Why Taking Richard Kline’s Comedy Class was the Best Thing I’ve Done

My wife Anne and I just finished a four, Saturday comedy course with Richard Kline. The class study was about reading and reacting to both comedy scripts and comic setups. Basically an effort to learn to emote in a comic way using timing and emphasis on comic phrasing.

RichardKline_1840I have no goals or aspirations of being a comic actor but the experience was so fulfilling and interestingly enough, an incredibly valuable tool for many aspects of my working and social life. Who doesn’t want to be more interesting in the way they speak – as opposed to monotone. A lot of the study was about emphasizing certain words that could transform a seemingly mundane sentence into a funny one.

Just the performance aspect of learning short scripts and performing them was helpful for anyone who is shy in social situations or business meetings. And learning the comic ‘setup’, is helpful for any kind of writing by enabling a wider range for sentence structure and articulation.

Another fun side-effect of this course is that now, when I watch my favorite sitcoms, I see how hard it is. I used to see my favorite actors at face value, just as funny people in real life. Now, I can kind of dissect what the actors are going for and truly appreciate the nuance and the writing – good or bad.

I highly recommend this course with Richard, or something similar in your locale.

Tech Support – Should they Really be Called Techs?

Should ‘Techs’ at tech support really be called techs? How many of you after calling tech support with the question, “I’m having trouble with my [fill in the blank here __________ ]”, actually gotten a satisfied answer?  Ok, I’ll be gracious, maybe 10% of the time?

What we now calls ‘techs’  are really what we used to call ‘slackers’.  A bunch of newly employed kids at tech companies, probably making  minimum wage, with about 1 day of training, answering phones.  If you watch the movie Clerks, the character Randall is a good example of a ‘slacker’.

Our world has become so technologically complex.  We have people, the smart people, the engineers and coders who are just out of Stanford or MIT or Harvard.  They are hired to bang out code for whatever complex piece of software or weird new fancy device or something. These people are insulated by this society of what we call ‘techs’.  I’m sure in that 1 day of orientation before they are put on the phones, techs are instructed to never elevate a support ticket to a more ‘qualified’ tech. Ever.

Because of this structure, it becomes a full time job for someone with a buggy device or piece of software to ever be able to solve any problems.

Our Environment

Thanks greenbristolblog

I can’t believe that there is such a  big debate on global warming.

I was watching one of the last Bill Maher shows this season (Episode 190) where he had as guests, the wife of Carl Sagan and Seth MacFarlane.  Seth MacFarlane made the point that even if there is only a small chance that we (all people) are creating global warming,  that the problem should be addressed.  The conservative guest that night, Amy Holmes mentioned that the expense of changing to a cleaner energy source would be too expensive for us to bear with the government deficit.

First of all, I don’t think you have to be Carl Sagan to realize that sucking every bit of oil out from under the Earth and burning it on top of the Earth is bad for the environment. Let alone coal, gas and whatnot.  (Plus, I wonder what the side effects of removing all of the viscosity from the Earth by removing all of the oil? Are we going to have serious tectonic problems from this?)

Secondly, When Barack Obama was running for president he wasn’t talking about government paying for clean energy, he was talking about helping create an industry in this country at which we could have been on the forefront maybe better than our film or auto industry.  But Americans love having the Chinese make everything for us.  Now they are producing probably all of the solar panels.

If every home in the South and South West had solar panels on their roofs they could power not only their houses but their cars. That is like a third of the country.

The only environmental upside I can see is that oil is going be pretty much gone in the next 20 years or so.  Whatever little is left will be too expensive to suck out of the ground.  If by that time, rising tides don’t cause the displacement of millions who in turn will have be developed into areas where they then have to cut down more trees to accommodate them there by accelerating warming more… we’ll be in pretty good shape.

The Supermarket

At the supermarket today, I observed a new weird quirk with the shoppers that was pervasive and I figured that this must be a symptom of the bad economy.  Now, I’ve always had run-ins with shoppers parked in the middle of the aisles studying the ingredients of some product as if they were working on their PHD on Skippy peanut butter additives, but this is different. Almost on every aisle I landed on, there were people taking items off the shelves, tenderly holding them, squeezing them gently (not just the fruit – everything), gazing longingly at the product and then restocking them back on the shelf.  There was no label reading involved.  Very sad.