1. 00:25 22nd Aug 2014

    Notes: 1

    Reblogged from d-rpg



    tl;dr Today I did some comedy and I bombed. I bombed terribly.

    (some extended music)

    IN OTHER NEWS Two people died during a chess tournament in Norway.

    • I don’t really know much about this story, I just caught it en passant
    • Well, that doesn’t bode well for the rest of my chess-related puns. I’m going to be forked.
    • This is going to be a really tough crowd. People have red-letter days, that’s a good thing, this is a bad evening, a black knight to see one.
    • I can throw away my set. I should sell it to a Norwegian, maybe they’ll understand my chess puns. Maybe I could rent it, or maybe I could pawn it.
    • That was the second version of the joke, the first one was me talking about violence in chess. There isn’t really any, which is also why there isn’t any “chess porn” lately, unless you want to watch it in black and white.
    • You’ll get board. Chess-board.
    • Seriously, I think everybody should learn to play chess, it’s fun, you don’t need to own a castle or be a bishop to know how to play it. It’s really ***king great!
    • And that’s all my puns. Okay, okay, nobody plays chess, this is too highbrow. Sorry everyone, I’m leaving now. Check! Check, mate!
  2. The Worst Demons of My Nature


    I talk the talk, but to be honest I don’t walk the walk. If anything I’d much prefer to ride a bus or a train or a cab.

    I say I run to keep fit, but the truth is I don’t even run; I walk. I like to blow myself up, but really it’s all made-up.

    And even talking about make-up, as a sign of how lazy I am, I bought good make-up and stopped worrying about my face. Rather than try, y’know, to keep it clean and clear and aim for a Korean complexion, I relaxed and just thought: ehh, never mind the pimples, I’ll just wear make-up when I perform.

    I just explained what I’d heard to someone: performance is the ultimate mirror. Maybe it’s more an endoscope than a mirror. When you improvise, you have no material but what’s inside you, and you turn your insides into raw inspiration and firmament, building your world with your secrets and thoughts and feelings and shit and organs and flesh and blood and heart. With nothing, you can only draw from within, and what comes out is terrifying because it is you, it was in you all along, and what you may have to confront is what is inside you and has been all along.

    The hardest truths to confront are the lies you tell yourself.


    I think one thing that I do have going for is this: I have, through some luck, some good habits.

    Thousands of terrible ones, of course, but there are some good ones. Giving a shit. Attempted efficiency and optimization. Shamelessness in asking people for their opinions.

    I don’t deny; I am antisocial. On the one hand I recognise it as a truly destructive problem; waiting at a bus-stop, I would intentionally stand out-of-sight and behind a pillar rather than walk up to the acquaintance and start chatting. I have; I did, just this week. I hide everything behind sudoku on my phone and podcasts in my ears. The podcasts itself are a manifestation of the crippling symptoms of antisociality; craving people and voices and thoughts and stories, I turn to canned spam, substitute mock meat, listening to pre-recorded conversations and pretending that I’m having some, any, at all.

    On the other hand, there’s this crippling fear of crowds and people and intimacy and others. People hurt, and I’m never sure of the rules for associating or dissociating. I panic, I’m awkward, and when things are unclear I always mess and bungle things up.

    A comedian once put it this way: performers are messed up, and you can tell. You can tell because in a theatre, in a pub, there’s five hundred people seated facing one way and the performer’s the only idiot looking in the wrong direction, onstage, lit by lights and everyone else looking. There’s something in the truth that people are moved to perform because they crave the attention and validation from the audience, and imagine they can find love and happiness and satisfaction from it.

    Some of them do.

    And maybe it’s a symptom of my own brokenness that I take to performing naturally; not because of all the attention-seeking and crying-out-to-people-to-love-me, but simply because the lines are very clear, and demarcated by footlights and elevated platform. It’s the perfect social interaction medium for someone who worries about them #blurredlines. The place where there is no question about the rules; you get up there and make them laugh, then come downstairs and **** off. You don’t have to talk to them before, and you can talk to them after once they’re laughed out and they already love you. No sweat.

