Year in Review (2007)

‘Tis the season for my annual look back at the previous year, a way for me to keep you informed on what I‘ve been doing and a way for me to spend a Saturday afternoon. A lot happened in ‘07 so let’s get right to it (in some cases I have written a blog about the events mentioned below and will direct you to the link rather than force you to re-live it all over again here. I‘m thoughtful like that).


A Timeline by Ed Placencia

As the year began I was living in Auburn, Indiana. I was back in the area where I grew up and working with Dad as a painter/wallpaper/general decorator guy. I had set three goals for 2007: Return to NYC to perform again at the National Comedy Theatre, visit London, and kiss a girl. One of my goals I never came close to reaching (Sorry, UK), one of them I came close to (I visited the gang at the improv theater), and one of them I more than met (hello, Sarah).
January 1 I ring in the new year by spending time with the Merrells, my brother’s wife’s family. Everyone is split into teams and games commence. Bowling, ping pong, card games, and Guitar Hero. Of course, my team (I’m paired with Ben and Myka) emerges triumphant. At midnight, though, the victory turns out to be short-lived, as I have no one to kiss. So I drink Pellegrino instead.
January 6 I attend an IPFW men’s basketball game with my Dad, Uncle Rick, and cousin Ricky. The cheerleaders are especially captivating.
January 26
I find out the Sundance Film Festival will be posting all of the entries in the short film division online for the world to see.
I watch them and am repulsed. Positive I can do better, I begin writing.

February 2 I begin filming my short film The Failures of Ed.
February 4 I stumble across a TV show on the SciFi Channel, Ghost Hunters. In 60 minutes I am hooked.
February 26 In response to a blog I posted online, my buddy John sends me a package of goodies to post on my bare refrigerator. It’s more than awesome. A few days letter, my friend Jen’s package of refrigerator art arrives. MARCH
March 1 I travel with Dad to the BelTerra Casino on the southern edge of Indiana. We have been hired to bring and set up our boxing ring for a fight that will be televised on Showtime. It’s a Don King production and my dreams of seeing a rigged fight in person are achieved.
March 17 Proving that racism, classism, and sexism are still alive and well, we travel to the Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester, Michigan (just outside Detroit). Their display of discrimination and segregation would make the old South proud.

March 28
I officially accept a job offer from Fred, the GM at WJTL, a radio station in Lancaster PA I worked at from 1999-2001. I am hired to do video and audio production. Not only is it a chance to work with people I miss and love, but is also conveniently close to New York City.

April 15
Todd, Dad, Ray, and I go to Ft Wayne to watch the double-feature Grindhouse. Todd and I laugh our heads off at the insane fun unspooling on the screen, Dad doesn’t know what to think, and Ray vows never to see another movie with us again.

May 3
My short story “5 Minutes of Fame” debuts online.
May 18 Still on my short film kick, I film the first in a series of three short films I have written called The Guys. Shooting on the first installment, The Coffee Shop, goes well and features a cast of characters I have met at Brewdaily’s, my Indiana coffee shop of choice. Matt, David, and Sarah make their video debut and more than exceed expectations.
May 24 Sarah and I officially begin “hanging out.” The rest is history.

June 2 Sarah and I share our first kiss, a so-romantic-it’s-almost-too-good-to-be-true smooch in a rain storm in the middle of the night. Jealous?
June 15 I introduce Sarah to my friends — and the world — via a short film simply called Meet Sarah.
June 16
I move to Lancaster PA to begin my new job at WJTL. Ann and Chuck are cool enough to open their house and let me stay with them as I search for an apartment and settle in.
June 22 My short film
The Failures of Ed is complete and debuts online, complete with original music by Fred McNaughton. JULY
July 2

The Coffee Shop debuts online, featuring original music from musician Steve Bridgeman.July 21 Sarah comes to PA to visit and we take a trip to Nissley Vineyard where I propose to her. Luckily, she accepts. My friends Ethan and Aubrey are there to capture the moment through photographs. AUGUST
August 13 I find out a co-worker, Kate, is moving out of her downtown apartment and I am soon living in downtown Lancaster enjoying the city life once again.

September 2 I head up to John & Lisa’s lake house along with our other co-workers Stacey, Mindy, and Ann. Nice to be on a tube again!
September 18 During another trip to Pennsylvania, Sarah and I take the train up to New York City. We visit the National Comedy Theater and say hello to Kramer, JT, and Lepine. We meet Sarah’s friends Courtney, Will, Ryan, and Ferrin and get to take a tour of the Saturday Night Live Studios.

