Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nate Poekert

This post will be short and to the point. I would like to take this time to solely thank Nate Poekert for creating the hilarious title picture for my blog. He took his time out of saving kittens, DJ-ing for charity events, spelunking, sponsoring a hearing impaired Glee Club, performing holiday jingles, and discovering new galaxies (all of wich are just a few of his infinite number of hobbies) to create it. THANKS NATE!

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stuff this in your turkey and eat it.

Wow. So it's the end of November. Today I have officially been living in NYC for 4 months and one day. Key word here is LIVING. So much to tell...

I've been at my new job for a little over a month now. To be honest, I was a little nervous about it the first few weeks. My boss had been out of town quite a bit the first three weeks. To put it in perspective, I think I saw/spoke with her three times in my first three weeks. It's not that I didn't like being there... it's just that I was at a new job with no direction. When my boss finally got back in the office, she took me out for coffee (I drank hot chocolate since I'm still a child and do not drink coffee...). She was very apologetic about my first few weeks and realized it wasn't the best start to a new job. I completely understood the circumstances and we had an opportunity to discuss my "roll" in my office. I'm excited about the projects that are in store for me and I'm looking forward to learning more about the college.

I still work a Serendipity from time to time. I'll probably try to work a lot in the next few weeks on the weekends. Christmas is only 26 days away and the extra money that gives me will come in handy.

I can say that my transition here has been great, but about 2 weeks ago... I started to feel the strain of not having a group of friends to hang out with. I had gone out a few times with people from work and that was fun... but I've always had/needed a "base" group of friends. Most of my days were becoming mundane. Wake up, go to work, go home, repeat. I was craving fellowship in all sense of the word. I remember one night about 2 and a haf weeks ago I was lying in bed saying my nightly prayers and tossed in a selfish plug to find some friends. A few short days after that... I was chatting with some friends from back home in Alabama. A friend of mine, Torry, let me know that he knows a girl here in the city and told me that I should contact her. I was iffy at first just because I didn't know how to go about introducing myself. So I took the new age approach.. I e-mailed her. I immediately got a response from Mo, that's her name, and we immediately hit it off. We met for lunch a few short days later and became instant friends! In only an hour of meeting her, she invited me to her and her friends' Thanksgiving celebration. With this new found friendship only came more. Mo introduced me to her crew and it's hard to believe that I've only known these people for two weeks. They have welcomed me into the group with open arms and they all are amazing people!!! They are all unique, talented, hilarious people. We've all agreed that it feels like we've been friends for years. It's such a strange phenomenon... but I am not complaining in the least. I am honored, grateful, and blessed to have these people in my life here. I'm positive that more stories and blogs will be born with these friendships...

Psalm 37:4-5 (New International Version)

4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

Like I said before... this group has so many talented people. One guy in the group, Nathan, has actually studied improv. So, the group decided we should all go to an Improv Jam where an improv group performs and then there is an "open" time when people from the crowd can perform. So... Nathan, Joe (another good friend in the group), and I formed a quick group and called ourselves "The Eye in Team". Mind you... this would be my first ever attempt with anything improv. As luck would have it... they drew which team would go first and it was us. So we did our thing and got some laughs. I personally feel that I locked up a little bit... but I experienced it none-the-less. After we performed, there were about 4 or 5 other groups that went. After all groups had performed, they passed out ballots for the audience to vote on a winner. I wanted to be fair so I voted for the group that I thought was the funniest. The people I was with did the same. So they tallied up the votes and announced the winner. And believe it or not... my team won! I don't know how it happened... but I'll take it. Nathan has really opened my eyes to the world of improv and has been giving me advice on what I should be doing. I'll forever remember that night and am thankful to have friends that are interested in and helping me work toward my dreams!!! I have A LOT of work to do and A LOT to learn, but am excited more than ever of what's ahead.