    Stage. Audience. Lit. Darkness. One. Many. Wrong way. Right way. Putting it all out there, risking it, taking a chance, safe in the herd?

    Not for me. I’m safest onstage.


    Basically tl;dr today I got reamed. My career — really more of a careen — has been befraught. I could blame the environment, easily, there’s tons of trials and tribulations and more bullshit than in the Augean Stables that Hercules needs to clean out, but the feedback has all been about me.

    The feedback has been largely negative.

    It’s not been wrong, I don’t think. I don’t deny the intellectual laziness or the fatigued cynicism and general displeasure or angriness. Maybe Michael Jackson was right; you gotta start with the man in the mirror, and when life gives you crap by gee golly jeepers you gotta find a way to squeeze lemon juice out of it. And even now I’m not admitting to my mistakes, doing a sort of half-assed guilt-trippy passive-aggressive “Yeah, I’m shit, but they’re assholes!” shtick. That’s probably a fault, too, not calling people out on their honestly negative practices and incredibly draining, discouraging environment.

    It would be easy to give up. So easy; and frankly it seems the much better option to leave gracefully (and accursed) than to try again. Why fight the rising tides and the crashing waves on a sinking ship?

    What do I do? Help.

  3. 21:59 12th Aug 2014

    Notes: 282139

    Reblogged from anbarsky


I can honestly say this movie, this man’s performance, got me through many tough times. Rest in peace, you beautiful spirit. And thank you, sir, for all the lives you’ve touched.

I do improv because it’s art; because it moves people; because it moves me, because it reminds me I am alive.


    I can honestly say this movie, this man’s performance, got me through many tough times. Rest in peace, you beautiful spirit. And thank you, sir, for all the lives you’ve touched.

    I do improv because it’s art; because it moves people; because it moves me, because it reminds me I am alive.


  4. Showing Off My Salsa Skills

    Anh raised a good point last week, and I couldn’t really answer it properly I feel. But, the answer came to me as I was washing dishes. To reiterate, the situation was

    "Kim said that negotiation scenes were always bad."

    This is why we rotate trainers, too, everybody adds value in a different way/direction.

    Last week, we did a short exercise to get everyone used to negotiating things, before we played Last Line, where you had to ‘negotiate’ and manipulate your partner into saying what you wanted them to say. One way to think about it is that each exercise leads into an actual game — Last Line is a real game, and often games have weird rules that trains certain skills.

    This week, I’m going to explain by dancing. Watch. This is how I do my Salsa dance — Kim, Hazel, you probably haven’t seen this…

    (basic eights)

    ..bit lame without a partner and a music, but looks pretty good, right? Don’t answer. Now, this is what I actually do when I was young and healthy and hot and had a flat tummy and trained for Salsa:

    (chest stomach shoulders hips knees isolation) ((maybe think about doing it the other way))

    Does not look the same at all.

    I used to be pretty good at isolation, but it took forever to put it altogether into a dance. It’s complex, and it takes a lot of practice, like some theatrical arts we do. And isolation is painful and tough and boring and impossible for some people. The shoulder thing is rough, my hips aren’t perfect, but every time we push a little more, we look a little better, and we keep going at it until it all clicks and we get it.

    Negotiation scenes are bad, agreed, but what I’m doing is ‘isolating’ your problem-solving, negotiating, thinking part. I didn’t really think it up in so many words, I just looked at the problem and worked backwards — something else we’ll do today. I looked at Last Line, and wondered, what skill do you need? Secret objective mission-completing. Making people do things for you. Negotiating; so many things I could talk about negotiating. When to give up, whether to give up, approaching the request circuitously versus making a clear demand versus issuing an ultimatum versus relying on influence and persuasion…

    But ultimately sometimes we need to ‘move’ each other, for example, if people are stuck, or if you need help, or if you’re trying to solve a problem. It’s about communication, my secret mission was to talk about endowments: how to tell people what to do, and how to tell people what to do without literally telling them.

    And that’s the workshop for today. Everybody up!

  5. 13:32

    Notes: 313184

    Reblogged from mdphoon


    enough about sex positions has anyone discovered a reading position which doesn’t get uncomfortable after 5 minutes

    I found some new positions reading through the Karma Sutra.