October 5 I experience my first “First Friday,” a monthly celebration in downtown Lancaster of arts, music, and food, with Ethan and Aubrey.
October 19 I return home to Indiana to pick up Sarah and officially move her to Pennsylvania. In a grand gesture of kindness, her mom Suzy and step-dad Ken follow behind with Sarah’s furniture.
October 25 Sarah and I fly down to Daytona Beach to get married!
October 26 My good pal Brewster officiates our wedding on the beach.
Video of the event is captured and posted to share with our friends and family. The next day we leave for West Palm Beach, where we will spend the rest of our honeymoon.

November 7 Cleverly disguised as a night of Karaoke Revolution and Guitar Hero, the gang at the station throws Sarah and I a surprise wedding shower.
November 17 Sarah and I return to Indiana for our Indiana reception. We reconnect with old friends and have an in-general great time.
November 18 Sarah and I visit with her sister Stacy and her husband Nathan. We are introduced to the world of Settlers of Catan.
November 20 Back in Pennsylvania, Sarah and I buy a sequel to the board game Settlers of Catan, Starfarers of Catan, and geek out for a few days.
November 21 The film August Rush is released in theaters. I did extra work on the film back in spring of ‘05. It wasn’t worth the wait.
November 25 Sarah and I visit New York City again with our friends Lisa and Linda. We spend most of the day in The Village and enjoy a relaxing post-Thanksgiving detour.

December 1 Sarah and I travel to Reading PA to see The Katinas in concert with Michael W Smith and American Idol’s Mandisa. We get to go backstage and hang out with the guys and are treated to a private one-song concert.
December 6 My friend Mindy invites me to be the guest speaker at a theater class at LBC taught by her friend Kristen. For almost two hours I lead the class in a crash course in improv. Fun is had by all.
December 8 Our official Pennsylvania wedding shower is a blast. Good times with Ethan and Aubrey, Chris & Kathy, some of the Gross family, the Burkholders, the Blowereses, Stacey, Ashlea, and the Zucks!
December 13 I introduce Sarah to the game Perfection. And then show the world.
And that’s about it. So far. I didn’t even come close to touching on everything that went down and our calendar is full of fun things coming up. It’s been a great year and I’ve been blessed way beyond what I deserve. As you can see, one of the best ways to keep track of what we’re up to is by stopping by my blog or even my YouTube page (and, if you haven’t already, sign up for Facebook and be the first to find out about when the two aforementioned sites are updated).

As far as goal for 2008…that’s a good question. I’ve been given so much in 2007 it almost feels greedy to ask for anything for 2008. Actually, you know what? My goal for 2008 is to take care of what I was given in 2007. To be the best employee, friend, and husband I can be. That’ll be more than cool.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you to find out how you’re doing.

Keep in touch!


A Blog for Bob

When I was home in Indiana for our wedding reception this weekend I ran into my good pal Bob. He’s been an avid reader of my blog for some time now, but he had a complaint. It seems that since Sarah and I have fallen for each other, my blogs have gone a little soft and become quite mushy.

I agree with Bob. Not that I mind the tone of my more recent blogs because, like the blogs before them, they are true to heart and reflect what was–and is–on my mind. But I am indeed aware that as a result, the humor and sarcasm seem to have taken a back seat.

I promised Bob that when I returned to PA I would make it up to him, even naming my next post “A Blog for Bob.” I promised him a return of the humor he has come to look forward to (and subsequently miss).

I honestly thought about this during much of the drive back home from Indiana. As Sarah slept in the passenger seat beside me, I found myself wondering just what on earth I was going to blog about. Many of my more humorous blogs aren’t necessarily me coming up with a silly idea; they’re usually me reacting to an odd situation I’ve found myself in.

And I guess that’s the problem. I haven’t found myself in any weird or I-Can’t-Believe-This-Is-Happening circumstances as of late. Or at least not that I can think of.

But now that I think of it, it IS really cold in my office. There are two ceiling vents that seem to blow air direct from the Arctic Circle and onto me on a regular basis. It’s not as bad in the summer time because at least I can step outside to thaw out the icicles that have formed on my nose and/or ear lobes.

I mentioned this to someone here at work and was told there is nothing that can be done about it. The vents always blow cold air, always have and always will. The odd thing about it is that mine is the only area that seems to be this cold all the time. Part of me hopes my office is haunted. I want to fight a ghost.

The cold air hasn’t stopped despite the fact that the weather has taken a chilly turn. I actually thought it would let up when the temperature dropped, but no such luck. Today I found myself balanced on a chair, taping two folders (that I had already taped together) to the vent directly above me in an attempt to divert the constant breeze that is blowing down my back.

It seems to have worked. For now. Either that, or the air has stopped blowing. Either way, I’m still hoping to fight a ghost. That would be cool.

So there you go, Bob. This entry probably won’t end up being printed in The New Yorker or even Cracked magazine but if you’ve made it this far then chances are I’m on the right track to Ha-Ha Town.

