guys in that room has a special place in my heart and I like and respect them all. The camaraderie we shared must be like what pro athletes talk about they enjoy so much about playing sports. There’s an extra close bond that only those involved feel.

   I’m glad I spent my life pursuing my dream of being a comedian. Hearing laughs from an audience is a thrill. Hearing them from other comedians is better. I’m one of the guys.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sports Fan Satisfaction

Monday September 26th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Being a sports fan involves a passionate level of psychological commitment that usually begins in early childhood and takes root for a lifetime. Sometimes it only ends up being a single sport, but quite often it spreads like a contagious disease and involves two or more.

   Most people tend to cheer for their home team if they have one, and in my case growing up in Milwaukee in the ’70s I had several. The earliest exposure to sports I can remember is watching football on TV with my grandfather. I found it funny that he would yell at the screen, knowing even then that nobody but I could hear him. That was my gateway drug.

   Gramps used to explain to me how the game worked, and the only reason I’d watch was to spend quality time with him. One day he opened up the sports section of the newspaper to show me the standings and explained that there were 26 teams and if I was going to be a true football fan, I needed to narrow it down to a single one and cheer for them always.

   He told me I could pick any one I wanted, but when I made my choice that was the one I had to stay with for the rest of my life. He loved the Packers, and dropped not so subtle hints to that fact like atomic bombs. I was an easy mark, and promptly chose them too.

   Little did I know much pain, heartache and suffering I would be in for throughout most of my childhood years. Long gone were the Lombardi glory years and in their place was a cheap and ineffective replacement of sub par regimes headed by Dan Devine and others.

   College football was no better. Living in Wisconsin, the logical choice was to cheer for the home state Badgers, who were supposed to be members of the Big Ten conference but it ended up as the Big Eight and Little Two. Wisconsin and Northwestern were always the bottom feeders, and everyone else would stomp them to death like sissies at a biker bar.

   Baseball was a similar experience. The hometown Brewers were brutal, and always way out of contention by July or earlier no matter how hard I hoped it would be different every year. It wasn’t until I was almost out of high school that they finally managed to turn it all around, but by then the damage was done. I was an abused puppy, used to getting kicked.

   The only hope I had was basketball. The NBA Bucks were perpetual winners and had a pair of superstars in Oscar Robertson and then Lew Alcindor before he changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. They were amazing to watch, and I followed them religiously.

   It’s all different now, and I love it. The Packers are rolling like an out of control freight train taking everyone out who crosses their path, and the Brewers won the division in fine style and look to be contenders to win it all. The Badgers are an absolute powerhouse too.

   Funny how the Bucks are now perpetual doormats, and the NBA might not even have a season. Too bad for them. Nobody cares. We’re all too busy enjoying the rest of it and it’s a golden era like never before. I wish I could have had it as a kid, but I’m enjoying it now.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Next Stop - Uranus!

Sunday September 25th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I’ve got so many positive things percolating in my life right now, I’m having a difficult time keeping everything straight. It’s a wonderful problem to have, and I’m grateful for it. It’s not only keeping me busy beyond belief, it’s also keeping my mind in a quality place.

   I’m in the best groove of my entire life, and I feel it getting stronger every day. This was what I always pictured life to be like, but try as I might I couldn’t find a way to get there - at least on a consistent basis. I’ve felt flashes of it, but not like I do now. This is different.

   I know it won’t last forever, and I feel a sense of urgency to accomplish as much as I’m able to in however long it lasts. I’m thinking clearer than I ever have, and I feel myself get stronger every day. There’s a plan in place, and even though in my mind it took WAY too long to get here, I’m here, and it was all worth the wait. I‘m exactly where I want to be.

   Just as things got on a roll in a negative way for so long, it’s now just the opposite. I’ve turned my personal life magnet completely around and am attracting completely different results - a whole lot more to my liking I might add. It seems so easy, but it totally wasn’t.

   I have to say my diagnosis of diabetes was what lit this fire. It was a wake up call and it still resonates loudly in my head every single day. It scares me enough to get out there and take my walk each day and also to eat vegetables and drink water when chili dogs and Dr. Pepper used to be my first choice. I’ve changed myself from the inside out, and it shows.

   Physical improvement has led to an improvement in my attitude as well. I see how it all fits together, and I know I want to stay in this groove for the rest of my life. Maybe it was necessary to experience all I did early in life to give me a reference point, but I don’t ever want to go back there again. The good old days weren’t all that good. This is much better.

   I’m doing everything I enjoy, and my major problem is finding enough time each day to squeeze everything in. That’s a fantastic problem to have - but it could lead to burnout if I don’t watch myself. I have to be very careful to think things through before I agree to take on any new projects. The ones I’ve got now will keep me busy for the foreseeable future.

   The one that keeps coming to the top of my list is the King of Uranus. This is my life’s dream, and I don’t care who laughs at me for it. In fact, I want as many people to laugh at it as possible - but after they’ve bought a ticket or product first. The world needs a laugh.

   This is the best time of my life, and I don’t intend to waste it. The past is the past and if I dwell on it, I’ll go crazier than I already am. I’ve come so far in such a short time that it feels like that was a different person in a different lifetime. I’m new and much better now.

   I had a fantastic week of fun at Zanies in Chicago, but I still know I can take it to a level much higher than this. I’m not kidding myself, nobody knew who I was before they got to the club this week and they probably don’t recall now. The King of Uranus is memorable.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pleasurable Business

Saturday September 24th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   This is a very solid week of shows at Zanies on multiple levels. Audiences have been at full or near full capacity for the most part, and the on stage talent lineup is a healthy blend of styles that not only fit together for a quality show - we also get along off stage as well.

   That’s getting rarer in comedy unfortunately, and we all acknowledged it. All too often at least one of the comedians on a show either don’t fit into the on stage mix or are a pain in the ass to deal with in other areas like consistently going long or stepping on premises.

   Audiences don’t realize that most comedy clubs are booked haphazardly and there’s no rhyme or reason as to why certain acts are on the same bill for any given show. Usually it boils down to random chance of who happens to call or email the booker at a certain time, and that’s a recipe for disaster. There’s a delicate chemistry that makes or breaks a show.

   There used to be at least a little thought put into it by most bookers, but then the internet came along and changed the game for the worst. Now, most of them treat it like a contest on the radio where the sixth emailer gets the gig and they’re matched up totally at random with another act who sent another email for a different spot on the show. It’s ridiculous.

   I’ve gotten some insane bookings through the years that have made me scratch my head in disbelief as to why a person who knew even the least little bit about live entertainment would put me on a show with some of the acts I’ve been paired with. They haven’t a clue as to how to construct shows properly, yet they’re responsible for the livelihoods of many.

   When I was an opening act, I wasn’t hard to follow because I made a conscious effort to avoid stepping on premises of the headliners whenever I could, and I also knew to keep it clean. That seems to be a lost art now, and all too often I have to dig myself out of a giant hole after one or both opening acts take an audience into the gutter and leave them there.

   Not this week. The host is a guy named Tim Benker and I’ve known him for at least 25 years. Zanies uses veteran acts as ‘house emcees’ and it makes for a much better show on so many levels. The host slot is very important, and it usually gets filled by a total newbie who has no idea how to run a show and it’s over before it starts. Tim knows how to do it.

   Plus, we’ve also been riding together all week and that helps save big money on parking and gas. Little things like that all add up to a fun week onstage and off, and that’s exactly what this has been. If more road weeks were like this, and they used to be, comedy would be a lot better off. Too many idiots and inexperienced greenhorns have watered it down.

   The feature act this week is a young lady named Cameron Esposito. She’s 29, and has a great work ethic onstage and off. She’s quite talented and markets herself way better than I ever did at that age, and I respect her very much. Our acts are very different and make for a nice flow. The booker Bert Haas said he was proud of himself for putting the three of us on this show and he should be. We all had three solid shows tonight - and a lot of fun too.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Troy Davis Execution

Friday September 23rd, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   The death penalty is always a topic of interesting conversation. People talk about it all the time, and most have a passionate opinion one way or another. I’ve made it a topic on several radio shows, and as morbid as it sounds there are even a lot of humor angles in it.

   I know it wouldn’t be nearly as funny if it were me in that position, but that’s how it is with humor - OTHER people’s pain is exploited, and those who don’t feel it can laugh at the one who does. I didn’t make up that formula, it’s hard wired into the human animal.

