[I’m going to tell you a little about CSz Boise, and why I think you should donate, but if you are in a hurry, donate here.]

When I’m not working for Embarcadero or spending time with my family, my other major interest is doing Improv with CSz Boise. If you are unfamiliar with improv, it is a performance art that focuses on fast thinking. It is something you practice for, but not something that is pre-scripted. If you’ve seen the show Who’s Line is it Anyway, then you are familiar with the basics. Usually at CSz Boise we are doing ComedySportz, which is a specific type of improv where we have two teams, a red team and a blue team, that battle it out for laughs and points through a series of short games and scenes, with a referee to keep things moving. Some of the points are determined objectively based on ability to rhyme, reaction time, giving and guessing clues, or other empirical skills. Other points come from purely entertainment value: who can make people laugh the most!

CSz Boise

CSz Boise performing ComedySportz with a volunteer!

Besides it being a lot of fun with some great people, I am volunteer my time and money with CSz Boise for two reasons: 

  1. Dedicated to being clean comedy for everyone
  2. Laughter is the best medicine

ComedySportz, by definition is clean comedy designed for everyone. This means it never gets off color, and if someone does then they get the brown bag foul (that literally involves a brown paper bag being worn on their head). This means we see people on dates, families with their kids, or even someone bringing their elderly parents/grandparents. Everyone has a good time, and no one gets offended. Sure, we live in an age where some people are looking for something to be offended about, but it is nice to have an entertainment option that isn’t going out of it’s way to be disgusting. I believe it is important to have a good live entertainment option that you know is “family friendly” in that it is safe for the kids, and entertaining for everyone!

The second reason wasn’t something I realized right away, but since I’ve been involved for 5+ years now I’ve talked to a few fans who’ve shared how much of a difference ComedySportz makes in their life. We have fans who lost loved ones, suffer from depression, lost a job, stressful day at work, going through a divorce, and more, all who really needed a good laugh. Maybe of them come back weekly, sometimes even twice a week. ComedySportz is what helps them keep their sanity. I’ve literally had people tell me that ComedySportz works better than their depression medication (don’t stop taking your medication without consulting a doctor!) Unlike standup comedy, or some other forms of entertainment, seeing it the second time looses a lot of the entertainment value, but improv is always different because it isn’t scripted, and we play off of audience suggestions.

CSz Boise Improvathon

That brings us to Improvathon 2018. CSz Boise is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is dedicated to helping the community through improv. The Improvathon is our annual fundraiser where we do improv for 29 1/2 hours straight! I personally will be taking a couple naps, but there will be someone on our stage making people laugh for 29 1/2 hours. Beyond non-stop improv, we also have raffle tickets, and some online silent auctions, or you can just make a donation.

If you are local in the Boise area, come down and join us for some laughs. Buy some raffle tickets, a few refreshments, and enjoy the fun. But if you’ve read this far down the page, then please take a moment and either bid on an auction or make a donation.

You may or may not be aware of my weekend hobby. I do competitive improvisational comedy – it is called ComedySportz (comedy played as a sport). My wife and I are part of an international organization called CSz Worldwide (mostly US, but also UK and Germany). We do clean, all ages comedy that we make up live every show. I’ve been working on this for about 4 years now with practice in the evenings and matches on the weekends.

Once a year we have a Worldwide Championship. This year it is in Indianapolis, Indiana. That is where I am this week.

This is the CSz Boise Players who made it to Championship this year.

This is the CSz Boise Players who made it to Championship this year.

 

Some of the amazing people from around the world who are also at Champtionship

Some of the amazing people from around the world who are also at Championship

 

Our march on downtown Indy.

Our march on downtown Indy.

 

My wife Dawn and I.

My wife Dawn and I.

 

The Bible Isn’t Scary

The Idaho Senate just approved a measure permitting Bible in schoolsThe Bible

Why is it an issue about using the Bible in schools? When I was in school we read excerpts from the Iliad (a religious text from ancient Greece), from the Bible and other ancient religious texts. It was clear that there was no effort to preach from any of those. They were simply examples of ancient literature that had historical significance.

I keep seeing posts saying “the Bible has no place in school.” Should we remove anything related to any religion from school, or just anything related to Christianity? Why does something become scary once it is related to Christianity?

If anything it is offensive that the Idaho Senate needed to “clarify any misconceptions” about teachers being able to reference resources they needed to use in the course of their education. I’m sure there were no misconceptions about the use of the “Epic of Gilgamesh” or any of the other religious texts regularly used in schools.

Many ancient cultures held mathematics in religious significance (take Pythagoras for example). Science also has origins and shared roots with religion. Maybe we should remove math and science from school too. Just teach politics and history, oh wait, that has influences from religion too.

Religion isn’t scary or backwards. Ignorance is though. Why would anyone favor ignorance over education in the name of education?

I Invented Slide to Unlock?

Was rather surprised this morning to discover I invented Slide to Unlock. A former co-worker and friend saw the news and was wondering if I was the Jim McKeeth mentioned. Of course he, and a lot of other people, are wondering if I will be getting any money out of it. Since the patent is licensed to Micron, they are the owners of it now. It is exciting to be involved in something so huge, but crazy to effectively be on the sidelines still.

The patent in question is actually an continuation of a previous patent that was filed back in 2000.

I’d been watching the Apple vs. Samsung case with some interest (owning both Apple and Samsung devices) but now it got a whole lot more interesting.