The Story of Us Pt 4

In early May of 2007 I was in the coffee shop at my usual table, drinking my usual white chocolate mocha, and eating my usual turkey sandwich (with fruit cup) when I had an epiphany.

The Sundance Film Festival had posted all of the short film entries on their website for the world to see–and they were horrible. Films that were so obviously trying to be “arty” for the sake of “being arty”. I figured I could make a crappy short film as well as the next guy and if I could make a somewhat decent short film, then maybe I’d have something.

Sarah was working at the coffee shop that day and had forgotten to put the cheese on my turkey sandwich. To be honest, I didn’t even think about it–or even realize it–but she came out to where I was sitting and told me she suspected she forgot to add my slice of cheese.

I checked the sandwich and lo and behold she was right. I told her not to worry about it but she did, and was very adorable as she apologized for the oversight more than a few times.

It was at that moment I got the idea for my short film: A cute girl working at a coffee shop and a guy, not unlike myself, who’s not very adept at talking to girls but wants very much to talk to her. Maybe he’s there with a buddy of his, talking about how he wants to ask her out and his buddy who of course is much better at it and more confident is trying to show him the ropes.

I named the characters Ed and Paul (Paul, after my roommate in California who not only was very good with the fairer sex but also had a way of bringing home some of the hottest California girls you’d ever find). From there the script pretty much wrote itself.

I knew it would be easy to film and wondered if I’d be able to shoot it at the coffee shop. And for that matter I wondered if Sarah would be willing to play herself. That would be cool.

I went up to the counter for a refill of my coffee and mentioned to Sarah I had written a short film that revolves around a girl who works in a coffee shop and asked if she’d be up for playing the part. Of course, I didn’t mention the part about her inspiring the whole thing…I didn’t want to creep her out or anything.

I was very happy that not only did she agree to do it but also seemed very eager and excited about it. When I returned to my table and sat down again I realized I’d have to make a revision and change the main character from me to someone else. Mostly because I didn’t want to freak her out that I was playing a character hitting on someone (her) 13 years younger than me. Sure, it was just a film, but I didn’t want Sarah…or her sister…or her brother-in-law….to think I had less-than-innocent intentions. And I can honestly tell you my intentions were indeed very innocent. I don’t know how believable that sounds now, especially since we have since gotten engaged, but believe me it’s true. I had not ulterior motives. I just wanted Sarah to be in the film.

I quickly changed my character to “David”. Granted, David is her brother and it sounds really weird to cast her brother as someone trying to ask her out but I mean come on, in the story they aren’t related. And David has an innocent shyness about him I thought would translate well. He ended up doing a much better job than I ever could have done (I think I would have come across as goofy instead of shy) and he nailed the part brilliantly.

The only other guy I knew who was around their age and could play the confident, good-looking ladies man was Matt, who also hung hung around the coffee shop quite a bit. He is Ken’s son, and–that’s right–Sarah’s step-brother. So yea, I totally made a film about a girl and cast her real-life brother and step-brother as the two guys vying for her attention. If you never met any of them in real-life you’d have no idea of the odd casting choice, but to our friends around town…I think it really confused some of them at first.

We filmed on May 18 and it turned out really well (you can see the film here). The three of them did a great job and to say I was impressed would be an extreme understatement. As we filmed I had Sarah behind the counter and asked her to perform basic actions that I could use as cutaway shots. Simple tasks like working the register, answering the phone, sweeping the floor, etc.

I can still remember reviewing the footage later that night. I was sitting at the kitchen table of my little upstairs apartment and as I watched Sarah, it really hit home: “This girl is beautiful.”

I recall rewinding the tape and re-watching a few times. There she was doing everyday mundane tasks and I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. I remembered how much fun I had working with her up close and wished I’d written a bigger part so I could work with her more. Her friendliness, her warm smile, her considerate spirit…those weren’t things that were merely part of her at-work customer-service mode (not that I ever suspected they were)…but that’s truly who she is as a person.

Looking back on it all now I realize that although I’d already known her for about nine months, I already knew how funny, kind, sweet, and beautiful she was…the night we shot that film is the night I fell for Sarah.

The Story of Us Pt 1

I’m going to do my best to recount the story of Sarah and me as best as I can remember. It’s a long story (or at least will be when I’m done with it) so I’ll be publishing these in installments.

*Just a warning: There will probably be inaccuracies, lapses of memory, and free association. Sometimes it might seem like what I am writing has nothing to do with Sarah. Trust me.

I hadn’t been back in Indiana for very long. I was previously living in New York City and to say The Big Apple had a few coffee shops would be putting it lightly. To say I frequented those coffee shops would also be putting it lightly. I usually went to Starbucks, not out of brand loyalty, but because in New York every third building you pass is a Starbucks.