   There are all kinds of old jokes about tragedy and death, and they wouldn’t be old jokes if they didn’t work well enough to keep being passed around. Even the common name of most electric chairs being ‘Old Sparky’ is funny to everyone but the poor sap sitting in it.

   I’ve often pictured myself in a comedic way on death row and used to do a bit for years about my last meal. I think everyone thinks about what they’d order, and I always said I’d eat lots of Mexican food and then go to the electric chair so there’d be a mess to clean up.

   It always got laughs, but I’ve been reading lately about a case in Georgia that involves a convicted cop killer named Troy Davis who was put to death this week despite many who claimed there was reasonable doubt that he did it. I didn’t find this case very funny at all.

   I don’t know if he did it or not, but he maintained his innocence to the bitter end. I’ll bet a lot of people on death row do the same, but unfortunately the sad possibility does exist a few of them are telling the truth. What a horrific feeling it must be to have to endure that.

   I came as close as I ever want to come to that years ago when I had to testify against my childhood best friend in a bank robbery trial. I knew in my heart that I didn’t rob the bank but my lawyer told me the authorities thought I did it and were negotiating with him as to how long my prison sentence would be. He said innocent people go to prison all the time.

  There was about a six week period of my life when I wasn’t sure if I was going to be one of them or not, and to make it worse I had to keep it to myself and go be funny in comedy clubs every night. It was by far the most miserable time of my life, and I still don’t know how I was able to pull off comedy shows then. There was nothing funny about that time.

   I did come to a point in my head when I was going to accept it if I had to do prison time for something I didn’t do. It was difficult not to be both bitter and afraid, and there were a lot of sleepless nights those six weeks but I did my best to prepare myself for the worst.

   I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Troy Davis if he truly was innocent, and it takes a special kind of super human resolve not to totally lose it. What disturbed me the most was that the state of Georgia didn’t listen to the appeals from so many who thought there was a chance he didn’t do it. That just doesn’t seem like justice to me, and I think it should be fair for everyone - even though I know that just isn’t how it is on this planet.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Super Silence

Thursday September 22nd, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   I have yet to experience anything in the human existence that equals the sheer unbridled thrill of being onstage performing standup comedy when it’s going well. It’s an absolutely intoxicating feeling, and can last up to an hour - and sometimes even longer. It’s intense.

   There are varying degrees of satisfaction, and depending on an individual audience that feeling can fluctuate up and down from minute to minute. I’ve never surfed, but I have to believe it’s a similar feeling of catching a monster wave. A lot of variables are involved.

    I’ve seen surfers speak of catching that elusive perfect wave and what a feeling of pure ecstasy it is when it happens. Then, in a few seconds it’s gone and the hunt for a new one starts all over again. It’s a perpetual pursuit of pleasure, and standup comedy is the same.

   I was in one of those hot zones tonight at Zanies in Chicago. For whatever reason, I was firing on all cylinders and the audience was with me and like a master chess player I knew what to do five moves ahead. I was in charge, and they let me bring them into my world.

   The ultimate proof that an audience has gotten into a show is what I call ‘super silence’. There are two forms of silence a comedian can experience, and they couldn’t be any more opposite. The first is the excruciatingly painful silence that resonates throughout the room when nobody is laughing. That can vary from one joke to an entire night’s performance.

   It’s the ultimate feeling of horror and rejection and causes hearts to race, palms to sweat and rectums to clench tight enough to turn a lump of coal into a shiny diamond. When it’s going badly, there’s an eerie feeling of panic that sets in and everyone has to experience it to have a point of reference to know what to do to make it go well. It’s a necessary evil.

   I’ve felt that horror too many times to count, and although it’s not pleasant I’ve learned not to take it personally. It’s an unavoidable risk that goes with the territory, and everyone who has ever chosen to be a comedian has experienced it at some point - and will again.

   Then there’s the super silence. That happens somewhere in the middle of a show when there has been a special bond created between the audience and the comic. Every last ear in every last seat is riveted on every last word. The sneeze of a cockroach could be heard.

   It’s a special level of attention, and the deepest respect an audience as a group can pay a performer. They’re surrendering their all, and it’s a feeling of pure power. It can even be a little scary when it first happens, but then it becomes the standard of excellence. I love it.

   I reached that point tonight about thirty minutes into my set. I’d been pounding them for a long time, and decided to slow it down and let them breathe a little. I felt the sweet hush come over them and immediately knew I was catching the monster wave so I slowed it up even more and let myself savor the entire experience. I dug in and squeezed out every last atom of energy from my being and gave it to them. THIS is why I continue to do comedy!

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Charlie's Sheen

Tuesday September 20th, 2011 - Rockford, IL/Chicago, IL

   Another jam packed day, but it was jammed with doing what I love so that makes it all worth my time and effort. First it was off to pick up Jim McHugh for our second and final air shift on AM 1330 WNTA in Rockford, IL. We had fun yesterday, and today was even better. We felt much more at home, and got on some nice riffs about Charlie Sheen of all things. He was ‘Topic A’, and good talk show hosts will get the most out of those stories.

   I don’t particularly like or dislike Charlie Sheen personally, but he sure does know how to draw attention to himself. He’s created a brand for better or worse, and enough people buy it to keep him in business and in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

   That’s something I’ve not been able to do on a large scale, and that’s part of the reason I’m filling in on an AM station in Rockford. No offense to anyone in Rockford, or at the station. I enjoyed hanging out with Jim, and we were treated well by everyone involved.

   I’m pointing the finger of blame at myself, and it hurts. I’ve had all these years to build some kind of marketing brand for myself, and I’ve fallen painfully short of what I wanted to achieve as far as results. The only reason I got on the radio was because I knew the guy in charge and he knew I could do the job. That‘s the right formula, but in the wrong place.

   Had it been a national show like Bob and Tom or Coast To Coast AM, I’d be in a whole different arena even though I’d be the exact same product and that’s what’s so frustrating. I cracked off some funny lines on the air in Rockford that would have been appreciated by a lot more people had they been said on a bigger platform. Instead, I’m still an unknown.

   It doesn’t change my abilities in the least, it’s just that they haven’t been marketed to an audience that knows me by name. I haven’t built a brand for whatever reason, and it takes money out of my pocket. It’s not easy to be funny on cue consistently, but I’ve done it for over 25 years just to make the meager money I’ve made. The big time won’t change that.

   I’d still be the same me, it’s just that more people would hear it and if they knew me by name it would seem funnier to them. The product itself wouldn’t really change. The same is true with standup comedy. I performed a strong show for about fifty people at Zanies in Chicago tonight and kept them laughing consistently for 45 straight minutes. That’s hard.

   Again, the only reason I got to do that was because the booker Bert Haas knows me and knew I could do the job. Unfortunately, so can enough other people that he isn’t forced to use me at all if he so chooses. He chose to, and I’m very grateful - but it wasn’t necessary.

   If Charlie Sheen said he was going to do standup comedy, he’d attract more people in a week than I’ve been able to attract in 25 years of slugging it out in Rockford size cities all over North America. I’ve successfully built the show part, but have been a flaming failure at the business. After a lifetime of preparing myself to be able to entertain people, nobody knows who the hell I am to come see my show. I’ve got to address this or I’m in trouble.

   This really bothered me all the way home from Zanies, even though it was a fun day on every level. I like being on the radio, and I like hanging out with Jim McHugh. I like Jim Stone as well, and the time both on the air and in the car to and from were very pleasant.

   Zanies was a great experience too. Martin the manager is a wonderful person, and he’s a big supporter of mine and always has. I have free reign there to do just about anything I’d ever want, including drink all the top shelf liquor if indeed I were inclined to be a drinker. The wait staff couldn’t be any nicer, and they have also been extremely supportive of me.

   If I were to have a rotten show, or even a week of rotten shows, it’s not like I’d never be able to return. I might have to wait a while, but I’d eventually get another chance because I’ve proven myself a lot in the past. If there is comedy job security, I’ve got it at Zanies.

   I’m extremely grateful for all of this, both in Rockford and at Zanies. My problem is it’s only in those and very few other places, and I have to depend on those people in charge to keep me employed. I don’t have to kiss Bert Haas or Jim Stone’s ass. They’ve known me for years and know what I can do, and we have a good relationship. That’s how it works.

   Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of relationship with the most important one of all - the public. Charlie Sheen can be drugged up or drunk or anything he wants to be because the public wants what he’s selling. His brand has been sampled and purchased by a large enough audience that he can do whatever he chooses. That’s the position I want to have.

   I don’t show up drunk anywhere, because I don’t drink a drop. I never treat the staff at a comedy club or radio station poorly, and I try extremely hard to be super low maintenance to deal with off stage or off the air. None of that really matters, as the public doesn’t care.

   Zanies likes to have me, and I appreciate that. So does Jim Stone. Ditto. But for any tiny reason at all, I could be flicked like a bug and never heard from again and the only person who would care even a little would be me. That’s very scary, and I have to protect myself and change that however I can. I need to create a brand and an audience who supports it.

   That’s why it’s so imperative that I keep cranking on the King of Uranus project. I need something shiny that catches the eye of a chunk of the public that wants to see it. It really doesn’t even have to be good, even though I want it to be for personal pride’s sake. All it has to be is known and accepted. Are McDonald’s hamburgers the best? Not even close.

   I don’t want to take away the fact that I had a wonderful day today. The weather was as perfect as it gets, and I hung out with friends and did not one but two things that a whole lot of people would love to do but can’t. Both situations were fun and came off smoothly,
I’m grateful for the chance to do both. And, I like and respect the people I did it all for.

   All those things are rare and hard to beat. I don’t take any of it lightly, but I know I have the ability to do it on a higher level and get paid more. My show isn’t the problem, but the business still is. Is it possible to attain it all? It seems so, but so far I haven’t pulled it off.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Exercising My Options

Wednesday September 21st, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   The trouble with time management rears its ugly head again. I can now clearly see how bad habits develop, and I’m fighting hard to avoid the same stupid mistakes I’ve so often made in the past. It takes conscious effort and a battle plan, but I’m keeping it together.

   The last two days have been very hectic, and I haven’t had time to get my exercise walk in. I’ve needed to be in several places on a deadline and that’s how I’ve lived most of my life. Sitting in a car, bus or airplane for multiple hours and then standing on a stage with a microphone for forty-five minutes isn’t the way to stay in shape, but that’s how it’s been.

   Then, to make it worse, I’ve thrown gas on the fire by wolfing down fast food regularly as part of the daily ritual. Even worse than that, it was usually after a show - the absolute worst time to pack one’s innards full of preservatives. It might be convenient, but it’s sure not healthy. I’ll admit I was guilty of it for years, and stretches like this are a reminder.

   Today was getting away from me as well. I had all kinds of emails and calls backing up from the two days I was in Rockford doing radio and last night at Zanies in Chicago. Lots of little things add up to several hours of busy work, and before I know it the day is gone.

   I was so busy trying to get caught up, I didn’t eat breakfast other than a small handful of raw almonds and some water. Then, I had intended to take my walk and eat a salad but all hell broke loose with a booker trying to change a scheduled date and that ate up two hours I’ll never get back. I was getting hungry, frustrated and it was getting to be late afternoon.

   I could have easily blown off my walk for a third straight day, and I could have come up with all kinds of legitimate reasons to justify it. I was running late, I needed to get myself ready to go to Zanies, and since that gig is paying my immediate bills it takes #1 priority.

   But I didn’t. I knew I needed to force the issue and get out there and shake some booty. The weather was nice and I had an hour before I had to leave, so I sucked it up and did it. I started to fight it at first, but then I got into a zone and let myself get lost in the moment.

   I’m starting to really learn to enjoy my time alone during my walks. My brain is an open book, and I think about all kinds of things which helps the time pass quickly. I go over all my projects and what I want to do in the future, and even a few things I blew in the past.

   I returned home drenched in sweat, but also relaxed and feeling great that I made a good decision. I took a quick shower and got in the car and realized I hadn’t eaten anything else but the almonds all day. That was another danger zone. I could have easily had a fast food fix of colon clogging crud, but I chose a Wendy’s chili and grilled chicken wrap instead.

   It may not be ideal, but it’s a lot better than a grease soaked double burger with all kinds of condiments on it, even greasier fries and a large bed wetter sized Coke like I’d order in the past without even thinking. I made some positive choices today. I intend to continue.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rolling To Rockford

Monday September 19th, 2011 - Rockford, IL

   I never know quite what to think when people say “You were the first person I thought of” in a given situation. Sometimes it’s a refreshing compliment, but others it’s an insult. This time it turned out to be a compliment, or at least that’s how I’m choosing to take it.

   My radio friend Jim Stone in Rockford, IL called to ask if I’d be willing to fill in on the AM news/talk station in his building. He’s the operations manager and is in charge of the on air programming departments of several stations, and was searching for backup hosts.

   I’d never hosted in a news/talk format before, and I thought it would be a win/win to go do it. Jim is very easy to deal with, and not the typical two faced backstabbing radio snake I’ve dealt with so often in the past. He made no pretenses about anything, this was just an opportunity to gain a little experience and a few bucks for gas. I thought it would be fun.

   To make it even more fun, Jim also called our mutual friend Jim McHugh and made the same offer. Jim McHugh said he’d do it, but only if he could be on with me. We ended up riding out to Rockford together and made it an adventure. He hasn’t done much radio and wasn’t comfortable hosting a show himself just yet. That’s actually a very smart decision.

   I’ve been on both sides of comedy and radio, and too often people on each side seem to think they can cross over to the other without a hitch. WRONG. Each one is a skill and it takes a different mind set to do it well. I’ve been doing each for years, and understand the subtleties of both. Neither one is easy, and it becomes obvious when one is done poorly.

   This was an ideal chance to practice in an actual on air situation. Jim Stone wouldn’t be breathing down our neck, and Jim McHugh and I know each other very well. He’s a smart funny, well spoken guy, and has strong opinions. Those are the requirements of talk radio.

   In my opinion, funny is what helps keep it interesting. There are a lot of boring nuts and bolts that need oiling in that genre, and a sense of humor helps make it digestible to many who aren’t that interested in the topics. I know I’m not. I just wanted to be an entertainer.

   Neither one of us knows Rockford politics, and couldn’t care less. We wanted to throw a different twist into it, and make things fun. Jim Stone gave us bare bones instructios and told us other than swear or do something completely stupid, to go in there and have fun.

   That’s exactly what we did. I’ve had a lot of practical hosting experience from my days on the Mothership Connection which came in handy. I know how to drive a talk show and I know Jim McHugh so there was nothing to be afraid of. We started out fine and kept the flow going for two hours without any glitches. We even got a steady flow of callers too.

   The station is AM 1330 WNTA, yet another set of call letters to add to the extensive list of places I’ve been across the radio dial and across the country. We’re scheduled to return tomorrow, and after that who knows? I’m flattered to get the call, and I’m glad I said yes.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Monday, September 19, 2011

Packers Win, Bears Lose!

Sunday September 18th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL/Chicago, IL

   Packers win, Bears lose. There’s a recipe for a fine day if I ever heard one. I don’t care if it shouldn’t make a difference in the big picture of life, and it shouldn’t, it still puts me in a merry mood. Does that make me a silly superficial shallow soulless snob? So be it.

   One of the few things I don’t like about living where I do is that I don’t get a chance to catch my beloved Packers when they’re on local TV. I’m closer to the Wisconsin border than I am Chicago, but I’m stuck with Chicago TV stations and have to watch the Bears.

   On days like today, it’s nothing but pleasure. I was hard at work sorting through boxes but I had the Bears on TV and the Packers on the radio and both games went exactly how I wanted them to go. What a great day. It was like making love to two beautiful women at the same time. Not that that would ever happen to Mr. Lucky, but can’t I dream a little?

   The Packers were down at halftime, but I had to believe they’d make a strong comeback against a team with a rookie quarterback and first year head coach. Experience tends to be the difference, and the Packers had a major advantage in that department. And it showed.

   They’re really looking good, and I’m thrilled to see it. Old farts like me still have horrid flashbacks of the ‘70s and ‘80s teams that were so disappointing, so this is pure heaven to be savored every week. I also had to sit through the misery of the Bears being great in the ‘80s, and it still makes me sick. Every time I see the Super Bowl Shuffle, I get nauseous.

   That’s why today was so fantastic. Watching the Bears get their asses handed to them is pleasant enough, but to have the Packers on the radio at the same time playing so well is a hard combination to beat. It was like surf and turf - I don’t know which one I liked better.