Thanksgiving here in NYC was AMAZING. I spent it at at the apartment of some of the guys that are in the crew. Their apartment is collectively known as the "Gun Club". There were about 20 or so of us in the apartment. Everyone brought a dish and the guys even cooked a 27 pound turkey. The food was great! After eating, with the help of Joe and another friend Nate, we performed a song that I wrote to the tune of "Since U Been Gone" entitled "Thanksgiving Song". It was a hit... and will also soon be available on iTunes. Just kidding... but it was documented. After the performance we all made hand turkeys... kind of like... actually... just like you do as a child. With our hand turkeys complete, we made our way to the roof of the apartment. There's nothing like someone playing guitar while everyone screams the words to songs all in the midst of New York City's skyline. After our rooftop jam session we all went back to the apartment and proceeded to have a dance party, a clean-up party, another dance party, and then rounded out the night by watching "Elf" and "Home Alone". I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my first Thanksgiving away from home. We streamed our Thanksgiving celebration live on the internet so that our families could watch. So good!

Things are still going great! I was talking with another friend in the group, Shuffle, on the roof during Thanksgiving and she asked me what I thought about "it". I asked what she meant and she went on to ask if I thought that this is what NYC was going to be like. My experience in NYC is nothing like what I thought it was going to be. We went on to discuss that the New York I'm experiencing isn't a "normal" thing. I have a great job, a great living situation, I'm slowly making progress toward what I came here to do, and I have found friends that are supportive, amazing, funny, and genuine. A lot of people get lost when they get here trying to accomplish those things and I've been blessed to not have been overcome by them.

It keeps getting better and I know that there is only more to come!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A smooth transition (Kind of like ex-lax, but without the mess)

So much to tell! My transition from "small town living" to "city life" has been great. I haven't been able to update in a while. One of my roommates has left for a national tour of "Little House on the Prairie". If it comes to a city near you.... check it out... it's great. When he left he took a few of the luxuries out of his name so it took us a minute to get them back. So I bought a bad "A" 50 inch Samsung TV, turned the HD cable back on, and re-connected our apartment to the internet.

You're wondering... 50 inch TV? Well... I decided to buy myself a present. You see... I GOT A NEW JOB! I am now an Admission Counselor for a university here in Manhattan, The New School. I will be recruiting for their graduate programs for The New School of General Studies, Milano, and Social Research. I met one of the Directors of Admissions of The New School back in March on my first ever NYC visit. I have kept in contact with him since. He passed my resume on to several people and it finally caught someone's eye. They contacted me, asked me to apply for the position, offered an interview (which I rocked by the way), then offered me the job which starts tomorrow. This has all happened over the past two weeks. I'm REALLY looking forward to it. More to come about the new job once i've fallen into it a little more.

As for working at Serendipity, it's coming to an end... in a way. They've really enjoyed me working there and I've enjoyed it just the same. Everyone that works there is full time, but they told me if I wanted to still work for them on a "fill in basis" that I am more than welcome to. So once I get in the groove of my new job, I may fill in every now and then just for some extra cash. I'm excited about my new job, but I am going to miss working with the people there. I'm leaving just as I was beginning to establish some good friendships. But, I'm sure those will keep it going. Some of us have become regulars at a local karaoke bar called Iggy's. If you know me, you know I love me some karaoke. Especially here since it's pretty much my only "artistic" outlet. And yes... I own it here just like I own it back home. Ha Ha.

So I had an another audition. This time it was for a runway show. There was a specific dress code. Get this... Matt Morgan, all six feet for inches of me, in a fitted v-neck t-shirt and some skinny jeans. The audition took all of about 30 seconds. I walked into a room full of people, stated my name, walked from one end of the room to the other, received some thank yous, and was told that I would be contacted, which hasn't happened. I've taken that as a no which is ok with me. Again... to get to experience these things is just as good to me.

I've had a couple of chances to sign up for a class at the Upright Citizen Brigade, which is the improv school I came here to attend. Classes have been full, but by keeping an eye on the website with the help of my friends, Peaches Clanton and Ashley Baker, we have found a few slots open from time to time. Though a few have opened, I didn't act on them. The reason why is because I don't want to rush things. I've been talking with my roommates and wondering if I'm not doing things fast enough, like auditioning and so on. They responded with a great point. I've only been here 3 months! I have plenty of time. I've already done so much. I found a job my third day here, did some camera work, had two auditions, AND have already moved into a better job with a salary, vacation, and benefits. I'm doing just fine. My theme for 2009 was the title of a Jason Mraz song, "Make it Mine", and I've done just that. I feel that I'm just gonna take the last few months of this year to continue to take it all in. The working title for 2010 is "2010... time to dig in!" -Booya!

