The Internet is rising up in protest on February 11th

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Summary of Improv Goals 000

Soon after I started Level Two classes at the Roving Imp Training Center, John recommended that the students keep individual journals for their improv goals. While I have been in classes for nearly a year, I have not acted on this advice until recently through this blog. I must also note that counting in binary begins with zero, and because I personally know them I am referring to some people by their first names, which is something that is otherwise frowned upon in formal writing. For my purposes, and to mix metaphors, I suppose this writing is semi-formal.

Starting in January, I moved to the Level Two classes on Saturday. Keith Curtis has begun to teach those classes. Last Saturday, March 6, we began exercises in developing characters on stage. Keith re-enforced that when starting a scene, one should use a different voice, physicality, or emotion than one would normally as oneself to create a different character. My goal was to work more with physicality.

Giving a hug-worthy performance, I may have succeeded with my goal from Level Two class on Saturday in Level One class on Sunday, March 7. Beginning the class, Nifer Honeycutt declared, "March is character month here at the Roving Imp Training Center."

Nifer guided us in an exercise called "Profession-Location Circle", where the person to the right of a person in the circle would supply a profession and the person to the right of that person would supply a location. We each then gave a line of dialogue as a person with that profession in that location. While gripping the handle of an improv shopping cart, I feel that one of my best lines was as a senator at the grocery store, "What do you mean, '12 items or less?' It's all cheese."

For another exercise, Nifer had written an adjective (generally an emotion) and a profession on separate strips of paper, as our suggestions to initiate the scene. We each drew two strips at random, the person across the stage in another line responded, and we all guessed the adjective and profession after the scene was complete. Fifth to participate in this exercise, I drew the adjective "manly" and the profession "Ghost Buster" as the suggestion for my scene with David.

In assuming this character, I used what John has described as "face-melting energy," enthusiasm, a gruff, almost growly, wrestler-type voice, and wrestler-type stance. While the exact words and order of those words are lost to the ether, I approached David's character and asked, "Are you ready to get slimed?!" I meant to use the phrase "proton pack" somewhere.

Although saying aloud, I cannot remember what I learned in my rehearsal with Project Improv on Sunday, February 28; however, on Sunday, March 7, I learned that I needed to have more confidence in myself and the scene. At the time, I was suffering from a general tiredness as well as drowsiness caused by taking Benadryl. The second half of rehearsal was dedicated to running the long-form, which we will be performing at the Fishtank as part of Kansas City Crossroads Comedy on Saturday, March 20.

Anyway, "Remember, don't cross streams, like your girlfriend!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What is it with you and cars?

Recently I have been asked twice, in as many months and by as many friends, "What is it with you and cars?"

In the spirit of James T. Kirk from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, "I have always liked cars, and I always will." While on the subject of cars and Star Trek, two Pontiac Fieros are in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and I remain unsure of what year the second-generation Chevrolet Corvette is in Star Trek (2009).

Saying that I like cars without qualifying my degree of enthusiasm or fanaticism about automobiles is like making some other comparative analogy. I lack the mechanical inclination to be a true, pure "gear-head",
"motor-head", or "petrol-head". By lacking mechanical inclination, I mean to say that, perhaps to my detriment, neither am I willing to get dirty, nor to risk breaking things, nor to hurt myself, nor to risk making myself feel stupid, nor to "look the fool" in order to actually work on a car.

Arrogantly I suppose that I am too proud, too lazy, and too much of a nerd to be a true, pure car fan, the kind who changes his or her own engine oil or belts, or installs performance-enhancing equipment like cold-air intake, exhaust and blower kits.

I have to a little chauvinistic, and also say I am not a true car guy, because I cannot operate a manual transmission. The only time I operated a manual transmission was in high school in the driver education class; I killed the simulator repeatedly.

I also wish I knew as much how things mesh in a powertrain and drivetrain today as when I wrote an essay called "How to Start a Car" in tenth grade.

Among my friends at the Super Bowl® party, I was the one most excited for the Dodge Charger commercial and the Kia Sorento commercial, although I am not sure that anyone there was excited for any commercials. Of course the fact that I knew about either commercial is because I daily read Autoblog, a habit dating back to 2006. I am also strange to share the same amount of enthusiasm for either model of car.

In saying all this, I still have not answered the fundamental question, so I will repeat that I do not know for how long I have liked cars, but the condition appears to be chronic.