   Then there was the delicious dessert of listening to the post game radio show on WSCR ‘The Score’ with former Bears players Ed O’Bradovich and Doug Buffone. I respect them both as former players and broadcasters, and they really know their stuff, but after a Bears loss it’s some of the most entertaining radio I’ve ever heard. They whine like school girls.

   Then, they take calls from listeners who piss and moan even more. I can’t decide which I enjoy more, the pissing or the moaning. Maybe I get such a kick out of it because I know what it’s like to be frustrated by life and it’s a refreshing change to observe someone else.

   Whatever the case, I had an entire day of guilty pleasure, and I loved every second of it. There will be other days where it’s exactly the opposite and the Packers will lose and the Bears will win, and I’ll be miserable. That’s ok. I’ll shut off the radio and find something productive to do and the sting will go away as I get lost in my task. I’ve done that before.

   But not today. This was a day to cherish, and I am. Not only that, I had a terrific show at Zanies in Chicago tonight and didn’t even have to bring up football. They all knew. And I knew they knew. Next week the teams play each other, and that could be heaven or hell.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finding Buried Treasure

Saturday September 17th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   For as much as I wanted to blow it off entirely, I was quite proud of myself for spending the better part of today and tonight plowing through endless boxes of haphazardly packed personal belongings. I admit I did contemplate arson for a while, but I stayed the course.

   I’ve found the best way to tackle an unpleasant task is to just DO it. Get after it and get it out of the way, then move on - hopefully to something a lot more fun. For some reason, I’ve been putting this off for years, and it has gotten out of hand. I needed to look after it.

   The only way to do that is dump out the contents of each box, decide what to throw out and what to keep, and then find a place for whatever I keep. It sounds simple enough, but after sixteen hours of dumping and sorting, a can of gas and a match sounded like heaven.

   The process wasn’t without reward though. I did make a lot of progress, and at the very least put most of my belongings into piles. I sorted hundreds of books into categories, and realized early that I need to stop buying them because I’ll never read the ones I have even if I live to be 1000. Now that they’re in categories, I can pare the piles down even more.

   I’ll keep the top few in each category to hopefully read sooner than later, and I think the smart thing to do with the rest is give them away as gifts to people I think would enjoy a particular book. I suppose I could try selling them, but most used book stores pay so low it wouldn’t be worth the gas to drive them there. Giving them as gifts would make it fun.

   Another positive that came from my effort was discovering all kinds of documents I had totally forgotten about. I ran across a folder of raw notes from my early comedy classes in Milwaukee at Cardinal Stritch College, and found some very usable ideas. That’s when it was new and fresh, and I wasn’t sure what would work and what wouldn’t. Now I know.

   I also found all kinds of ideas I’d written down years ago for jokes, movie scripts, radio bits and comedy sketches. I have always been one to write things down, and I’m delighted I did. It was like discovering a time capsule from years ago filled with presents to myself.

   Not all of it was 24 carat solid gold, and some of it made me scratch my head in wonder of what I was thinking back then, but there’s also definitely some stuff in the mix I know I’ll be able to tweak and use for what I’m doing now. That’s why I took time to do this.

   Had I thrown most of the boxes out like I wanted to, those ideas would never have seen the light of day. Now, I’m getting them at precisely the right time I know what to do with them. I’ll have to transcribe the notes off of scraps of paper, but it will be worth the effort.

   Still, one day does not a lifetime make. I spent one entire day working on all this, but to get here took decades of stupid mistakes and horrific breaks. I also found a lot of itinerary sheets for clubs that have closed or places that weren’t fun to work. Salvaging those notes from the big pile was like picking peanuts out of an elephant turd. Somebody has to do it.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Teaching Trifecta

Thursday September 15th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Opportunity keeps knocking, and I’m not complaining. Today I received an offer for yet another comedy class teaching situation, this time at a place called Improv Playhouse. It’s located not far from me in Libertyville, IL and it would be a perfect fit - even with what is already scheduled both at Zanies and Harper College. All the clienteles will be different.

   Zanies is a comedy club located in the city, and most of the people in the past who have taken that class have been at least curious as to what it takes to become a full time touring comedian. The nightclub circuit is not the only outlet for comedians, but since the 1980’s it’s probably been the most popular one. There has been a whole industry forged from it.

   Harper College is something completely different. Many people won’t set foot in a club for many reasons. They don’t like the idea of a bar situation and having to deal with those who drink liquor. After a lifetime of dealing with drunken imbeciles trying to ‘help’ make my shows better, I can sympathize completely. Another reason is a fear of off color jokes.

   This is another point I can see as well taken. Too many comedians, especially new ones, rely on filth to provide shock value when it totally isn’t required. I’m not offended by any topic personally, but there is a skill level required to effectively pull off an X-rated show.

   It’s funny to hear newbies staunchly stand behind solid examples of people like George Carlin or Richard Pryor who were known for their salty language, but I tell them correctly that both of those guys are perfect examples of someone who first learns, then masters the fundamentals of comedy before choosing to veer off. They earned the right to do that.

   I always teach my students to work clean at first. There are too many things to go wrong in the first few years to have room for a reputation as a dirty act. Nobody wants to follow filth, even someone who chooses to be blue themselves. It takes away any shock value.

   This is all smart business, whether a new performer realizes it or not. Many mistakenly think I’m out to sabotage their career, when in fact I’m trying to help them construct one. Viewpoints differ greatly between the students at a Zanies vs. those at a Harper College.

   Improv Playhouse will be yet a third client base, more of a hybrid. The guy in charge is also a performer named David Stuart. He’s very sharp, and runs a well organized business that has a variety of services neither Zanies nor Harper offers. He has improv classes and I believe they offer acting classes as well. Their website is www.improvplayhouse.com.

   I have to believe a certain percentage of the improvisers and actors will take standup out of curiosity, a smart move actually. They’ll see I know what I’m talking about, and I hope it will add to whatever they’re already doing. My goal is to give each student personal one on one attention, and make sure they have an idea of where they want to go with standup comedy. Plus, the locations of all three are so far apart I don’t see any conflict of interest at all. They are separate entities, and I’m going to enjoy them all. I love teaching classes.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning

Wednesday September 14th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   One of the first things I can remember doing that I enjoyed enough to want to do when I grew up was draw comic strips and cartoons. I loved it, and used to spend hours inventing my own characters and dreaming of seeing my work appear in a section of my hometown Milwaukee Journal called ’The Green Sheet’. That was where all the comic strips were.

   For whatever reason, they used a mint green dye to color the daily four page section and it’s one of the first things I remember reading as a kid. There were all kinds of great strips like ‘Mr. Tweedy’ by Ned Riddle, ‘Priscilla’s Pop’ by Al Vermeer and ‘Freddy’ by some guy who just called himself ‘Rupe’. I would read them and then try to draw them as well.

   I must have been only seven or eight when I came up with my own strip called ‘Buffalo Boris’.  I thought Boris was a funny name, and he was a cowboy who lived inside the city limits. He rode his horse on the freeway to get to work every morning, and in the mind of an eight year old kid that was big time funny. I even sent it in to try and get it published.

   My grandpa encouraged me to send it to the Green Sheet, and I remember being thrilled to get an envelope back a few days later. I was crushed when I got rejected, but it was still a fantastic experience. I kept doing it and eventually had a booklet of cartoons with a few of my friends ’published’ by our class at school. Our teacher ran them off on the copier.

   She even let us charge five cents for it and I remember selling a few and splitting up the loot with the guys. My grandpa told me on his death bed how proud of me he was that I’d start all of that up on my own, and I forgot all about it until today when I attended the first Kenosha Festival of Cartooning at the Public Museum there. It brought it all back to me.

   My comedian friend Gary Pansch saw it advertised and asked if I wanted to join him for the presentation by Paul Gilligan who draws ‘Pooch CafĂ©‘ and John Hambrock who has a strip called ‘The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee’. They both spoke about how they began in the business and took questions at the end. It was very interesting, and I’m glad I went.

   Cartooning is exactly like comedy or singing or acting in that a lot of people think it’s a glamorous pursuit when in fact it’s extremely difficult and requires an abundance of extra hard work. I respect both of those guys for their work ethic, and their talent is world class.

   I can’t honestly say I would have had a chance to get one of my strip ideas published if I had stayed with it. It’s such a long shot, and I don’t think my drawing skills would be in a class of either one of these guys. They were both consummate pros, and I enjoyed hearing them talk about of a lot of the same difficulties I have to deal with in the comedy world.

