27 Random Questions

From a MySpace bulletin, circa 2007. The author of the questions is unknown but all answers are by me.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
“WHERE DID I PUT MY LEFT EYE?” SOUND WEIRD BUT TO BE FAIR I WAS TOTALLY HIGH

2. How much cash do you have on you?
ALL OF IT

3. What’s a word that rhymes with “DOOR?”
“NATURES”

4. Favorite planet?
I WOULD SAY URANUS BUT IT’S TOO FILTHY SO I WILL GO WITH OMICRON 7 IN THE ANDROMEDA GALAXY. EVEN THOUGH IT’S GASEOUS, IT ROCKS!!!

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
CREDITORS

6. What is your favorite ring on your phone?
RING AROUND THE COLLAR HA HA HA I KILL ME. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX PEOPLES!

7. What shirt are you wearing?
WHAT IS THIS, PHONE SEX?

8. Do you “label” yourself?
YES I DO. CONSTANTLY. LOOK I’M DOING IT NOW

9. Name the brand of your shoes you’re currently wearing?
I WILL NAME IT JEREMY AND THANK YOU FOR ASKING! YOU ARE A TRUE FRIEND

10. Bright or Dark Room?
IT DEPENDS ON IF I AM DEVELOPING PHOTOS

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
I THINK ABOUT 145 POUNDS

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?
IT WAS NOT MIDNIGHT, IT WAS ABOUT 11:30 AND IT WAS NOTHING.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
SENDER UNKNOWN, REDO FROM START

15. Where is your nearest 7-11?
THE CORNER OF 7TH STREET AND 11TH AVENUE. I KNOW. WHO WOULDDA GUESS?!

16. What’s a word that you say a lot?
“I” BECAUSE I AM VERY IMPORTANT TO I. GET IT?

17.Who told you he/she loved you last?
HITLER LOVED ME LAST AND HE WAS VERY CLEAR ABOUT IT

18. Last furry thing you touched?
HA HA THIS ONE IS TOO PERSONAL TO ANSWER BUT I WILL GIVE YOU A HINT… IT HAD A PIT BUT WAS NOT A PEACH!!!!!

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?
JUST ONE WHEN YESTERDAY I INVENTED A MEDICATION TO LOWER BAD CHOLESTERAL BUT THE DAMN PATENT OFFICE REFUSED MY PATENT!!!! BASTARDS LOL

20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?
I WILL ANSWER THIS FOR EVERYONE SIMULTANEOUSLY: N WHERE N IS A NON-NEGATIVE INTEGER

21. Favorite age you have been so far?
ICE AGE WAS MY FAVOURITE BECAUSE THAT LITTLE SQUIRREL SO CUTE

22. Your worst enemy?
JEWS

23. What is your current desktop picture?
IT IS A PHOTO MY PREVIOUS DESKTOP. I KNOW, BLOWS THE MIND, EH?

24. What was the last thing you said to someone?
“IT IS A PHOTO MY PREVIOUS DESKTOP. I KNOW, BLOWS THE MIND, EH?”

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
I WOULD CHOOSE DOOR #3 WITH THE GOAT IN IT AND THEN SLAUGHTER IT TO GAIN ITS COURAGE

26. Do you like someone?
YES BUT NOT A PEACH!!!! *WINK*

27. The last song you listened to?
MY OUTGOING VOICE MAIL MESSAGE WHICH IS SUPER CATCHY. CALL ME AND GET YOUR GROOVE BACK

You’re a Part of Something

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

This tired old adage sounds accusing and incriminating, like you’re supposed to feel guilty for not working towards a solution, a better world. It’s a bold, shaming aphorism.

Here’s my version.

“If you’re not part of the problem, you’re part of the solution!”

Optimism. Relief. Exoneration.

Mine sounds so much more optimistic than the original. Yet, they are exactly logically equivalent.

Both of them state that “you” are “part of the solution” or “part of the problem” (and maybe both). There are two sets: “problem”, “solution” and you are a member of at least one.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a rough guide to a formal proof.

Let S = “you are part of the solution” and P = “you are part of the problem”.

The first statement translates to “~S => P”.

The second statement translates to “~P => S”.

We will show that one implies the other. First, we will prove that (~S => P) => (~P => S).

1. ~S => P  (assumption)
2. ~P (assumption)
3. ~S (assumption)
4. P (1&3, implication, depends on 1,3)
5. P & ~P (2&4, depends on 1,2,3)
6. ~~S (RAA, 5&3, depends on 1,2)
7. S (double negation, depends on 1,2)
8. ~P=>S (2&7, implication, depends on 1)
9. (~S=>P)=>(~P=>S) (1&8, implication, no dependencies)

The proof that (~P=>S)=>(~S=>P) is virtually identical (just swap the roles of P and S).