Back in my day, TV shows often had a car for the star of show, although disputed in the case of The Dukes of Hazard. Like many children born since 1960, I have watched plenty of TV. Among the shows that I watched as a child, The A-Team featured a full-size GMC van,
B.J. and the Bear featured a Kenworth, The Dukes of Hazard featured a modified, orange 1969 Dodge Charger, El coche fantástico (Knight Rider) featured a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am coupe (K.I.T.T.), The Fall Guy featured a GMC pickup truck, Magnum, P.I. featured a Ferrari 308 GTS coupe, and Simon & Simon featured a red 1982 Chevy Camaro coupe and a Dodge Ram pickup truck. Apparently for most of those shows, Glen A. Larson was a producer. Glen A. Larson or any of those shows may be subjects of future posts.

Of course in mentioning TV and cars, I would do a great disservice to myself and everyone around me, if I failed to mention The Transformers, of which the protagonists, the Autobots assume the forms of cars, alternate to their robotic forms. The Transformers and their many incarnations
may be subjects of future posts.

I remain unsure that I have answered the initial question, like your girlfriend.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Accomplishment and/or Victory

February has been a banner month as well. Can you not hear the trumpet flourishes? Anyway I will summarize my February in another post. Two other goals, on which I had been working for two or more years, have come to fruition in a tangible form.

I had mentioned in my initial post that I had attended ITT Technical Institute and recently completed course work for an Associate's degree. Well, yesterday, Tuesday, February 23, my degree arrived via FedEx.

In April, 2007, I agreed to a debt management plan with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Atlanta, and received a check for my account balance on February 10, which means that all of that debt is paid in full!

Unlike the last three years, I appear to be able to enter the month of March without applying for a signature loan. Between the payments which I would have been making on the debt management and/or the signature loan, I am ahead by $100 a month, like your girlfriend!

Botch-fest 002

My previous post, about the opera that I recently saw at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, is displaying the first paragraph in a large heading text. I do not know what version of HTML is used, nor do I know HTML all that well.

Since I cannot fix the text, this situation irritates me enough to complain about it. That is all.

I have since isolated the code which was causing the problem, like your girlfriend.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Botch-fest 001

Today started with some
technical difficulties”. I suppose five hours of sleep sometimes has a price, but I really like Read Out Loud night at the Roving Imp Coffee House.

I warmed Hot Pockets in the microwave oven this morning, but I left home before the cooling time finished, so I had to buy something from the vending machines at work.

I also realize that scraping ice of car windows is part of the winter. I just hate scraping this thin ice, which is just barely there, but has too much substance to
just be brushed away.

I suppose that I could have turned around and gone back for my Hot Pockets, but I just did not have the time, so I called home soon after I arrived at work, telling my mother that my sister could have the
Meatballs and Mozzarella pocket.

I am also sure that worse breakfasts than a
and GRANDMA'S® Homestyle Chocolate Chip Big Cookie exist. I am also glad that I used a five-dollar bill to buy some bottled water last night, otherwise I would not have enough one-dollar bills this morning; that's a silver lining, like your girlfriend.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Opera, not just for browsing anymore

Last Friday, February 19, I traveled with David Rushing to see Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" at the Robert Baustian Theatre, Murphy Hall, on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. I had previously been to Lawrence, one other time for pleasure, and many times to help at the JCCC Lawrence location (Lawrence Centennial School), but I had never been to the University of Kansas, fortunately David had. He and I are friends with the stage manager, and went to see the production to support our friend.

Neither David nor I had ever seen an opera before. Fortunately the opera was in English, and the lighting, the vocal performances, the stage and the costume designs helped to communicate the wonderful story. All of the actors performed very well. Unfortunately the beautifully-layered polyphony of voices in some scenes sometimes became a cacophony with the accompaniment; however I agree with David's assertion:

This was a cultural experience for me. If I had to base my concept of an opera off of the show I saw tonight, I wouldn't mind seeing an opera again.