   They also brought in some other artists including a guy named Tom Richmond who’s a contributor to Mad magazine. I loved Mad as a kid, and both artists tonight spoke of how much they loved it as kids as well. Tom didn’t present tonight, but will be doing it Friday at the same location. I just might have to come back and see him. This was a lot of fun.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Storage Unit Success

Tuesday September 13th, 2011 - Antioch, IL

   As if I needed yet another time and energy draining stress filled project with a deadline dumped in my lap, I had until this Friday at 5pm to remove my overgrown mother lode of baubles and trinkets from the storage unit I’ve rented since November of last year when I had to move on short notice. I’ve been dreading it since, but I managed to get it out early.

   Usually, I’ll put things like this off until the very last minute and then have to crank the entire project out in way too short of time and everything falls through the cracks. It ends up being an annoying hassle, and I vow I’ll never do it that way again. This time, I didn’t.

   I informed the storage place I’d be out when my month’s rent expired on Friday, and the deadline was a good incentive for me to get it done. I wanted to be out months ago, but it kept getting pushed back for all kinds of reasons - mainly my health issues. I set a goal for being out by June 1. Then July. That didn’t happen. I was thrilled to take care of it today.   

   It sure didn’t come without a heaping helping of back breaking work though. Most of it consisted of hastily filled boxes of books and audio programs, and they weren’t any easier to move today than they were when I loaded the unit up last fall. The only thing that got a bit lighter was my wallet. I paid good money to have this stuff sit and rot for ten months.  

   There wasn’t much I could do about it, so I guess I’ll just have to chalk this whole thing off to experience and hope I never do it again. Last time it took me by surprise, but now it never has to be that way again. I need to make a priority to organize myself and throw out what I’m not using and travel light for the rest of my journey in life. Hoarding scares me.

   Every time I move, I’m unpleasantly reminded of my family. My grandparents and my father all left behind mammoth mountains of useless clutter that had to be sorted through by those left behind and 99.9% if it ended up in the garbage. The rest went full circle back to the Salvation Army or Goodwill from where it came, and it was all a big waste of time.

   Try as I might, I still haven’t totally rid myself of that genetic trait but I’m working on it as hard as I can. At least I’ve got all my worldly possessions in one place again, and most of them will hopefully be gone before the end of the year. I don’t have time to read all the books I have or listen to all the audio programs. I mean to. I want to. But I can’t get to it.

   My life has been going in such a positive direction lately, I don’t want this tiny glitch to take me out of my groove. I’ll sort through this stash the best I can, and relieve myself of everything but what I think is absolutely necessary. When I croak, I don’t want to put any of my friends through the misery of having to sort through an endless supply of rubbish.

   I actually beat the deadline by three days. That’s an eternity for me, and it felt good not to be under the gun to get it done by the end of the day. I worked steady, and it wasn’t an easy task, but I finished it and now I’m going to start unburdening myself with most of it. If anyone reading this wants any gently used books, let me know. I’ve got ‘em by the ton.                     

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Lucky Break At Last!

Monday September 12th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Ok, I give up. I’m stumped like the Venus de Milo. I can’t figure life out no matter how hard I try. Just when it feels like I’m closing in on some answers, some inexplicable quirk or glitch shows up to let me know I have none. I’m a slave to circumstances, like it or not.

   This particular time, I think I’m going to like it. I’m scheduled to teach another session of comedy classes at Harper College in Palatine, IL starting next month, and the publicity department sent out a press release to help drum up interest. I didn’t think twice about it.

   I’ve found the staff at Harper to be on the ball professionally and just plain nice people to deal with. People like Scott Cashman and Stephanie Burak are my direct contacts, and they talk to me like a human first and a teacher second. I really enjoyed teaching last fall‘s class, and was flattered they asked me back to do it again this year. The vibe is positive.

   As it turned out, an article about the class ran in the Chicago Sun Times yesterday and it was not only seen by all kinds of people I know who contacted me to inform me they had seen it - it was also apparently forwarded to UPI and has gotten some national exposure.

   I heard it appeared on The Huffington Post among other places, and the word keeps on spreading. I’m getting interview requests from radio stations, and I’ve been invited to be a guest on the Fox 32 Morning News in Chicago in two weeks. I can’t believe how this has snowballed, since I’ve been trying to spread the word for classes for seventeen years now.

   When I first began teaching at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee back in 1994, we received all kinds of media coverage. There were several print articles and news coverage on most of the local TV stations. Nobody was doing anything like it, and it got attention.

   Chicago has been a different story. I did manage to get coverage on the WGN TV news a few years ago, but I think that was because they knew my friend Rick Geiser who works on the radio side. He also does publicity for Zanies, and he was able to pull a few strings.

   This is completely different. I think for once my timing was right. There were all kinds of heavy stories about the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and they put it in the paper to ease the tension a little. People need to laugh when times get tough, and this is one of those times.

   Maybe it was also the fact that an actual academic institution is offering a comedy class. Zanies is a comedy club, and for whatever reason that angle hasn’t gotten me very far in a while with the Chicago media. Harper College seems to be the missing ingredient and I’m not complaining at all. I love teaching at both places, and they attract a different clientele.

   I would be flattered to teach at both places, but Harper won’t be for hard core comedian wannabes. It will be for regular people who want to learn ‘secrets’ of how to be funnier in every day life. There are a few secrets, but most of it is learning the fundamentals of what humor is, and going from there. After seventeen years, I’m finally an overnight success!                                     

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Heavy Mental Concert

Saturday September 10th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Total self improvement requires consistent maintenance and attention to several aspects of life. I don’t think it’s possible to improve upon one area and neglect everything else, at least for too long, as it creates an unhealthy imbalance. If one facet grows, the rest follow.

   I’ve been extremely pleased with the total turnaround of my physical health in these last couple of months, but I’ve also started growing in other ways too. I’m making a concerted conscious effort to read and listen to audio programs containing positive uplifting content at least an hour a day if not more. I’m pouring everything I can into my vacuous brainpan.

   I could read a book a week for the next 20 years and not put a dent in my supply. I have boxes of them still in storage, and enough at home to keep me busy until my clothes come back in style. Now it becomes a matter of choosing those that will have immediate effect.

   I’ve divided the piles of books I have into categories of self help, biography, health and fitness, paranormal and oddball, business and finance, sports and reference. There’s not a transvestite’s chance in a biker bar I’ll finish 10% of them, but at least I’m moving ahead.

   I’m making an effort to always have a book with me in case I have any down time at all, from waiting at a train crossing to being early for an appointment. Sitting around gawking at the walls drives me crazy, but if I can knock out a few pages of a book I’ll feel better.

   I’ve got a ridiculously large overload of audio programs too, and to make it worse most of them are cassettes. Fortunately, my car has both a CD and cassette player so that makes it easier. I’ve been force feeding those into my ear hole lately, and I’m really enjoying it.

   Earl Nightingale’s ‘Lead The Field’ and Brian Tracy’s ‘The Luck Factor’ started me off on a positive note in the last couple of weeks, and today I just finished Les Brown’s ‘The Power of Purpose’. I’ve heard Les Brown before, but not this particular program. None of these programs have anything we all haven’t heard before, but it’s good to hear it again.

   Sometimes a point hits me at a time when I really need it, and sparks thoughts that help me with whatever situation I happen to be in when I hear it. It’s health food for the mind, and a lot more beneficial than listening to bad news, boring Chicago sports talk and stale music play lists on the radio. Even if I get lost in thought, the good message is sinking in.

   Here again, I could drive to Panama and back ten times over and not have enough time to listen to all the audio programs I have, so I’m picking and choosing those carefully as well. I’ve had three solid programs to start off, but I’ve got a lot more I haven’t heard.

   All of this is taking up so much of my energy I don’t have time to worry about anyone or anything other than what concerns my immediate future. I think that’s a good thing, as will keep me out of trouble if nothing else. If I’m putting in maximum effort to take care of my own business, I won’t have time to bother anyone else. This is how life should be.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Finger Lickin' Greatness

Friday September 9th, 2011 - Chicago, IL

   On this date in 1890, one of my all time heroes was born - Colonel Harland Sanders. He wasn’t a colonel then, just a dented can who never gave up and eventually became one of the extremely few who can rightfully claim the title of world wide icon. He was a legend.