I think that's about it for now. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things and if I am... the more reason I have to post! Thanks for everyone's prayers and good wishes. Keep them coming, and I'll do the same for you!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting a raise and adult films... no connection.

It's been a while since my last post. My apologies! There are a few things to share to which I'll try to give each equal attention.

I got a raise within my first month of working. As I said before, I'm "just" a reservationist. Though I sit at a table answering the phones... I offer my help whenever needed and volunteer my use whenever and however to show my willingness to work and my work ethic. It has seemed to pay off. They first asked me if I would like to switch from being a reservationist to a host. I immediately thought "yes" because it is more money than I make as a reservationist. But.... the host job was for night work... from 5:00 pm- 12:00 am; till 1:00 am on Fridays; till 2:00 am on Saturdays. I really don't work well at night so that was a big deterrent. The manager asked me to make my decision the day she offered it to me. So I though about it and still wasn't sure. She discussed it with me and told me to be honest with her. So... I was honest with her. I told her that I didn't like the idea of working at night, but that I would do what I needed to do to make more money. She said if it was money I was worried about, she would just give me a raise for what I was doing. Easy enough! She said that she and the owner enjoy having me and that I bring a lot to the restaurant. That made me feel good... and so does the extra money. Yeah for raises... woohoo for work ethic... yippee for adding something to an establishment!

Yes, you read the blog title correctly. Adult films. So I had a Wednesday off the other week, and after getting my tan on in Central Park... I decided to walk around the area of Manhattan where the Plaza Hotel is along with the Apple store and FAO Schwarz. As I was walking... I was held up by a crosswalk light. While I waited minding my business, and for the light to change in my favor, a man a few steps away from me yelled, "Is that Turkish?" I looked around and realized that we were the only two standing there. He was commenting on the writing on a t-shirt I had on, which I guess was an attempt to break the ice before asking about a career opportunity. He had a few brief cases with him and an umbrella and he began to fumble them as he hailed a cab. Me being me... I insisted on helping this struggling "well-to-do" looking man in a nice suit. While helping him into the cab he asked me where I was from, what I was doing in NYC and, after answering his inquiries vaguely, he asked how I could be a reservationist with such a thick country accent (look ya'll... I DO NOT have a Southern drawl). After the interrogation... he warned me that he was about to ask me a question and for me to not be offended... which is actually hard to do. He continued by asking me if I had ever considered making adult movies. As nice and honest as I could I said, "Yes... where do I sign up?" JUST KIDDING... just making sure you are still paying attention... ha ha. I told him that I wasn't interested in that line of work. He continued to tell me that I could make A LOT of money and that I should consider it. I thanked him for his advice and again responded that it wasn't for me. He told me again to keep it in mind and closed the cab door and faded into the traffic. I guess I have a back-up plan now. Or not. Ha Ha.

Quick blips to save you time:

- I helped an old lady carry a newly bought vacuum down the street to her subway stop. She told me I was extremely good looking and asked why I couldn't be 40 years older. I told her because God wanted me to meet her when I was 25 so I could help her carry her brand new vacuum. When I was done helping her and said goodbye she replied by saying, "Goodbye... I hope you have a wonderful life!" It made me sad knowing I will probably never see her again, but I was happy to have met her and welcomed her good wishes.

- The producer that is hooking me up with camera work called me the other day. I'm going to start meeting him and making extra "mullah" running a camera for seminars. Who knows... it might lead to something else.

- It's staring to get cold here. I don't have sufficient shoes or coats for NYC winter. I'll be accepting gift cards for GAP, Abercrombie, and Urban Outfitters to help prepare for the cold. Just Kidding... but really... if you have an extra gift card... I'll take it. Ha Ha.

- Check out my new film "Big M Little Organ". It'll make my parents proud. Just Kidding!!! Still having fun with the fact that someone asked me to be in adult films.

Thanks for reading! More to come soon...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sonya Michelle Smith

Things seemed to be going great for me here in Matthattan. About the time I was rounding up to my third week here... one of my all time good friends, Sonya, passed away. August 10, 2009 is the day she passed. I had just visited her in the hospital before I left for NYC so I could spend some time with her. When I heard that she passed, at first I wasn't going to make the trip home to the funeral. Selfish I think now... but it was a must when I heard that her mother wanted me to be a pallbearer. I instantly knew that I COULD NOT miss it. The total trip wiped out my savings... but the amount of personal growth that was bought with that worldly money is completely worth it.