Saturday morning I experienced a half hour of difficulty connecting to Facebook in Mozilla Firefox, so I tried Apple Safari, and finally Opera. Linking to each of those Facebook pages reminds me of linking to areas only available on America Online, back in the day. For the record I should also say that I was using Microsoft Windows XP, for which Apple does make a Safari browser. Anyway, once I had sorted out that problem, I was not able to tag the fan pages of any of those products in Opera, so I switched back to Safari. That post strangely disappeared once I next updated my status, and never showed in my mobile browser, hm, like your girlfriend.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just close my eyes I can hear easy-listening music

I am still adapting to working weekday mornings. Starting in a work/study position on September 8, 1998, and later in a part-time, regular position on May 24, 1999, I have been at Johnson County Community College for eleven years. In that time I have worked every shift. As work/study I worked in the mornings, I worked afternoons until 2004, and I returned to afternoons in September, 2006.

Working two part-time jobs made 2006, well, an interesting year.

In late March, 2006, for ten days I tried a newspaper route, which was a colossal failure. For seven days I was shown the route, working with a trainer, and day seven was Sunday. I would be an independent contractor, and paid for each paper delivered. The route was 21 miles long and consisted of 300 papers. I had not been able to study the routes during the daylight hours, because I worked in the morning and needed to sleep in the afternoon. I also had the fear of voiding the extended warranty on my car by driving for commercial purposes. My car was being repaired during this time-frame, and I had said that would be using my father's truck for the deliveries.
On Monday and Tuesday, I arrived in my car, I worked with the supervisor, and each day I was left feeling even worse about myself than I already was feeling because the my severe depression at the time. On Wednesday I was on my own, the newspapers were delivered late to the distribution site. I had decided to bring the papers home to roll them. I enlisted my mother's help, but I only had half the papers completed by 3:30 a.m. I ended up leaving the rest of the papers with one of the staff drivers, and I quit.

From May to early July, 2006, my second attempt at working two part-time jobs was at a call-center, conducting telephone surveys. I worked from 3:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. Needless to say this job did little to improve my self-worth, but I did make $2300.

I have never been more tired in the morning than when I was working the paper route, although working mornings now is a close second, after arriving home after midnight two or three nights per week. Just close my eyes I can hear easy-listening music from the 1970s, so I just drank my other can of soda for the caffeine.

I am generally pretty good about taking verbal notes to improve my performance in improv, and although sometimes I forget those notes, I have been told that I am making progress

Very sensitive to criticism otherwise, I received two tips from my manager today. I was a little hurt, but I am assuming a positive attitude, and will view them as ways to improve, like your girlfriend.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I have accomplished a goal!

In thinking about my next blog entry, last night I realized that I have accomplished a goal!

Yeah, I set aside money from my tax refund with the purpose of having the timing chain and serpentine belt replaced on my car at McCarthy Chevrolet!

This is, sure, a small goal, but I accomplished a goal. The rental process was a little more of a pleasure, this time without first having severe body damage done to my car.

In March, 2006, my sister Kim and I were leaving Johnson County Community College through the second level of the Parking Garage at Galileo's Garden and struck a cylindrical barrier, doing $3000 worth of damage to the right side of the car. While my car was in the Collision Center at Superior Chevrolet, I drove my father's 1989 F-150 for a week and a half, and fueling the vehicle became expensive. When the repair was further delayed, Superior Chevrolet kindly paid for a rental car, a white, 2006 Kia Spectra sedan.

In July, 2008, my car was parked and someone took off the front bumper. The other party's insurance paid for rental car, a white, 2007 Chevy Cobalt sedan, and the repairs at Superior Chevrolet.

I less recently completed another Associate degree in Information Technology at ITT Technical Institute in November, 2009, and I have not yet officially received the degree.

I have some other goals, which I may complete someday, and I will take a sense of accomplishment whenever I can, like your girlfriend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Typical Wednesday

Today has been a typical Wednesday. As I compose this entry I am waiting for a first-run episode of Leverage to start on Turner Network Television (TNT). I updated my status to reflect this fact.

I enjoy many of the sites in the Lolz Network, including Look-Alikes, and I have to agree with Sarah Silverman's statement, which is linked through the image below.

Not to harp on this but seriously: Kid on back of golden grah... on Twitpic

In the mail today I received promotional literature for McCarthy Chevrolet about their service specials, including related coupons. I already had an appointment with another dealership to replace the timing chain on my car, but a difference of a half an hour and 300 fewer dollars swayed me to schedule my service with McCarthy.

Today I also received my refund for my state income tax. Sweet!

Lastly, the women of Olive Juice love him, like your girlfriend.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl® Sunday, 2010

Before I am to far ahead of myself, I have to say that the Super Bowl party at the Roving Imp Theater was awe-some. Please notice the intentional pause in AWE-SOME.

