I love the organization of the semantic web. Instead of grouping things as they should look, group items as they make sense semantically then change how they look with cascading style sheets. This works great with paragraphs, ordered and unordered lists of different things, and to a lesser part using divs and/or spans for different sections of data. Still, with all this we haven’t come up with a real good way of semantically marking up sarcasm, hyperbole, intended puns, unintended puns and more verbal word play that is best delivered via body language and intonation.
What originally got me thinking all this was sarcasm doesn’t do well on the internet but people try to use it all the time. Maybe it’s just me, and the people I know, but it is often denoted with sarcasm HTML tags (
<sarcasm>yeah, sure!</sarcasm>). I had been thinking about this on my own for some time so I decided to discuss this with my mentor at work. He thought about it for a bit and said to me, “That seems inefficient. You should only markup things that aren’t sarcastic. How about a serious tag?(
<serious>I'll take 2</serious>)” Being pragmatic I thought, really there are both then everything in between. He agreed.
Next we discussed how we needed to do the levels of sarcasm and seriousness in a span of text. You may want to do something special to css that is really sarcastic or deathly serious. My response was that you could just use class attributes to help you mark up your code. The other option is to wrap a sarcasm tag with an emphasis or strong tags to denote regular, mild and strong cases of each.
<sarcasm>I'm sure you're right</sarcasm> <em><sarcasm>You sure know what you are talking about</sarcasm></em> <strong><sarcasm>You are a genius!</sarcasm></strong>
Whether using class attributes or extra tags you can use CSS to change all the various combinations and in between states. It all depends upon which order you place them in your style sheet. Sounds like fun, as long as I don’t have a deadline.
Now, I haven’t had any time to code up a semantic site rife with sarcasm tags but there might be some out there. If you’ve got a site or know of one that uses sarcasm tags or anything similar then uses some awesome CSS to showcase it, I’d love to see it and share. Let me know all about it in the comments section, down below.
Here I am, with less than a week until my first performance in a long form improvisational comedy show. The show I’m in is called The Journal and parodies the tragic romances of Nicholas Sparks. I’ve had a weird experience with this show so I thought I would share it.
Warning: Logic does not apply
My experience with The Journal is based in my subconscious and the inner workings of my brain working against me. It is easy to apply logic and wonder why I had any issues. Shush! Logic does not apply here! Though it did finally lead me to the proper solution I was not being conscious of the way my emotions were leading me around.
Finding out about The Journal
Since moving back to Seattle I had decided to really focus on performing improv, rather than just taking classes, a reality. This led me to auditioning for Jet City Improv and ComedySportz Seattle. I had a lot of fun at the auditions but I didn’t even make callbacks for either. I talked a positive game afterward but, especially for ComedySportz Seattle I felt really bummed. I learned my improv chops through ComedySportz San Jose and really wanted to be a part of it here in Seattle.
Near the end of my Long Form Essentials class that I was taking through Jet City Improv, our teacher Mandy, sent out an email telling us all about upcoming auditions for The Journal. Also, she sent me a follow up email telling me that she put in a good word about me with the producer. This made me feel good because I think she is an awesome improviser who’s style I’d like to emulate in many ways. So I was riding high knowing I had made an impression with someone who I respect. That is, I was riding high until auditions.
For Jet City Improv and ComedySportz Seattle auditions I felt that I had done pretty good. I had a feeling I wouldn’t make the cut but I still felt I had done well overall. For the first audition to The Journal I had actually studied Nicholas Sparks movies and even watched The Notebook right before the audition. It seemed like a more serious piece so I was doing the serious thing of studying (something I never did much before). After the first audition I went home thinking I was in over my head. I felt some of the other improvisers did much better at long form theatrical improv and I had no chance.
To my surprise, I got called back! That good word from Mandy must’ve paid off, either that or they could tell, and appreciated, that I had recently watched The Notebook. In my mind, “Thank You Mandy!” There was no way I had made the difference there. I was there and I felt I had done a really poor job.
NOTE: Logic doesn’t really pertain here, as I said above, but logic says that when you do an audition you have no idea what the people running the auditions are looking for so do your best and then don’t worry about it
At the callbacks I realized only 1 or 2 others got called back and the rest of the people there knew each other from Seattle Experimental Theater‘s (SET) previous show Where No Man Has Gone Before. I had an inkling of feeling special but then I saw the people work together who knew each other. They were really connected with each other and were funny without even trying. I left that audition feeling worse about my performance than the last time, but hey – at least I made it to callbacks this time.
NOTE: If you’ve never done improv, you may not know that knowing your fellow improvisers helps so, so much.
Funny thing about how I felt about my performance, it didn’t matter. They offered me a part in the show! Thanks again Mandy! I obviously had nothing to do with it.