   I’ve always been a fan of his for many reasons other than chicken. I’ve made time to see several tourist sites over the years from the gas station in Corbin, KY where he first began selling his fried chicken to the KFC home office in Louisville to his first franchise in Salt Lake City, UT and learned more about him at each stop. He was a remarkable character.

   By no means did he have success written all over him - he wrote it himself. That’s why I admire him so much. I don’t know if I could have endured all he did, but he didn’t have to either. He chose to, and that’s why he’s still remembered over a century after his birth.  

   Had he given up, not a single person would have blamed him. But nobody would have remembered him either. There are countless millions of losers who die in obscurity that’s made worse by the fact they never had the giblets to hang in there like the Colonel did.

   His father died when he was six, he dropped out of school in the seventh grade, and ran away from home because his step father beat him. That’s not the secret recipe for success, but he kept slugging until he found it. Then after he did, he was able to sell it with style.

   Colonel Sanders was a master showman, and I always love to study those. His look was  his calculated trademark, and he never appeared in public without his white suit and black string tie for the last twenty years of his life. Can you picture The Colonel in baggy shorts and a tank top? Of course not. He knew what his image was, and he presented only that.

   I also admire that he did it all late in life, but still had an amazing run. He was 60 before he started dressing in the white suits, but he was able to hang on for another twenty years and establish himself as one of the most identifiable personas of the entire 20th Century.

   He also established himself as being interchangeable with the state of Kentucky when in fact he was born in Indiana. Most people don’t know that, and don’t care. Maybe ‘Indiana Fried Chicken’ would have been a flop, but we’ll never know. He found the right combo.

   A lot of people also don’t know that Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky, but didn’t receive his recognition there. Illinois was his place of prominence, and it’s even touted on their license plates. He was another example of someone who persisted beyond where the ‘normal‘ people would, and ended up becoming an icon to the generations after his death.

   I’ve been slugging it out myself for way more years than I think anyone should have to, but I haven’t come close to going through what Colonel Sanders or Abraham Lincoln had to endure. People like them give me inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing in hopes of having it pay off at some point, hopefully while I’m still alive to be able to enjoy the ride.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pack Cocaine

Thursday September 8th, 2011 - Kenosha, WI

   After seven months of sobriety, and I’m sad to report I’m back on drugs and hopelessly hooked. My pusher has thirty-two varieties, one more than Baskin-Robbins. My pusher is the National Football League, and I’m addicted to the Green Bay Packers. I can’t kick it.

   My addiction isn’t even the worst. At least mine paid off in February with a Super Bowl victory - the ultimate high. Addicts of the other thirty-one drugs don’t even get that. They have to quit cold turkey when one season ends, and suffer until the next season starts it up all over again. There are poor saps in towns like Cleveland and Detroit who are a mess.

   They keep getting slapped around like trailer park wives, and I guess I feel their pain to a certain degree, but if it ever got in the way of my own addiction any and all sympathy is out the window. This is a cruel process, but it‘s a cruel planet. I didn‘t make these rules.

   My drug of choice is the Packers, and I’ve been hooked going on forty years now. It’s a euphoric high when they win, and a crushing low when they don’t. I’ve tried every trick I can think of to kick the habit, but I just can’t do it. It shouldn’t be this powerful, but it is.

   Tonight’s game was nothing short of orgasmic. They started out great, then had a bit of trouble, then won it at the end with no time remaining. They easily could have lost it after being ahead the whole game, and that’s what makes this addiction so cruel. I had nothing to do with any of it, but I was emotionally involved the whole time and it stressed me out.

   I’m sure there were hundreds of thousands of New Orleans Saints addicts who felt their drug of choice was going to give them the high they craved, but it didn’t. It held all of our attention the entire evening, and I felt drained as I got in my car and drove home from my friend Mark Gumbinger’s house in Kenosha. He has a big screen TV and it’s a man cave.

   Mark and his brother Mike and I sat in his basement and partook of our drug together as a group. Crack house, Pack house, what’s the difference at this point? We’ve all invested our entire lives hoping our green and gold knights would slay the opposing dragons every week. This week they did, but just barely. Next week, who knows? We’re at their mercy.

   The NFL is a cruel master, and if I could quit I would. But I can’t. This season will be a series of ups and downs like all of them are, and I won’t be satisfied unless they return to the Super Bowl and win it again. Or will I? I loved watching them win the last one, but it doesn’t matter anymore. This is an entirely new season and we’re all addicted once again.

   I sure wish I sold a product as solid as the one the NFL is selling. Nobody dresses up in elaborate costumes and paints their face to come see me perform. There aren’t websites to buy and sell tickets to my shows for over face value and/or analyze my every tiny move.

   If Americans were as enthusiastic about America as we are about the NFL, we’d be way better off as a nation. I didn’t listen to what Mr. Obama said tonight, I was getting high.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Champ Change

Wednesday September 7th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I’ve been keeping up with my diet and exercise plan, and I don’t think I could feel much better. I’ve made it a high level priority, and I’m learning to thoroughly enjoy not only the benefits, but the process as well. I thought I would loathe everything about it, but I don’t.

   I find myself looking forward to my daily walks, as it gives me plenty of private time to process all kinds of ideas about a wide variety of topics without interruption. I’m learning to tune everything else out and get in a zone where I let my mind take over. I might get hit by a truck due to my lack of conscious attention, but at least I’ll go out making an effort.

   There are several possible routes where I live, and I try to mix it up as much as possible to keep it interesting. I don’t necessarily measure distance, but I do try to stay out until my t-shirt is soaked with sweat, or my legs start feeling like cement pillars. Some days it feels like I could walk to Miami Beach, and others feel like I’m an old cocker who lives there.

   Hearing about how good it feels to exercise and then actually feeling it are two different things entirely. I love the sensation of being exhausted, knowing I used up every single bit of spare energy I had to give. I limp through the door drenched, exhausted but satisfied.

   It feels fantastic to freshen up with a fumigating shower and then throw on clean clothes and go to work on one of my projects. It took a while to develop the habit, but I’ve done it and don’t want to know what it feels like to fall out of it. In my mind, this is permanent.

   Too bad reality isn’t always what’s in any of our minds. Reality is, nothing’s permanent except the fact there will be constant change. That’s it. Other than that, every day presents new circumstances for us to sort out and react to however we choose. I happen to be in an outstanding groove right now, but that doesn’t automatically mean I won’t blow it again.

   I have to constantly stay on myself to not only keep this up, but keep taking it to higher  levels. I’m not sure if I can do that by myself. It’s working ok now, but eventually I might have to surround myself with like minded people or a personal trainer to keep improving.

   I’d also be up for some kind of healthy cooking class. I can barely operate a toaster, but I don’t need to because I’m not eating bread at all. It’s mostly vegetables and salads and a little bit of broiled fish and baked chicken. Eventually, some variety would make it easier.

   It’s also going to be easier to keep this up because I feel so much better on every level. I sleep better, think clearer, and the dark ugly funk of depression hasn’t taken the wind out of my sail since I don’t know when. I truly believe it was a result of how I was eating for so long, and that alone makes the thought of eating broccoli and green beans not so bad.

   I’m sorry it took so long to have this hit home, but it has. Maybe I had to hit the lowest of lows so I’d appreciate how spectacular this feels. Whatever the case, I do appreciate it and hope I inspire others to make similar changes. There’s no excuse not to live healthy.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Late Bloomer Baby Boomer

Tuesday September 6th, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI

   Up to Milwaukee today to run some errands. One of them was a breakfast meeting with Russ Martin to talk about booking some ‘Schlitz Happened!’ shows. I still haven’t lost an interest in putting that show together, but I have lost momentum. I’ll have to start all over.

   Russ is an interesting case. He’s a former Milwaukee County Sherriff’s Deputy and has just retired from a job in security at Northwestern Mutual Life, a major company in town. He gets two pensions plus his social security, and has decided to pursue comedy full time.

   There are plusses and minuses to that, but at least he’s having fun. Russ has the attitude of a little kid when it comes to comedy, and he loves being around every part of it. That’s a major advantage, because it shows on stage and off. A disadvantage is he won’t have an unlimited amount of time to learn the craft like someone would starting in his early 20’s.

   I had my whole life in front of me when I started, and got to grow organically. I learned as I went, and was able to squeak out a living while I did it. I’m still squeaking, but times and circumstances were a lot different. Now, guys like Russ have to go to open mic nights and wait around for stage time with disrespectful clueless punks less than half their age.