Except for a comment on post on a friend's wall, I have failed to mention how awe-some the party was on any electronic forum. Where shall I start?

I will begin with the food, of which was plentiful. Denise's homemade guc dip and vegetables, as well as the cookie cake and soda pop John provided. Why am I itemizing when I do not even do that for my taxes? Anyway, we had a layered dip, three kinds of tortila chips, salsa, hummus, and three kinds of crackers. If I failed to list anything present at the party, I probably failed to sample it.

John wisely chose to not start the party until 5:30 p.m., although the official broadcast always starts at 5:00 p.m., but I for one welcomed foregoing the player introductions for teams which I had not watched all season anyway.

We were also fortunate to have at least one person in the audience who actually could follow the game. I really wanted to watch the commercials, which were awe-some. Of course I was most interested in the ads that were car-some: the Dodge Charger, and the Kia Sorento.

Abe Vigoda is still alive?

Good game, good friends, good food, and good times, like your girlfriend.

Perfect timing

I am more likely to say, "So much for that plan," than I am to say, "I love it when a plan comes together." Every once in a while, I have a convergence pattern, when things happen at the same time to my benefit.

I have known for a while that my Chevy Cavalier would require a replacement of the timing chain at or around 85,000 miles. Within 250 miles now I am less anxious about needing this repair than I was at 75,000 miles, when the extended warranty I purchased through the dealer expired. With the extended warranty, I was only required to pay a deductible of $100. I only required two repairs under that warranty: a water pump and the tensioner for the serpentine belt.

Of course, the anxiety I felt was over the possibility of an emergency repair I could not afford. Reports are mixed about the Cavalier; for some, it is reliable, and for others unreliable. The main problem about which I read was the failure of the fuel pump, worse was the failure of the fuel pump at highway speed, which was the failure I experienced this year at 11:38 p.m. on Friday, January 8.

Only a few factors mitigated this failure from being a catastrophic failure. I was driving in the far right lane (considering K-32 highway has only two lanes going in each direction, how far right the lane is, remains debatable), traffic was light, and I was able to retain control while coasting to a stop.

This type of catastrophic failure was the basis for an investigation the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) began June 28, 2007, expanded November 1, 2007, and closed October 28, 2008. The N.H.T.S.A. concluded that the probably of failure was not high enough to dedicate further resources on a recall.

With my mother's financial help, my father brought a new fuel pump assembly fro $263, as the fuel pump was only sold as part of a fuel pump assembly. My father and I replaced the fuel pump on Sunday, January 10. The process took six to seven hours, saving us at least $500 in labor costs.

So why I am less anxious about the timing chain? Well, right now I actually have the money to pay for parts and labor, approximately $1200, since I just received my tax refund with the help of H&R Block. I also know about problems with the timing chain, both first-hand and anecdotal.

In 2000, I was driving a brown and beige, 1984 Buick Skyhawk sedan. Driving home one evening passing Oak Park Mall on Quivira Road, the engine started running rough. I stopped into one of the parking lots, and looked and listened. My father later concluded that the timing chain needed replacement; then he was not quite 50, and took off two days to do the work himself.

A coworker had a bright red 1992 Chevy Lumina sedan with the 3.4-liter V6 with the dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) . The car had been idling rough for a while, and the timing belt finally broke at 91,000 miles. The car was scrap, which I can say with confidence, as my father and I actually hauled the car to the scrapyard.

Presently my car is running smoothly and after more than $12,000 spent on repairs and payments on an auto loan, I am not going to let that happen to my car. I cannot afford $4000 to replace an engine. I am so glad that for once I have the money for this repair right when the repair is required
, like your girlfriend.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekday mornings

Again being self-referential, in previous post to my blog, I mentioned how everything changed for me in January, 2010. One of these changes involved my trading shifts with a coworker, he now works on Saturday and afternoons on Monday through Thursday, and I work mornings on Monday through Friday. I truly like having off a contiguous weekend of Saturday and Sunday.

I have now been working weekday mornings for three weeks, and regardless I am still going through a time of adjustment. For many years, most recently since September, 2006, I had no need to report to work any earlier than noon, thus I was able to sleep until at least 10:00 a.m., giving me enough time to watch something on TV and eat a fairly leisure breakfast/lunch. I was also able to remain awake as late as 3:00 a.m. the previous night, if I so chose.