So off to rehearsals I went and this is when stuff really got weird for me. I didn’t act like my improv self at all. I’ll explain by going back in time to my educations at ComedySportz San Jose. I once asked my improv teacher Michael, what he thought I needed to work on to be a better improviser. For the most part, he said I had good instincts and I was never afraid to jump on stage first and try out an idea. The main thing he said I should work on is letting others take the spotlight and learn how to add to their ideas. Jumping back to rehearsals for The Journal, I was definitely attempting to practice giving others the spotlight but now I was timid and afraid of my ideas.
Things all came to a head one day when I was called in early by myself to work on my breathing while talking. Before I got there I was walking with the producer and explaining to her how I was getting something out of being in The Journal because I usually just jump on to stage and don’t do as much support. Her responses, “I really don’t see that from you”. Also, I did the breathing exercises with the Stage Manager and she realized that I was having the problems when I was second guessing myself. A mini lightbulb went off in my head at that point but I was still timid for the rest of that rehearsal. It was later that evening that I did some brooding (my form of soul searching I think) and came to some powerful realizations.
The first thing I realized was that I put a lot of pressure on myself because I didn’t want to let down Mandy who had stood up for my talents. I felt that if I did poorly, I wouldn’t just let her down but make her lose credibility as well.
It was then that I remembered something she said in class that I never thought I would need to do myself. She said that when she performs she actually gives herself permission to mess up. I took it a step further and decided to take a bigger risk and have since been saying to myself, “I give myself permission to fuck things up!” Funny thing about improv when you trust your fellow improvisers on stage, you can not break a scene no matter how hard you try.
I also realized something I have been hinting at a bit in this article, I was not giving myself enough credit. The rest of the cast were pretty much set before auditions even happened as they all knew each other from before. However, they asked me to join them and be a part of their show. They had other talented people try out but they chose me. Whatever the reason, they felt I would be an asset to the show and yet there I was acting like I didn’t deserve to be there. No more! I bring a certain energy to the table.
Finally, looking back at my previous auditions for Jet City Improv and ComedySportz Seattle I realized that I hadn’t given myself explicit permission to make any mistakes. Perhaps next time I audition for either I will give myself that permission and see if it helps. I may not make it (there are some amazing improvisers in Seattle) but at least I’ll feel that I put it all out there at an audition.
Now on to the show
I’ve only had a few rehearsals since the revelations, but I have felt so much better about each of them. The first day I was still a bit timid but I kept reminding myself that I give myself permission to fuck things up. Not only have I felt that I have performed better, but I have had more fun and been more connected with the rest of the cast. I’m not completely over the illogical self deprecating thoughts that are in my head, but by being conscious of them I can make choices without listening to them.
Only 2 more rehearsals until a dress rehearsal in front of an audience and then it is opening night. We’ve got 4 shows and I can’t wait to see what the audience brings each time. I know we are going to do great with whatever we are given.
I was thinking of holding off writing this until after the show, but I don’t see why I should. I can’t break the show, there are too many talented people working on it. I just hope that some other entertainer will read these words and get some insight for themselves. At the minimum, I will read it some day in the future and be reminded that I have permission to be bold.
A little blast from my past. Pinky and the Brain montage of the “Are you pondering what I’m pondering” responses.
Used to be, my wife and I would watch Xena, Warrior Princess together on TV. The show, by itself, had some very funny moments. However both Xena and Hercules had a reoccurring character that was quite silly. No, not talking about Ted Raimi’s Joxer the Mighty (though I loved him too) but the King of Thieves – Autolycus, played by B as in B-movie (or is that Burn Notice?) Bruce Campbell.
Inspired by his twitter feed and being in a remembering Xena mood for some reason, I went on a hunt for a humorous video for this week’s Sunday Funnies post. I believe this video montage properly shows the smoothness of Autolycus with the humor of one Bruce Campbell.
I miss the silliness of the characters portrayed in the Xena/Hercules universe and I wouldn’t mind seeing them again in new stuff.
So I have been an avid Adobe user for quites some time now. I’ve been using their tools for many years and, even though I’m not much of an artist, I’ve been known to use Photoshop from time to time. So when I saw someone link a video that said “Fotoshop by Adobé” I had to check it out. Even if it was bad, being an Adobe nerd I might get a chuckle or two.
Turns out the video is quite funny. It seems to parody every personal beauty advertisement I can ever remember seeing. Everything from eyelashes to cheesey animations explaining how it smooths away wrinkles. And yes, Fotoshop by Adobé can seemingly do it all.
In all seriousness what’s most funny about this video is that it is true. Photoshop by Adobe does skew our idea of what natural, normal, sexy and beautiful is. Since it takes a computer program, it turns out these images are neither natural nor normal. However, breaking through that psychological barrier of created reality might turn out to be a real tough nut to crack.