Some Video That I Used To Know

I’m sure you’ve seen the video for Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye. Pretty cool video, and pretty cool song.

It didn’t stop there though. Walk of the Earth did a creative cover, where the 5 of them played a single guitar.

That of course inspired a number of parodies and copycats, including some on the ukulele. By my favorite is by The Key of Awesome (yes, it is a parody of a cover).

And then the pinacle of the parodies comes full circle to the original video, with Teddie Films doing The Star Wars That I Used to Know.

What was your favorited parody or cover of Somebody That I Used To Know?

 

Fun with Google Scribe

Google Scribe (in Google Labs) tries to help make writing easier and better by using predictive text suggestions. These go beyond regular finish the word suggestions, and can actually suggest the next word. I assume this must be based on their index of commonly occurring word that are adjacent. So I was wondering what would Google Scribe write if always take the suggested next word? What kind of inspiration would it provide after I choose the starting word?

Inspiration for the design of the study was to determine the effect of the drug in the treatment of the subject matter of the present invention is to provide a method for the determination of the amount of the compound of formula I wherein R is a hydrogen atom or a methyl group at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Berkeley . . . .

When I gave it the starting word “Inspiration” it assumed I was writing a paper about a study on a drug at the University of California Berkeley, and they got stuck in a recursive loop. What if I try a different word?

Writing and Editing Professional in Human Resources Management and Development of the National Association of Realtors and the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States and Canada for the first time in the future and the future of the country and the world of the living room and dining room with a view to the sea and the mountains of the world and the world of the living room and dining room with a view to the sea and the mountains of the world . . . .

Not sure where it was going with that one. I gave it the word “Writing” and it started talking about organizations and departments and countries then got in a weird loop about rooms with views . . . It doesn’t seem that it will ever suggest punctuation, which leads to run on sentences. I wonder what Scibe wants to say about “Google” . . .

Google Earth and Google Maps to find the best deals on the best way to get the best of the best in the world of the living room and dining room with a view to the sea and the mountains of the world and the world of the living room . . .

Interesting that it listed Google Earth and Google Maps specifically, but then got stuck in the room with a view loop again. It clearly isn’t looking only at word pairs since Google would have matched Earth both times, but at the same time the context is shorter in other situations since it really likes that room with a view loop.

It does have an option to give multiple suggestions, so the user could steer the conversation in different directions. Plus the addition of the occasional period would allow for the introduction of new chains of thought.

Conclusion: It does look at more than just the previous word, but still can get stuck in a recursive loop. No punctuation is suggested. It is clearly still a labs toy, but I’ve seen predictive correction before that works, so this may evolve and show up in more places. You can install the extension today and play with it on your favorite web text box.

Via Twitter

Tip: If you are using Windows Easy Transfer to backup boot camp before reinstalling, remove the drive letter for the Mac OS X partition.

It is irritating how often a reboot fixes my computer troubles. More irritating how often I forget that.

Only two weeks until project ‘Cooper’ is revealed! http://bit.ly/giV7Jo Will you be there?

This is why we don’t tip back in our chairs. Nothing broke. Tipped monitors when tried to stop self. http://yfrog.com/h0d2ffsj

Gift for Mother-in-Law

I had a good friend who was a rock hound.  He would go out and either find rough rocks in the wild, or buy them.  Then clean, cut and polish them.  For some of the rocks he would mount them as jewelry.

He told me about a gift he made for his mother-in-law.  It was a very involved project.  He took a great piece of Onyx, cut it like a heart and polished it up.  Then he mounted it in a necklace.  I forget the exact number of hours he spent on it, but it was quite a few.  When he was done it was beautiful.  It got a nice jewelry box and put a little note it in, then mailed it to his mother-in-law. Onyx Heart Necklace

When she got it she called him to say how much she loved it, but she was a bit confused about the note.

“Why do I need to keep it in the freezer when I am not wearing it?” she asked.

“Well,” he said, “onyx is a very hard and darkly colored stone.  So if you keep it cold, then I can tell everyone that my mother-in-law has a very cold, hard, black little heart.”

She thought it was very funny, and it is one of her most treasured pieces of jewelry.  She even keeps it in the freezer too.

It is good to have family with a sense of humor.

BTW, if you have a mother-in-law with a good sense of humor you can buy an onyx necklace for her.

Big Bang Theory T-Shirts

I really enjoy watching Big Bang Theory, one of the best parts is all the crazy T-Shirts Sheldon wears. Now someone case created similarly crazy shirts based on Sheldon.

I already have this one:

Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock

This is probably my favorite:

I’m Not Insane
My mother had me tested

Big  Bang  Theory Insane T-Shirt

Bazinga

Big Bang  Theory Bazinga T-Shirt

Visionary

Big Bang  Theory Visionary T-Shirt
Big Bang  Theory Anime T-Shirt

Revenge

Big Bang  Theory Revenge T-Shirt

Friendship Algorithm

Big Bang  Theory Friendship Algorithm T-Shirt

All the Big Bang Theory shirts at StylinOnline.com

Star Wars the Old Republic

It looks like someone might finally have my number when it comes to a massively multiplayer game (MMO):

I actually have not played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic yet, but I heard good things about it. It it wasn’t BioWare teamed with Lucas Arts for this game then I would have my doubts of them actually achieving the scope they are aiming for in this teaser. Star Wars The Old Republic looks really cool.