Friday, May 30, 2008

No Perfect Pitch

Here's a link to Mariah Carey "tossing" out the first pitch as a baseball game.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Close One

On the way home from work a piece of sheet metal flew up on the highway and hit my husband's car. It skidded across his hood and he could see it flying at him so he ducked his head down as far as he could get. It did not hit the windshield. He managed to stay in his lane while he was ducking. The grille is broken and the hood is all scratched and dented. We just dropped full coverage on this car 2 months ago.

Glad I started praying again today.

Talent Like It Is

(This was going to be a comment in response to Sue and Nick's comments on Stand Up and Fall Down But it was getting long so I'll make a new post.)

Sue said, "I think being a stand up comedian is one of the scariest occupations in the world -- takes far more courage than just about anything else I can think of."

And Nick said, "Yeah . . . it's probably pretty close to having to give a speech to 500 people.

Or standing up with your guitar and a microphone . . . I've done it a million times but it never gets any easier. And you NEVER want anyone to be laughing . . ."


I think comedians do it because they have to. They've always been smart-alecs. Just like singers have to sing because of their voice and drummers have to drum because they bang on stuff.

It would be terror at first but then a rush.

Eke-ing out a living might be tough but you could do it with a room mate or a working spouse. (You might save money on childcare, working nights.) I know I made enough off karaoke in 1992 that I could've paid rent. But I lived at home and hence the book collection.

I think some of the same rules might apply for comedy as for karaoke. Your confidence comes from having practiced at home and being sure everything you're going to present is good. Never experiment onstage, go be weak somewhere else.

Be careful with your persona. A couple times, I warmed up on a country song. When I turned out to be rock and roll, I'd get disappointed people coming up to me... But do my thing and throw the country song in later, and impressed people come up and say Wow, you also do country?

Be ethical. Don't sing your competition's signature songs. (I did have the thought well, what if I sang a different song by that artist and upstaged them that way? Didn't feel right. Never did it.) I guess this would translate to don't steal jokes, which I doubt anyone good would do.

Hmm. Well this was kind of a joke but it's kind of intriguing.

I work on one real project and one fun project. Real projects are: raise our credit rating, purge books, develop a better grocery budget. Fun projects are: start a blog, join a band for six months and play out at least once. I was with my band for 2 years, learned bass, wrote songs and played out a few dozen times. (We only got laughs from the pool players. Emos were empathetic.)

Another fun project would be to try out for Jeopardy. But I've been thinking about that for a while and never took any steps other than to read Brainiac, and that was kind of discouraging.

Right now, our project is chemistry. But let me start thinking about open mic night. ; )

Mashup I am not going to make: "Tell It Like It Is" and "Oh, Darling"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Like Metal and Water

Trying to help my son stay fired up about the chemistry contest next month. You might enjoy this video:

Stand Up and Fall Down

At the lunch table, my friend mentioned she watched the premiere of "Last Comic Standing". She said, rhetorically, "Did you ever want to do stand up comedy?"

I said, "Sure, that's my next project." : )

And no one laughed.

That's a really bad sign.
Or maybe it's a really good sign!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Just noticed a paradox that was tripping me up.

Books and articles about writing always say "Don't use the passive tense"! Use action verbs!

Action! Do things! It's all about Getting Things Done and if you aren't GTD then you aren't GTD'ing enough! And so you beat your nose against the grindstone and suck it up and try harder and throw hours at it, HOO-rah.

But this is wrong. I'm not talking about the work-life balance or anything right now. I am talking about this whole approach is totally wrong. I am skilled but limited. How can I do more than I can do? The truth is the opposite of action. I can make you tools and design you processes and I should use words no more active than "Make it so" and actions no more creative than "review".

(Sorry. There's probably a book I should read somewhere, instead of just requiring life to repeatedly bonk me on the head to teach me things : )

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Off With Her Day!

~Hello!~ : )

I had the day off work today for my son's field trip to see a Mud Hens baseball game.

I got to break out the DVD player in the car and all the boys watched part of Ratatouille on the way.

It was wonderful. The weather was beautiful and the game was very exciting. It was nice to sit behind a couple of people who know a lot about baseball. I learned a lot and it made the game that much better. The boys wanted to roam around a little bit but we kept them in sight. One of the boys got a Chicago hot dog that had tomatoes, peppers and pickle slices on it. It looked interesting. I'll have to try that someday... Not! : )

Funniest thing I saw "today": Driving home, I saw what must be described as a "Monster" car. I'm sure it took a lot of work and money, but I just could not stop giggling.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

States of Matter

We've been studying the Periodic Table of the Elements. So far we've learned Nebraska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, South Carolina, Minnesota, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, Montana, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

It's not so hard.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Woolean Boolean

When you're looking for things that are neither "this" nor "that", filter for things that are not "this" AND not "that".

But that's neither here nor there.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Wooly Bully" and "Sunshine Superman"

Monday, May 12, 2008

Iron Mom

Me and the boys took my mom to see Iron Man for Mother's Day. It's a new Mother's Day classic! : )

I just want to say, there are not that many Audi's in real life. Clearly those cars were free. (Call me, we'll make a deal.)