After moving back to Indiana it didn’t take long for my coffee craving to kick in. But this was Auburn Indiana, not New York City and I didn’t know what I would find (if anything) in the way of coffee shops.

One day I happened to notice a coffee shop in a strip mall across the street from a grocery store. It didn’t really stand out and it was one of those places you had to know was there in order to find it. I didn’t think they were getting a lot of drop-ins. I went in armed only with my notebook I always carry with me. I intended to do some writing and enjoy some quiet time.

I ordered my coffee (white chocolate mocha) and sat down. The coffee wasn’t very good, but it was warm and it was made of coffee beans, so I figured I’d force it down. I began writing in my book when the owner of the shop began to make a loud fuss (all of the details are here). Turns out the owner knew my brother and was shouting loudly to his wife across the shop about me and who I was. To say I was a little embarrassed would be pretty accurate. I vowed never to step foot in that place again. And so far I’ve made good on my vow to myself.

I told my brother Ray about the incident and he and his wife Piper told me about another coffee shop that was located in downtown Auburn. And when I say “downtown” I don’t mean like on Sunset Boulevard or Michigan Avenue or 42nd Street. I mean “downtown” as in the courthouse square in Back to the Future. Seriously. It looks just like that, with the huge courthouse and the big clock and all of the little shops all around. Apparently there was another coffee shop located in the square and I intended to check it out.

How to Tell If You’re in Garrett, Indiana

A couple of days ago I went to the bank. As I got out of the car, I saw a rather large lady running (or waddling quickly) down the sidewalk screaming at the top of her lungs “GIVE ME BACK MY BABY!!!!!!!”

It wasn’t unlike watching “Cops” live.

And that’s how you know you’re in Garrett, Indiana.

Hunting Fungus

This week Dad and I were eating lunch in a local dive and an old guy approached Dad and began to regale him with his tales of “mushroom hunting”. Apparently people go out in the woods…and look for mushrooms. Why the word “hunting” is applied to it is beyond me. Perhaps it’s an attempt to make it sound more exciting than it actually is? I don’t know how common a practice this is, but I know more than a few people in Indiana who go out….”mushroom hunting.”

As this man told us of his adventures and the many different kinds of mushrooms he discovered, I came upon the following revelation:

The only thing that can possibly be more boring than mushroom hunting is a conversation about mushroom hunting.

The Pinnacle of Awkward

I just returned from grabbing a bite to eat. While I was there I ran into Ralph, from the local hardware store. He’s an older guy (I say “older” because I don’t know how old he is…but I know he was in the service in WWII) who’s really cool and funny and I enjoy talking with him. We talked mostly about old films and other light fare but soon our conversation took a turn down Serious Lane and he began telling me the story of his best friend passing away.

It was during this vulnerable time we were approached by a guy who I went to high school with. He was creepy back then and is really creepy now (perhaps it was his attempt to convert me to Communism a few years ago that turned me off to him. Or maybe the time he threatened my grandmother and my aunt. The point is, he’s creepy). He approached our table and then just stood there as poor Ralph told me about the late-night call he received from his buddy’s wife.

Bear in mind, I’ve been back in Indiana for just about a year now, and have seen this guy on a number of occasions. I looked up at him standing there watching us and suddenly found myself in this conversation:

CHUCK: Eddie?
ME: Yeah.
CHUCK: I wondered if that was you.
ME: It’s me.
CHUCK: You probably don’t even remember who I am.
ME: Sure I do, Chuck.
CHUCK: You look bigger. Have you grown?
ME: Not really.
CHUCK: Stand up.

I share a perplexed look with Ralph and then scoot my chair back and stand up.

ME: 5’11. Just like I’ve been for a while.
CHUCK: No. I think you’ve grown since high school.

I sit back down.

Awkward pause. Then,

ME: Must be all the steroids.

I smile. Ralph laughs. Chuck does not.

CHUCK: Do you take steroids?
ME: No, Chuck. I was just making a joke.
CHUCK: I took steroids in high school.

I remember that Chuck has always been scrawnier than even I.

ME: Really?
CHUCK: Yea. Did you?
ME: No, I can’t say that I did.
CHUCK: You can’t really tell, but I did.

Awkward pause followed by

Really awkward pause.

CHUCK: I took (Chuck names off several medical terms that I assume are steroids, but that I cannot remember now).
ME: Oh….yeah…….no, I never did that.

Chuck stands and looks at me and Ralph long enough to create another awkward pause and then just walks away.

I tell ya, as much as I am looking forward to Pennsylvania next month, it’s gonna be hard to top awkwardness like that.