At least two nights a week, I had attended classes at ITT Technical Institute until mid-November, 2009. Depending on the rehearsal and show schedules, I could usually be found at the Roving Imp Theater in Bonner Springs, Kansas, at least two days a week: Monday for my workshop and Saturday night for the shows.

Before my scheduled working hours were briefly reduced, I worked thirty hours a week over six days. My department was merged with Information Services on Monday, May 12, 2008, and I.S. suspends service and support on Sundays in the summer semester, so my sixth work day would rotate from Sunday to Friday. My Sundays were open for something besides coverage of NASCAR.

This last summer, a new improv class for beginners was started on Sundays at the Roving Imp Theater. From early July to late August, 2009, I was able to attend class, then my schedule changed back from summer hours, but two weeks later my hours were briefly reduced, so I was again able to resume class on Sundays.

Later in September, a few days before I began recording and posting my average fuel consumption, I took a technical workshop at the Roving Imp Theater, where I learned to run the lights, recording devices, and audio for the shows. Rehearsals for non-class shows are generally on Thursdays, and after the technical workshop in September, I would go the Roving Imp Theater just to hang out, after the show rehearsals ended at 10:00 p.m. until about 1:00 a.m. , a habit which was not a problem because I was off work on the following Fridays.

Because this post is not titled, "Botch-fest," I am not complaining that further adjustment has obviously been required for how late at night I can remain out; this situation is further complicated by the opening of the Roving Imp Coffee House and my desire to be part of the fun activities. Either for workshops and shows at the Roving Imp Theater and or activities at the Roving Imp Coffee House I now find myself in Bonner Springs, Kansas, on five or more days a week.

Independent of how many hours of sleep I have the previous night, I still have periods of intense drowsiness on weekday mornings, and to counter this I drink soda containing caffeine. At first I drank twenty-ounce bottles of soda, once a day, but purchasing these from the campus vending machines at $1.35 each becomes expensive, especially when I do not have the finances during this lean time of the year. I devised the plan of buying a twelve pack and taking two cans a day with me after borrowing the idea from a coworker. I drink one can when I arrive at work, and one can with my lunch.

In summary, I have no need to curtail my weeknight activities, because I cope with periods of drowsiness on weekday mornings, despite getting more sleep on some nights and consuming caffeine, like your girlfriend.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Day

IT'S GROUNDHOG DAY! Sonny & Cher, "I Got You Babe," plays...

I saw Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott, at a cinema in 1993, I recorded the film from TV onto VHS, and my family has bought the DVD.

On a side-note, I actually saw Timecop, starring
Jean-Claude Van Damme, in a theater on Sunday, October 9, 1994, the day to which Van Damme's character returns in the film!

On another side-note, in finding
Groundhog Day on The Internet Movie Database, I wanted to type as little as possible, so I actually searched for Garfield, the film from 2004, and chose the Bill Murray.

Groundhog Day features a device known in science fiction as a time loop, and the Wikipedia page, which I just referenced, actually contains links to all the episodes and TV series to which I was going to refer; this makes for a shorter blog entry than I had originally thought, but regardless I will briefly cite some of them, those I have seen.
Set scene of people who were caught in time loop
Tavern of the time loop | BB [pixiv]

Although not referenced on the page, an episode of Disney's Aladdin: The Animated Series, "The Sands of Fate," Aladdin and friends become trapped in a causality loop when a magical artifact is broken as the Riders of Ramont, while escorting a caravan, engage some bandits. The loop is not ended until the orb is saved.

The 2009 rebroadcast of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on Japanese TV included fourteen new episodes. I watched the second new episode, while available on YouTube (in Japanese without subtitles), in the story arc of "Endless Eight" on the KADOKAWA Anime Channel. In this case the temporal loop continues because Haruhi does not want the summer to end, but ultimately the SOS Brigade meets and does their vacation homework.

Originally airing on Showtime, Stargate SG-1 locally aired in syndication on WDAF-TV Channel 4 on Sundays at 12:35 a.m., when I saw "Window of Opportunity," in which O'Neill and Teal'c are caught in a time loop.

My point in saying all this is that I would not mind if this day repeated, because the wife of my manager, Linda, has spoiled the Help Desk staff withchicken tortilla soup, with corn muffins and chocolate chip cookie bars. Drinks were provided, like your girlfriend.