It was raining this year... Last year, we went to the Zoo because women get in free. Several had mustaches.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Iron Man" and "Cat's in the Cradle"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Good at Math

The other night I took my 11 year-old to the pet store. Once you've got hamsters, you have to accessorize with tubes.

My son told me, "Mom, you know I'm really good at math. Addition, subtraction, multiplication. Division if I have paper and pencil. I don't like fractions but I can do decimals. Let me help you with your work. I can help you."

I told him "Honey, thank you so much. But I don't feel like working tonight. Could you set up the DVD player so I can watch my movie?" He said sure, he'd even watch it with me. It was boring and we both fell asleep. : )

Mashup I am not going to make: "Connection" and "No Rain"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tree-Lined Sky

Driving home from work last night, Spring hit me with how nice it is around here. You can't look in any direction without seeing trees. (My kids point out this is not true for straight up and straight down. But I point out this could still be true if you were standing in a tree.) Even the gas station on the corner has an apple tree. Not sure they're safe to eat though.

Mashup I am not going to make: "Smoke on the Water" and "Funky Town"

Superpower of Marginal Utility: (Contributed by Z) Being able to tell what's being written by listening to the pencil movements.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Oh, There Goes a Rabbit

We went on a road trip Saturday. We went to Detroit to shop for R/C propellors.

Driving on 8 Mile Road is like a game show. 7 out of 10 cars go way too fast, while 3 out of 10 go way too slow and are placed randomly. The popular strategy is to switch lanes often, in case you get lucky. Red lights are like the wheel on Wheel of Fortune. You think it's stopped, but Oh! There goes another one. Oh! There goes another one.

On the way home we saw a Hummer Limo. Is this better or worse than a regular limo? General consensus: Worse. If you're going to get crazy, get crazy. I want to see a stretch VW. But there are probably a lot of amenities in the Hummer. My husband's thought: a voice-activated bar. When it can't understand what you want, you're done.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

We Take Your Picture, Not Your Soul

When I was a kid, we used to drive the highway to this big fancy grocery store. Once in a while we'd check out the rest of the plaza, which contained an Olan Mills portrait studio. We'd look at the pictures in the window.

Okay, pretend you're ten and put this all together:

You saw a news story about puppy mills.

Your cereal is made by General Mills.

What's an Olan?

Oleo is fake butter that tastes like plastic.

The portraits have some weird sheen on them like fake brush strokes.

You heard that certain religions won't let their pictures be taken.

You saw the movie Soylent Green on TV.

You go to a funeral where an Olan Mills portrait is prominently displayed.

Glad to get this one sorted out! : )

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tricks Are For Ids

Finally, sweet, sweet Friday! What a week of working lots of extra stressful hours. I knew I'd have a monster day so I threw all these tricks at it:

1. Dressed comfortably in bright colors.
2. Ate breakfast.
3. Took my vitamins plus extra magnesium.
4. Wore lipstick AND earrings.
5. Made my son take the bus to school so I could go in early.
6. Closed my office door when I really needed to hurry.
7. Went to lunch early off-site someplace I hadn't been for a long time.
8. Listened to rock and roll instead of NPR.
9. (Forgot one.) Put a picture of my family on my "desktop". What a lovely surprise between tasks! : )

Sorry if this is boring for you, but I may need this list later! It must have worked, I'm through the day.

Stupid things to do: When you're a junior in high school, spend a week's worth of afterschool hours learning to sing "Alone" by Heart. Practice the high note even though it sets off some kind of resonance in your head that makes you pass out. Do this every day.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What to Do With Bad News

Mitigate it.

I like this quote from an interesting article:

"For example, one toxin handler at a transportation company was told by her boss: "Tell those idiots out there to get their act together and finish the job by Friday, or else they'll be sorry!" Her response was to pull her staff together and put the directive in a form that conveyed the task but not the sentiment. "The boss needs us to complete this task by Friday," she told them, "so let's put our heads together and see what we need to do to meet this deadline." By taking the sting out of the boss's message, the toxin handler helped everyone to focus on the challenge rather than seeing the directive as an attack on their capabilities."

I screwed up once, I passed along the news to my guitarist that the guy who arranged a benefit show we were in didn't even put us on the list to play and the sound guy was desperately trying to squeeze us in.

Two things: First, don't play in benefit shows unless you have a lot of time on your hands. They are organized by people who don't know what they are doing. And the band member who books your band should be the busiest most practical one not the most bored. Second, facts are not to be passed on all dramatic and juicy like gossip. There is no point. Waiting is waiting and the reason won't change a thing. Actually if my loved one was in surgery, I wouldn't want them to come out and tell me, "It will be just a little bit longer. We're trying to stop the bleeding."

One of my friends has a strategy. After talking about something, say it's no problem. Leave it up to the listener to decide if and how much of a problem it is. Not conveying anger at all, just gee, this is interesting...