    I was trying to read the Catholic Bible with my girlfriend, but we could only read it about half the days in any month. We tried to read more but we felt awful. We were sick and groggy in the morning, smells made us puke, everything tasted like flesh and blood in our mouth.

    That is either a transubstantiation joke or I forgot to mention we were reading SIlence of the Lambs.

    Anyway, so I tried to read Fifty Shades, but I only managed to read about two pages. Not because it’s awful, but it’s a lot of trouble to undo the ropes, the handcuffs, the silk ties and wire twists to flip the book and continue reading.

    I never knew people could connect books with sex. That’s a whole new world for me, totally unique. I never thought like that before, I hope nobody else does. My librarian probably thinks I’m a slut. “Six books a month?! And he renews some of them!”

    My girlfriend is really annoyed at me because she found my Kindle underneath my porn collection.



    "I went to a talk by IBM in which they boasted about how they could harness the immense power of their computing giant and cross-reference Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles with customer databases. All public data just out there; they just had better tools who took a lot less time. And being able to be detected, identified and cross-referenced like that? That scares me."

    1. Why I am Eloquentinbed.tumblr.com

    Because I am eloquent in bed.

    Ever have shower thoughts? They’re named after the phenomenon of people just luxuriating in their showers, and then some genius realisation comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be a shower — people find sudden inspiration everywhere, doing yoga, meditating, cooking dinner, even possibly while they’re brainstorming.

    For me, the period after I turn off my computer and hop into bed to read, that’s when inspiration strikes. The smartest quip, the most erudite wit, and the best blog topics ever. Problem is, of course, in bed, I want to sleep; the computer is off for a reason, and I can’t be arsed to start it up again.

    (Now I have a smartphone. This entire post came out of a showerthought. Yay for technology.)

    So, faintly annoyed that I was missing out on these great ideas and inspiration (because laziness trumps all) and thumbing my nose at the unfairness of the situation (because what is injustice without a soapbox from which to rail upon?), I christened this tumblr eloquentinbed.

    Then I turned over and went to bed.

    See, I write jokes for a living, man. I sit in my hotel at night and think of something that’s funny and then I go get a pen and write ‘em down. Or, if the pen’s too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of, ain’t funny.

    —Mitch Hedburg


    According to a pet favourite book of mine, “Wong” is the most common surname in the world, and David is common enough that David Wong is damn near unGoogleable.

    Of course, since the book came out, David Wong is a search term on Google. The top few entries all point at the book. But now, cunningly, all the other David Wongs of the world have anonymity…

    I take pains and care to try to be anonymous. Whenever I develop a new handle or username, I do a Google search first. Unique names are good if you want to be found; common names are good if you want to be anonymous. I almost always want to be anonymous, I never want to leave a trail.

    Confession time: once upon a time, I was eighteen.

    This doesn’t mean very much, since most people have had a similar experience. What you need to understand is that the internet was getting to grips with the rest of the world, and I used to be a hormonal young man.

    I mean, I still am, I just used to be too.

    I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too!

    —Mitch Hedburg

    What this means is that whenever my friends and I somehow met a cute girl, we’d figure out her name and Google her, wanting to know more. Often times we’d get her blog, and that was the end of it. We never got around to asking her out. We were geeks! How archetypal is it for a geek to go the long way round of doing research instead of walking up to the girl and saying, hello, want a coffee?

    It wasn’t about stalking, really, it was more living vicariously through people’s blogs and thoughts, getting to know them without any social contact necessary. I can’t speak for my mates, who were probably looking for bikini photos, but for me, it was like having a friend without needing to actually make one.

    This should make me blush in embarrassment, but it doesn’t; it’s just the way I was. And I wish I could say I’ve put it behind me, but…

    We honed the Google-fu skills between ourselves. We got good enough and knew how to find nearly anyone online. And then, I realised, this wasn’t about not-meeting girls after all; it was just about people. Whenever I met someone new, the second thing I did was Google them. It impressed people, a little, when I could talk to them about something they had done that had ended up in the news, or discuss something similar to what they do.