   I wish someone who has never performed comedy could see and experience the insanity of the ‘new talent’ or ‘open mic’ night. It’s usually a makeshift stage setting in a bar on an off night that attracts a ‘crowd’ that consists of wannabe twenty something neurotic idiots fighting for five minutes on stage to get the attention they never got at home from daddy.

   The tension is thick, and the competition for stage time and attention is fierce. Very few actual fans of comedy are usually in these places, and what ends up happening is a person ends up performing to a room full of other ‘comedians’ who are desperate for stage time.

   Unfortunately, at the beginning of the journey those nights are necessary because it’s all about stage time. That’s the only way to learn the craft, by actually doing it as many times in as many places as possible. It’s like a butterfly pecking its way out of a cocoon. It’s not easy, but it’s the only way to get the strength to fly. Nature can be brutal, but it has a plan.

   A huge percentage of those who go to open mics eventually drop out. Sometimes it may take a few years, but most stop doing them - either because they start getting paid work or they never do and they discover they’re just not good enough. Then there are the nut jobs.

   They either don’t discover or won’t admit they aren‘t good enough, but they won‘t stop showing up. They keep trying to hang on, only because they can. If I went to try out for an NFL team, I wouldn’t be allowed to go on the field - nor should I. Comedy isn’t like that.

   Russ has made it past open mics and his enthusiasm alone makes him fun to be around. I’ll help him all I can, because he’s serious about doing it. He can help me by seeking out locations to do shows, and I can help him in return with quality stage time. It’s win/win.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Action In Motion

Monday September 5th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   This transforming every facet of my life for the better stuff isn’t as easy as it appears. It takes daily focused effort in many areas and one little distraction can throw off my whole schedule. In a perfect world I’d have unlimited time and resources, but that’s not reality.

   I’ve got to hump it to get things done, and the more I do the more I have to think about keeping things on some kind of schedule. I’m exercising and trying to eat well, but that’s taking time and energy away from trying to make a living. It’s a constant battle to keep it all balanced, and I’m going to have to pick and choose activities carefully from now on.

   Time is getting squeezed more and more, and I’m going to have to learn to plan out my days, weeks, months and years. I don’t mind losing my free time, because I’m doing what I need to be doing and also what I absolutely enjoy. Rotting in front of the TV doesn’t fit into my schedule, not that it ever did. If I had to live without a boob tube, I totally could.

   What nobody can live without is money. I’m working hard to learn more about it and do my daily due diligence to establish myself in business. Uranus Factory Outlet is what will hopefully be my main focus eventually, but that’s a ways off. Right now it’s still a baby.

   Most babies grow quickly, but not this one. I’m learning the details about every facet of the business from product design to manufacturing to trademarks to banking to taxes, and everything in between. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. It’s humbling.

   It’s also exciting to be out there putting something together out of nothing from a wacky idea I had in a hotel room in Utah. It doesn’t matter where the idea happened, or even that it happened at all. It won’t do anyone any good until action is taken for it to become real.

   That’s what I’m in the process of doing now, but there’s no guarantee it will pay off for the effort. I think it will, but I still have to survive until it does. I have to pay bills and put time and effort into getting and keeping myself in good physical shape, and that’s a lot of effort for one little old me. A lot of people have trainers and assistants. I’m doing it alone.

   In the near future, that should change. Jim McHugh has been great at offering help and support, and a lot of others have been very positive as well. I’m sure there will be bumps and humps and starts and stops and all kinds of headaches I hadn’t planned for. That’s all part of any venture, and I’m sure it’s coming. I need to keep moving forward in spite of it.

   Labor Day is as good a day as any to get this all in motion. I had the idea on September 1st, 2007. That was over four years ago, and I need to move a lot faster if I’m going to get any return on this idea in this lifetime. Dreams are nice, but after a while it‘s not enough.

   I want to be known as a man of action, someone who doesn’t just talk about something. I’ve talked about this long enough and even I don’t want to hear about it anymore. I want to SEE it, and others to see it too. A flop I could live with, not taking action I could not.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Summery Summary

Sunday September 4th, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   It’s time to put away the white pants for another year. Where did the summer go? It was hectic for me with all my health issues, but that seems like years ago now. I really do feel like a new and better person in every aspect of life. I’m rebooting myself and it continues.

   My grandpa used to talk about how life isn’t about the mistakes someone makes, we all make those, it’s a matter of what’s done to correct them. Then, it’s about what the person does with the knowledge that came with the experiences. That’s what makes our legacy.

   In my eyes, Gramps was the best. He was a combination of Yoda and Henny Youngman with his constant waterfall of wisdom wrapped in wisecracks. He was a ‘wisdomedian’. It still sticks with me, thirty years later. He’s been gone almost twice as long as I had him in my life, but I still live by many of the principles he taught me then. His influence lives on.

   My father was a different story. He used to say what a rotten father Gramps was to him, and it might be true. I’ve heard tales of and seen for myself people who were mediocre or worse parents turn it around and do better with their grandchildren. They learned from the experience of being a parent and acted on it, much to the disappointment of the children.

   My friend Scot Wickmann does a very funny comedy bit about taking his son to see his parents and the kid doesn’t want to eat his vegetables. His mother asks the kid if he wants some ice cream instead. Scot asks in stunned amazement where that choice was when he was a kid, and it’s a very funny routine. That’s probably because so many can relate to it.

   I know for a fact Gramps tried to make it up to my father. He used to take each of us out for a weekly breakfast on separate days to get one on one time with each of us. I feel sorry for my uncle, who never worked his way into the rotation for whatever reason. That’s life.

   Gramps used to speak often about how I was the mature one of the two, and he actually looked forward to meeting with me. I was barely out of high school and he said I was on a path to build myself a good life while my father used to piss and moan about everything.

   It all fell apart when Gramps died. My father and I were at each other’s throats, and we never did patch it up. I made a lot of stupid mistakes, and had nobody to take over being the wise mentor Gramps was. It got me into trouble, and it’s taken years to work through the anger issues and figure things out for myself. I wish I had a ‘do over’. Don’t we all?

   It took a long time, but I feel I’m starting to hit my stride. FINALLY. I’ve screwed up a lot of things, but now it all seems to be coming together at once and a functional human is emerging. The lessons learned were painful, but now they’re paying off on a daily basis.

   I have to say, I think I’m actually happy. I’m not where I think I could be, but I’m on the way. I have a rich supply of quality friends and some exciting projects on the horizon and I look forward to getting up every day. I’m in good health and spirits too. That’s success.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Luck Factor

Saturday September 3rd, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   Step by step, I’m changing my entire life around to be exactly what I want it to be. It’s a total mental and physical makeover from the ground up, and I’m the one calling the shots. I’ve been in and out of this kind of feeling before, but this is different. It’s from within.

   It doesn’t mean I won’t have any bumps in the road, but I’ve had more than my share of those for years and I know how to bounce back. My time is running out, and I am putting all my eggs in one basket. I’m either going to be The King Of Uranus or a stumble bum.

   This is the most consistent momentum I’ve ever had. It’s only been a couple of months, so I can’t get cocky. Had I had this kind of vision and consistency years ago, who knows where I’d be? But I didn’t. So here I am. Maybe I had to go through all the insanity I did to learn certain tough lessons I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend any other way.

   What I do know is, I’m right where I’m supposed to be now. It feels right, and the past is gone. My father is dead, but more importantly so is all his influence. I’ve learned to let the bad energy go, and that’s been beyond huge in making everything else fall into place.

   I’m sure that’s what makes other’s lives miserable too. I’ll bet 99% of prisoners have an issue with one or both parents, and don’t know how to let it go. Maybe it comes with age, but I don’t think it does to everyone. I’ve seen old people still pissed off about their past.

   We all get dealt the cards we’re dealt, then we have to play them. I wasn’t dealt the best hand, but I’m starting to play it better than I ever have, and I know I have a chance to win. As it turns out, the game of life is solitaire. We don’t play against others - it’s ourselves.

   There’s only a certain amount of blame that can be placed on others, and then it’s time to shut up and move on. I’ve FINALLY reached that point, and it wasn’t easy. There are many things I think are a legitimate gripe, but who am I going to bitch to? Nobody cares.

   Knowing that, the best answer is to ignore what anyone else says or thinks and live for pleasing myself. If anyone else happens to come along, great. If not, it doesn’t bother me in the least. I’ve got all I can handle working on my own problems. That keeps me busy.