First, I had to worry about asking off of work for two days at a job I have only been at for two weeks. Shockingly, the stereotype was broken when my bosses showed that, as New Yorkers, they had hearts and let me off ! Thank you so much Serendipity! I'll never forget that.

I left for Alabama at 4 in the morning on Wednesday the 12th and made in home about 11:00 or so (Thank God for Dana Campbell for being my chauffeur from and to the airport). I took some time to go around my college town to visit old co-workers, made a trip to one of my sisters' work to visit, then went home to rest before the viewing that night. I was a mess all day... I wanted to cry all day but the world tells us that men don't cry... so I tried to hold t in. While my mom and one of my sisters were getting ready to leave for the viewing, I couldn't take it anymore. I ran into my mom's room where they were and lost it. Full on LOST IT! It had hit me that I was about to see one of my life friends in her casket. After I somewhat calmed down... we made our way to see her. When I got to the funeral home I had so many emotions running through my mind. I was sad to say goodbye to Sonya, but while at the viewing, I saw SO many of my good childhood friends from school. I even found myself laughing at times regardless of the circumstances. I'm sure Sonya was ok with that. The night ended with my friend Jessica Fair and me going to Jefferson's for some wings and a pitcher. We didn't even touch the pitcher...

Thursday the 13th was the day of Sonya's funeral. I had also been asked the day I arrived in Alabama if I would/could speak at the funeral. Again... such a hard thing to do... but something I had to do. The service was great. Four of us spoke... all of which were so great and moving. I went last, ending it on what I guess I could call a "happy" note. Then after the service, the other pallbearers and I carried Sonya to the hearse... then again to her place where she lay now at the cemetery. After it was all done, I went to eat with some of my peeps at a Mexican joint, then went with Jessica to visit Sonya's mom at their house. After all that... I had a little time left to spend with my family (not enough though, I might add). After hanging with the fam, Dana carried me back to the airport, and I made the trip back "home" to NYC.

When I got back to Matthattan at 9:00 am, I dropped my stuff off at my apartment, and went straight to work at 10:30. I was drained emotionally, physically, and mentally! I was pretty much a zombie at work. When I got home from work... I immediately went to bed. While waiting to fall asleep... I had so many thoughts.

- Oh no... I have no more savings.
- I can't believe I spoke at Sonya's funeral and helped carry her.
- What was that noise?
- It was so amazingly awesome to see some of my good friends.
- I miss my family.
- I miss my friends.
- I can't believe Sonya isn't alive anymore.
- I have to pee.

But, out of everything I thought, it ended with "Thank you God". Thank you for taking Sonya home where there's no more worries. Thank you for allowing me to experience this. Thank you for your plan for me. Thank you for everything. Thank you. What I experienced in such a short time span gave me so much personal growth. It gave me more memories and rekindled old ones. It gave me new strengths and made me think on my weaknesses. So, with Sonya's passing... she still found a way to influence my life. I love you Sonya.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Please, if you have an extra rib, remove it...