    And that’s why I am not David Wong (not my real name). Because David Wong is, unfortunately, Googleable. Eloquentinbed can be googled, but it’s very different from my email. I’ve done my best to keep personal stuff off this blog. I don’t want a face. I don’t want to be Googled. What information out about David Wongs is muddied by the other David Wongs out there…but fingers crossed.

    I went to a talk by IBM in which they boasted about how they could harness the immense power of their computing giant and cross-reference Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles with customer databases. All public data just out there; they just had better tools who took a lot less time. And being able to be detected, identified and cross-referenced like that? That scares me.

    The dystopian future is real. IBM is BIg Brother, and he is watching. Facebook won’t even allow ‘false names’ any more, and Google+ is linked to your Gmail.

    It’ll be a good few years before anyone figures out what to do with all this data, and how they can use it to their nefarious means. IBM is already doing it, but imperfectly, I sense. If my relationship status on Facebook changes, do I want a barrage of Whiskey ads and Dating Websites? Google Mail Ads already do that, based on keywords found in your emails and your Search History (Go turn it off, please!) In fact, I’ve been seeing nothing but dating ads on Facebook, possibly because my private status has been Single since I last changed it. Or possibly because I connected my Tinder account.

    It’s just…well, I promised myself, if I had a daughter, I’d teach her internet counter-espionage early. Delist your blogs from friends’, obfuscate your email, name it mylittlepony365.blogspot.com or something.

    It’s truly unsettling to have your whole life history, inner thoughts, past experiences collated in the palm of somebody’s hand. It reduces the human experience of meeting me, getting to know me, hearing all my stories and embellishments to a rapid report on Google. And this might be karma for cyber-researching all the girls earlier on in my life, but y’know. I disconnected my desktop webcam and have a post-it over my laptop webcams.

    “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

    — You.

  7. 18:02

    Notes: 1


    one of the new improv classers is really hot.

  8. Comedians + X

    Why do so many comedians become talk-show hosts?

    Short answer:

    • Already personable
    • ;A joke is the shortest distance between two human beings’
    • Does not know anything in extreme depth, but, knows a little about everything in sufficiency for a basic conversation
    • Not all talk-show hosts are comedians, and different things work.

    But really, I got the answer listening to StarTalk Radio. For doubters and deniers, just try it once, and I promise you it’s worth listening: there are comedians in.


    Basically, it’s two comedians, two neuroscientists, BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY, and Neil deGrasse Tyson & Cohost doing their shtick. What you actually get is about 40% science talk, 40% anecdotal discussion, and 20% quips, gags, jokes and one-liners.

    The 20% ties it all together.

    N. dG. to the T is an entertaining guy, but it struck me, listening to the panel discussion, that it’s really the comics, chiming in here and there, that tie everything together. You’re right; maybe I just want to listen to some comedy.

    It’s not that the material is dry or boring — neuroscience never is — it’s simply that there is a small tendency for the scientists half of the panel to go off on one and completely unload information and knowledge. The comedians step in here and there, to let it breathe, to point out a funny situation, or even to do a short bit of their own.

    Maybe it’s the sugar-and-medicine approach. A spoonful of witty humour for the medicine of incredibly complex science. But I think I’d feel a lot less inclined to listen to a bunch of neuroscientists trade notes and discuss information if there weren’t the two comics coming in with comic relief once in a while.

    And they do. They gently rib Mayim Bialik when she sounds a little too arrogant, and make Tyson laugh and relax him. It’s a convivial atmosphere, and everything is smooth and cool and the conversation flows better than if cheese and alcohol were served…maybe. We’ll have to ask Bialik that.

    But that’s the winning formula, right there: Comedians + X.

    (c.f. John Oliver, and Jon Stewart before him).

  9. 23:41 24th Jul 2014

    Notes: 47

    Reblogged from alan-davies


    QI and their stars

  10. 23:41

    Notes: 1

    Reblogged from momentsinreading

    This Is My Kind Of Pun


    “I saw Michael J Fox at the garden centre the other day. It was hard to tell though, because he had his back to the fuchsias.” –The QI Elves