And if you would like to see the behind the scenes video, I found that too.
As a bit of attribution, more information about this video can be found at Jesse Rosten’s website.
As we enter the 2012 election year, we can already see things heating up on the political front. What does that mean fothe rest of us? Lots of great humor will be coming out over the next year that will have us LOLing and ROFLing.
In the tradition of election year politcal humor, Funny or Die along with Yahoo have put together a Mock Cyber debate among the Republican contenders. All the candidates are played by some well named comedians or former boxer turned reality star.
I’ll be the first to admit that this humor is heavy handed and a bit childish but it is also quite funny. This is a long-ish video but don’t start watching then quit once you get the gist. The jokes get better as the “debate” progresses. Plus, if you stop watching you’ll miss the cherry on top ending – Obama’s response.
I’m somewhat political by nature, in that I take politics fairly seriously. However, it is just as important to laugh every once in a while as it is to take the actual politics seriously. Enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments.
My Sunday Funnies posts are usually posted, you guessed it, on Sundays. However, with January 1st being on a Sunday I decided to post an early version of the post as a New Year’s service announcement.
I have posted a few things from Almost Live! in the past. With 2012 being the year of the dragon (or at least it will be on January 23rd) I thought I’d provide the message via a psuedo-Chinese themed skit they often did on the show, Mind Your Manners with Billy Quan.
This episode of Mind Your Manners features Billy (played by Darrell Suto) getting ready for a New Year’s Eve party. Suddenly a party crasher (John Keister) comes along and ruins his party before it even starts. Billy then proceeds to teach him some manners, Billy Quan Style.
Unfortunately, embedding has been disabled by request on this video so you’ll have to watch it over on youtube. I hate that setting but at least the video is worth the extra click.
I’ve been itching to write a blog post for a while. However its been a busy time as I’ve moved from San Jose to Seattle. Well now I’m getting settled and I’m ready to write about something I’ve found funny for a few months. If you have shopped at any place similar to Whole Foods the song and video for ‘Whole Foods Parking Lot’ should at least have you break into a chuckle.
You’re the most annoying dude I’ve ever seen bra
Could you please move you’re right in front of the Quinoa
So here’s a little taste of that humor in video form
Not one to miss humorous music I also came across another song by DJ Dave and company. Following his hipster trend we saw in the previous video he follows with ‘Yoga Girl’. It has some silly lyrics in it as well that a white boy like me (or anyone who would make fun of a white boy like me) can laugh at.
You wanna meditate with me?
Also there is some pretty crazy yoga poses in this video.
And you haven’t had enough of the boys of Fog and Smog there is one last thing I’d like to show you. It seems they did a little spot for Hyundai that is right in line with their same rap humor. Also, ’tis the holiday season and this video is from a holiday promotion. Nice!
I’m a big fan of humorous music. I follow Wierd Al on Twitter, he’s funny there too. Do you know some other funny music I should check out. I’m all ears.
As you may have heard, from recent posts, I am moving to Seattle for a new job. They wanted me to start October 31st but I wasn’t having any of it. Not because it is Halloween, though I did love Halloween at Gaia, but because I had an improv show to do November 3rd and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I have had a great time training at Comedysportz San Jose and had a blast with my fellow improvisers so I had to see how we’d all do at a honest to goodness Comedysportz formatted show.
For your information, we did great. Also, my wife got some shaky video of most of the show. So sit back, relax and have a laugh at my expense.
BTW – 80′s bands should have been my category. Next time I will not falter!
If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy my previous show that I posted here during the summer. That is long form improv but still quite fun.
If you enjoyed this please tell all your friends by tweeting, posting to facebook, google plus, tumblr, myspace whatever. If you didn’t enjoy this…shhhhhh…no one likes a whiner. Seriously, I’d love to hear what you think of the show. If you have any samples of your own improv and/or stand up comedy I’d love to see them as well. Good alternatives for the game of 185? 80s bands that I should have said(this could be a long list)? Post them in the comments.
So a few weeks ago I made my way to Seattle on a top secret trip. I went, I saw some sites, met some friends and family and top secretly went to a job interview. I kinda hated the secrecy but things are the way they are in the job world. To make a long story short, I got the job and I’ll very shortly be moving back to my old home of Seattle.
Since I think of Almost Live! when I think of comedy in Seattle (for now anyway) and I need to be reminded about how to live in Seattle the following playlist is my comedy for the week. I thought about breaking this up into several weeks instead of a playlist but the move is coming faster than I think.
So here it is. Almost Live!’s Guide to Living in Seattle
I am really excited about my move but even more excited to get involved in a new improv scene. Currently, there isn’t a ComedySportz in Seattle so I’ll need to check out Jet City Improv and Unexpected Productions.