My Obsessive Behaviour Finally Pays Off

I record all my comedy sets obsessively. I’ve done over 340 sets and I’ve recorded all but a handful. A few days ago, I listened to my first set on a whim. It was, shall we say, “interesting”. I definitely sounded like one of those new comics I’ve heard so many of since then. But once in a while, a flash of brilliance peeked through which made me happy (although you might have had to have been me to know what they were, since most people don’t such direct insight into my brain).

I decided to come up to Vancouver for a while and because I have more time than income these days, I drove. It’s about a thousand miles in fifteen hours. Because I hate wasted time and doing just one thing at a time, I was trying to figure out what else I could do while I drive.

I think you see where I’m going with this. I decided I would take advantage of my obsessive recording of my sets and listen to them as I drove.

Any comic will tell you that listening to yourself is torture. It turns out though that after a few sets, you become numb, and it become a lot easier. All in all, I listened to show 17 (my first few shows were WAV files and iPod wouldn’t play them) to around show 102 in about fourteen hours. I heard a few jokes and tags I’d forgotten about and thought of a few new twists. I brought my voice recorder with me and made about 30 or 40 notes to self. And it actually helped the time go faster by keeping my brain occupied.

I reviewed my first year of comedy (I started in November 2004, although I suppose technically I did maybe three or four shows at UCLA in the early 90s that I am quite certain were terrible). A lot of these shows were simply awful. My set-ups were often too long. I was incoherent and rambly. There were premises with no punch lines. My diction was poor. My speech was peppered with useless “Ums” and way too many “So…” transitions.

My set-ups were filled with lies. For example, in my very first show, I had a set-up that talked about something that happened when I was married. But I’ve never been married, so when I listened, I just sounded like a lying idiot. I guess I couldn’t figure out any other way to set it up, but I mean, come on, that’s just lazy.

I was surprised how many jokes I still use were in these early eras, although many have been improved beyond recognition after going through quite a few iterations.

I also talked quite frankly about the shoulder surgery I went through in August of 2005, and it was really interesting to hear what I had to say both before and after the surgery. It was almost like I was doing it more for me than for anyone else.

Early on, I’d leave my voice recorder on a table when I went up, and I often ended up in the background. Once in a while someone sitting near my recorder would make a comment about a joke or something that I’d strain to evaluate. Or other comics would see the recorder and leave a cute message for me. I don’t know if they realized I wouldn’t hear it until 2008.

I would really strongly recommend recording all your shows. Bring the recorder up to stage with you, and just put it on the stool with any notes you might have. It might seem weird, but if you don’t make a big deal out of it, no one cares. You don’t have to listen to it, but if record all your shows, you at least have the option.

Near the end of my trip, I fast forwarded to listen to some sets I have done in the past few weeks. I was so relieved to hear how much better they are. I really have improved noticeably. I mean, this is no surprise; you would expect that practicing something several times a week years would yield improvement. But it was a relief to actually have some evidence.

I suppose I’ll review my second year of comedy on the drive back. Fourteen more hours of torturous self-realization. I can’t wait!

Free Stuff! Come ‘n Git It! (Part 2)

I’ve created a couple more git depots with some rather old code that has been written and open sourced for quite some time… but just never shared.

One is a simple C-based command-line utility to quickly fix line endings for text files. It can read and write text files that have DOS, UNIX or Mac line endings. It’s very simple and quite peppy, and does a simple check for binary files before proceeding, so you can use it with confidence. It’s called “fixle”… very quick to type, fast to use. It replaces files in place. Developed on Mac OS X, it should work on any UNIX.

http://github.com/richardkiss/fixle/tree/

Another is a pair of Core Audio utilities for Mac OS X that provide a sort of “device” for audio: speakerpipe (which lets you dump data to the speaker) and mikepipe (which dumps data from the mike).

http://github.com/richardkiss/speakerpipe-osx/tree

Ideally, the functionality in speakerpipe should be integrated into the Mac OS X build of the very useful command-line utility sox so it can play sounds on the Mac. (Hmm, some browsing of the project seems to indicate that this functionality is coming.)

Both of these were written years ago and just never released into the wild. I release them, with BSD-style licenses, with the hope that they will be useful. No warranties though suckah!

The Chair That Melted

It’s not too often that one gets the chance to experience a sensation that is completely new and unexpected, and even less often that it comes from completely mundane circumstances. But it happened to me.

The other day I was having dinner with my comedian friend Ben at a Thai restaurant in Sunnyvale that shall remain nameless. We had been there for a few hours, and had already finished eating, just discussing a multitude of topics. I was rocking my chair a little bit, when suddenly, something seemed wrong.

I felt as though I was losing control. Like something was wrong. Maybe there was an earthquake, or I was having a stroke, but I couldn’t hold myself up. I started to lilt to the left, then sink lower. Not in a symmetrical way. I was completely confused and baffled as to what was happening, and not just on a conscious level — my body had no intuitive knowledge how to respond or stay up.

Soon, I found myself, sitting on the floor. Balance restored, I finally felt normal again. It was just a few seconds, but it was remarkably bizarre and weird. I looked around in an effort to figure out what happened.