   I’ve been listening to as many self help audio programs as I can recently, jam packing as much food for thought as possible into the deepest crevices of my brain. I have enough CD and tape programs to last six lifetimes, and I’m making a conscious effort to listen.

   Some are better than others, but one I’ve heard years ago and am listening to again is a fantastic program by Brian Tracy called “The Luck Factor”. It talks about how we all get bad breaks, but there are ways to put ourselves in a position to have the best shot to win.

   It’s been hitting me hard with all kinds of great information, and I’m letting it soak in. I’ve listened to a lot of this kind of stuff, but this is up there with the best I’ve ever heard.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

Clock Teaser

Friday September 2nd, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   I haven’t had to deal with any crisis situations in a while, so it’s good to stay in practice. Today’s had the potential of doing a lot of financial damage, but I got it handled. It boiled down to a race against the clock, and I felt like I was in a scavenger hunt. I barely made it.

   What happened was, my trademark application for Uranus Factory Outlet had run out as of the end of business today. Apparently I had applied for it on this day in 2008, and I had been filing for extensions every six months since then to hold the application. Apparently that can only be done for three years, and then it has to be proven that the mark is in use.

   Why it boiled down to the last day I don’t know. I’ve meant to get it done for years now but life just keeps getting in the way. That’s the reason, even though it’s not an acceptable excuse. I could have done it had it been a priority, but I allowed it to rot. I’m embarrassed but also motivated because I stood to lose about $2000 I’ve invested to keep it registered.

   Some other guy in Florida had filed for a trademark to use the word Uranus for pairs of ladies underwear. It was blocked pending the outcome of my application, and had I let the deadline pass, I’d have had to get back in line behind him, even though I had filed first. In a perfect world, this all would have been taken care of years go, but it wasn’t. My fault.

   I needed to get a sticker or label that said ’Uranus Factory Outlet Clothing’ and put it on one of my t-shirts. Then, I had to email a picture to my trademark attorney and he then put in the paperwork to keep the trademark in my possession. It took some running around for a couple of hectic hours, but I managed to get it done with his help. It was a wake up call.

   If I’m going to do this, I’ve got to DO it. No more excuses. I have to totally immerse my whole being in this project, at least part of every day. It’s not my number one priority just yet, but that’s only because it isn’t brining in any revenue. When it does, this is my career.

   I am a now a mail order entrepreneur who sells funny products via a website. I’ll still do live shows, but those will be phased out more and more as the business grows. I intend to shift my focus to the internet, and my shows will be put there and used to sell my product line. It’s a similar principle of doing what I’ve been doing, but I’ll get to ease off the road.

   There’s SO much to do with this, as I’m starting from ground zero. I knew that from the start, and maybe that’s why I’ve let it sit dormant this long. Maybe I was intimidated a bit then, but not anymore. This kick started me and I’m ready to launch it with all my energy.

   I have to dust off everything I’ve had sitting around, and make at least a few hours each day available to keep building until money starts coming in. That actually shouldn’t be all that long, as I’ve got a lot of the groundwork laid. Jim McHugh has been a huge help too.

   The main thing is, this project is FUN. It’s educational too, but I wanted to learn how to run a business and every day I learn something. Today I learned to stop procrastinating.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

An Organized Mess

Thursday September 1st, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   More meetings, more new people and old ones in new roles, more progress. I’m making a lot of forward motion right now, and it‘s a thrill. My life still has major flaws that are in need of attention, but at least now it’s a mess with a direction. Before, it was just a mess.

   Organization has always been difficult for me for whatever reason. It doesn’t come easy like it seems to for some people, and that’s just how it is. I’ve been in people’s house with nothing out of place, even in the garage, and wonder how they do that. I check into a hotel room and within ten minutes it looks like Van Halen was partying in it during a hurricane.

   I’ve always blamed it on me being left handed, but that’s probably a lame excuse. There must be some left handed person somewhere who’s a neat freak, I just haven’t run across that person yet. I know it isn’t me. My brain is like a blender stuck on perpetual ‘puree’.

   But, this is a new month in a new era of my life and I refuse to lie down and let this get the best of me. I know it’s been a problem and I know I need to work hard to improve my organizational and time management skills. Period. It won’t happen overnight, or I’d have found a way to conquer it by now. I have to take small calculated steps to turn it around.

   A major reason I’m disorganized is that I’ve moved so many times. I’ve still got stuff in storage from my last move, and that’s frustrating. I haven’t had time to get to it, because I haven’t made time. Who wants to rifle through boxes of random junk? Maybe American Pickers, but not me. In a perfect world, I’d have a few clothes, my computer, and that’s it.

   I love books and music and movies, but that’s all available on a computer. I’ve lost my appetite for material things. They just aren’t important. Life isn’t about that. I  remember how my grandmother used to cherish her ‘pretties’ as she used to call them, which were a collection of plates. When she died, nobody wanted them and they went to the Goodwill.

   It wasn’t wrong for her to collect them, but she never enjoyed them. We never had any meals with them, they just sat there on the wall. The same with her furniture. I never got to sit on any piece of furniture in the living room until after she was in a nursing home.

   I’d much rather have had Sloppy Joes on a paper plate and sat on a folding chair if we could have had fun as a family playing Monopoly or something. That never happened and now not only is she gone, so are her beloved pretties. They didn’t matter to anyone else.

   I don’t have any pretties, but I do have piles of unorganized papers and books and who knows what else that need to be sorted, organized and most of it tossed. It’s just a matter of knowing what few things to save, and that’s why I have to go through it all to find out.

   I’m going to make a conscious effort to just get it done and not let it get so out of hand again. I think I’m going to do it too. Everything else in my life is improving by leaps and bounds, why not this too? Why couldn’t I have been on this positive of a roll years ago?

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary

The Evolution Of Vibe

Wednesday August 31st, 2011 - Fox Lake, IL

   It’s been said in many ways by many people throughout history, but life is absolutely all about vibe. No question. What goes around comes around, and every other saying that has been bantered about so loosely but seldom truly heard has legs. It’s not just random fluff.

   I guess I always knew it, and deep down everyone should, but I’ve been on one big time positive roll lately and I want to claim it from the universe and embrace that vibe. If life is anything, it’s constant change, and I want to remember this feeling for future reference.

   The closest definition to what ‘vibe’ means, at least to me, is the physical manifestation of the Law of Attraction. What we send out, comes back. I must have really been sending out some warped and twisted signals for a long time as judged by what I was receiving in return, but I feel it improving dramatically as of late and I like it. I’ve dialed in correctly.

   I can tell, because there’s a massive change happening in the main cast of characters in my life. As my vibe changes, so do the people that surround me on a daily basis. It’s like I was traded from a losing team in sports, and this one is going to the playoffs. It’s exciting.

   All kinds of new people are entering my life with large roles and those that were already there that I’m choosing to keep have their roles changing. My immediate surroundings are showing radical changes because I’M changing so much. It’s fun to see a tangible result.

   One person that’s left over from the past is my comedian friend Jim McHugh. Jim and I have been friends for years, but now he’s becoming more of a personal trainer, especially when it comes to the King of Uranus idea. He’s one that really liked it from the start, and has been prodding me to pursue it since I told him about it. I’ve been delaying it too long.

   Jim has a personality that really meshes well with mine, because I’m admittedly all over the place like sheep dung on a shepherd. He’s not. He zooms in on a project, and when he does, everything else goes on hold. We’re total opposites, and it‘s exactly what I need.

   Jim is the one who invited me to join the Chicago Style Standups group of comedians a few years ago, and that’s where we worked together more than just doing a few gigs at the same club the way most comedians know each other. We took our business level higher.

   Now he’s taking on a role of drill sergeant, but in a good way. He hops on my ass to get certain things done that need to get done, not just fart around aimlessly like I’ve done way too long. He’s in the exact right role at the exact right time, and positive results are on the board with more to come. His brother in law Mark Huelskamp is handling the website.

   Tonight, Jim and I met with an artist named Jeanie Janz about t-shirt designs and other art related issues. She is a friend of a friend of his, and was on point both in her level of talent and demeanor. She fits in perfectly, and I know she can contribute to the project in a major way. Things are falling into place exactly how they’re supposed to, and I love it.

Posted via email from Dobie Maxwell's "Dented Can" Diary