So I had one of the most vivid dreams of my life one night this week. I'll share it (in its abbreviated form to save time) as the beginning of this post.
My favorite musician Jason Mraz had just finished a concert which, for some reason, was at my house. As the crowd left my home, I found Mraz camping outside of my home. I was shocked! I mean... my FAVORITE musician was camping at my house! I sat down and chatted with him and took some pictures to prove that he was really there. After I settled down, we started talking about life and how we all should do in life... what we want to do. Mraz went on to tell me that if you aren't doing what you want to do, it's like having an extra rib; a protruding rib that caused a discomfort of sorts. With that extra rib, nothing would feel natural... no movement would feel natural, no activity would feel natural, and no thought would pass without first thinking of the pain/discomfort of the extra rib. But, to do what you want to do... to follow a dream that you've always wanted to follow, would be like removing that extra rib. Nothing would be uncomfortable. Movement would be natural. Thoughts would be pure with no interruption. It would in a sense be... freedom. Wow.
So I finished my first week of work at Serendipity. I am a "reservationist." I literally sit at a little table and answer the phone when it rings and take down reservations. What can I say... it pays the bills. Well, I'm actually not certain if it will pay the bills, but I'll soon find out. My first day was kind of shaky. They told me what I was to wear at my "interview", but didn't go into very much details. So I showed up in lighter colored jeans, a nice button-up shirt, and a nice pair of Steve Madden sneakers. When I arrived on my first day, they immediately told me that I didn't meet dress code, but that I could stay since they didn't specify at my interview. I am not to wear washed out colored jeans and I must wear leather shoes that can hold a shine. So after they informed me of the dress code they also told me it was a clean shaved establishment. For those who know me well... my trimmed man stubble didn't cut it. So... they told me to leave and come back when my face was shaved. I left the restaurant, rounded the corner, found a barber, had him shave my face, and headed back to work. Work since has been fine and I'm starting to open up to my co-workers and it's becoming fun.
I met up with a producer on this past Tuesday evening and he refreshed my memory on how to work a camera. He might have some work for me starting in September recording seminars put on by the NYC Bar Association (lawyer stuff). It pays $25 an hour so I'd be dumb to pass that up.
I got my first audition for something this past Thursday! A friend of mine (Dana) has a roommate (Courtney) who got me in touch with her mother's friend's sister's cousin's brother (or something like that) before I left Alabama. He forwarded an e-mail to me on Tuesday to audition to perform for something which involved a 2 day gig in a mocap suit... which is one of those black suits with balls all over it to transfer human motion into a computer. It went well and I was told that not many people auditioned for it. So, keep your fingers crossed that I get it.
I originally thought that I would blog every Sunday... but I think I'll need to do it more often so I can go more in depth about stories. So... Until next time...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Serendipitous indeed.

So this is it. The first official blog of many to come to track the progress of my life here in New York City. So starting out... I actually don't have a sappy story of struggle (yet anyway...). I'm not living out of my car, I'm not jobless, and I'm not eating out of a garbage can. So if a "True Hollywood Story" is pitched to E!, I'm not sure they'll take the story, but I have a story none-the-less.

Today marks he 4th day of my life here and they have been more than great. I arrived here Wednesday the 26th. My goal was to have a job by Friday the 28th and sure enough... it came to be. The first place I walked into was Serendipity 3, a pretty well known restaurant. The last time I was in NYC... a month or so ago... me and my friends, Peach and Amy, ate there. Our waiter was from Hunstsville, AL strangely enough, and he told me to check back when I moved here. And so I did. I walked in and asked if they were hiring. The man almost said that they weren't and asked me to wait for a moment. He walked back up to me and I asked If I wanted to fill out an application and I did, of course. After turning it in, he asked me a few questions and told me he would call me. He then asked me to wait a moment again, walked off, then he approached me again and asked if I could start Monday at 10:30. I couldn't believe it and giddily said yes. Job... check!

I'm apartment sitting for two great and helpful people, Melissa and Jim, until I move into my more semi-permanent apt for the month of August. One of my greatest friends, Rachel, made the trip up here with me to give me one last bit of home before the newness of a place with no friends really kicks in. We've had a great time walking the city, kayaking the Hudson, eating good food, and relaxing before I fall into the "City That Never Sleeps" routine. On top of Rachel making the trip, one of my old teammates, Yib, is also here getting ready for school.We all three got to eat dinner along with another one of our college buds who this in city where I'm apt sitting. Serendipitous indeed.

Another cool note... I have been in contact with a JSU Alumni who has put me in touch with a producer here in Manhattan who might have a place for me to live after my semi-permanent place in August. So I contacted him and we are still working out the details of the apt... keep your fingers crossed. While speaking with him, he asked if I had a job. This was Thursday, so I didn't at that moment. I let him know that I didn't have a job and was willing to work to start earning money. He asked if I could work a camera and I said yes... and that my major was actually Broadcast Journalism. He was surprised and offered for me to met him this upcoming Tuesday night in the Theatre District to work at a shoot and learn the camera. I at one point e-mailed my head shots to the JSU Alumni since she and I have become pretty good pen pals... and she had passed them onto the producer... which I'm ok with. When he told me he had my head shots, he wrapped up our convo by saying, "So you can potentially work off and ON camera...", to which I replied, "Absolutely."

So... my first four days aren't too exciting, but they are far from dull! Thank you to all of my friends and family for your thoughts and prayers and if you don't mind... keep them coming! I'll try to keep you all updated as much as possible. Until next time...