It quickly became obvious that the left front leg of my chair had failed. It had twisted off and broken. Not cleanly, either. It was as though the leg had rotted or been eaten by termites, and finally been weakened enough to just slowly give up.

I was completely uninjured, and confused enough that I was not even embarrassed.

Ben pointed out that the detached leg looked like a pepper mill, so I picked it up and mimed doling out fresh pepper in the way that fancy waiters do (although not generally at a Thai restaurant).

I swapped the broken chair with another at a nearby table, and we resumed our conversation.

On the way out, Ben, being nonstandard, said to a waiter “You’re sorry that happened,” and the waiter, who was not quite fluent, responded with “That’s okay.”

Surreal.

We’re Off to See The Wizard!

I have been back in California for a few weeks now after packing up my Vancouver apartment at UBC. The weather has been perfect here, as usual. How dull. I took a cruise on the Norwegian Sun from Vancouver to San Francisco. You can move via car, plane, train, but me, I moved via ship.

I did a set in front of a large, lukewarm audience in the talent show on the last day. Probably my biggest, lukewarmiest audience yet. I feel like they hated me, but I’m too scared to listen to the tape. I record all my shows, but am generally too scared to listen to them. I think that’s a pretty common reaction.

Cruises are fun, relaxing and nice. I recommend them. On the last day, I always have this feeling of sadness about it ending too soon. The staff is generally wonderful and upbeat, but there is something inescapably weird about it. It’s all too much fun, too nicely orchestrated, everything subtly controlled, like Disneyland, or like how Las Vegas allegedly pumps oxygen into the casinos to help keep people awake. There must be gallons of marketing and behavioral research at corporate headquarters. All this neat stuff is happening – great food, activities, music, entertainment – and you see the people directly providing all this. But what’s missing is the man behind the curtain. Obviously someone must be planning all this, but you never see who. It’s almost eerie.

But hey, that’s what vacations are all about: being manipulated into having a good time.

Free Stuff! Come ‘n Git It!

I moved out of my Vancouver apartment on campus at UBC on the 14th. However, my Sunnyvale apartment, where I’m moving back to, is pretty full, and packing is always a torture, so I left behind a bit of stuff in my Vancouver apartment. If you want any of it or want to take a look, let me know and I can arrange a run-through with a friend who lives in the building.

When I left, what remained behind included:

  • a kitchen garbage pail
  • two small garbage pails, for bathroom and bedroom
  • a blue chair that folds out into a single bed (cot-style), suitable for living room
  • a black shelf, about two feet by two feet, four feet high, with five shelves
  • a folding chair, suitable for sitting at a table or desk
  • some kitchenware, including a Brita filtered water pitcher and light bulbs
  • an entertainment center stand, with space for a TV and bookshelves on the side
  • a (pretty lousy) TV, about 19″
  • a DVD player
  • a little glass table, about the size of a foot stool (but probably too fragile to use as a foot stool)

Since I ain’t there no more, this is from memory and I probably forgot a thing or two. If you’re local to UBC University Village apartments and want any of this, or just want to look through, let me know. Email me at him at richardkiss dot com, or on the Facebook™. Hurry though: the lease expires on September 30th, after which, building management will clean it all out.

Very Minor Details

As I come to the end of my time living on campus at UBC in Vancouver, I become wistful, longing and thoughtful. But I can’t help it. I’m a sap.

Last night I did my second double-header in two days; first a show at Yuk Yuk’s, then I cut out early to get over to Kino, where I went up almost right away. Both shows were packed.

I caught the last 99 home to UBC, and walked over to The Gallery where they were just finishing up karaoke.

On the short walk home, for some reason I started thinking about how the outdoor pool on campus, with the ridiculously high 10 meter diving platform, was protected rather minimally by a miserable little fence, and how easy it would be to sneak in there and jump away. Foreshadowing. As I walked up the stairs by the pool, I saw a couple guys relieving themselves into the bushes with their friends chatting away nearby.

As I walked by, one nervous tough guy asked me “Are you security?” I don’t know what made him think that. Maybe because I look over 25.

“No, but thanks for asking.” I kept walking. Realizing they were in the clear, they began to execute on their makeshift plan. Intrigued, figuring I was about to witness a fairly memorable event in someone else’s life, I stopped to watch in morbid fascination.

The four or five guys climbed the fence, and at the encouragement of the three or four gals, stripped down to their underwear (and in one case, all the way to nothing), climbed the intimidating 10 meter tower, and one by one, jumped the horrendous heights to the pool below.

After the last fellow jumped and it was clear the show was over, I moseyed on into the late, quiet night.

Then I saw a couple raccoons crossing the street and had a quick conversation with a French exchange student who was trying to think of the English word for these beasts (indigenous to North America, although now escaped to Europe, if Wikipedia is credible on this).

In summary, I’m fascinated by trivial stuff, especially when sentimental.