I’m at a point in my life where I really don’t want to be anyone but myself. Expending energy to please people who will never like me for who I am, for people who have judged me to be a lesser being because of how much I weigh, how I dress, and how I choose to live my life, is not a goal of mine. There are too many other important things to do.
At the same time, I am seeing what this path is costing me in terms of opportunities. Whether we like it or not, “fitting in” is an integral part of business and the world in which most of us live our professional lives. Being the odd person out, the “weirdo”, is not an easy position to be in when there are unwritten rules related to speech, dress, and conduct. Because when you’re the “weirdo”, people perceive that they need to exert extra effort to understand you and very few folks are inclined to make their lives harder unless you have some sort of talent they respect or need to further their own goals.
Over the past few weeks, I have been largely absent from the world because I have achieved a new level of busy. Some of it was my doing. Some of it was life pummeling me with lemons faster than I can make lemonade.
I’m not even that big of a lemonade fan.
There is something hypnotic about writing code. Even when something isn’t working, when the code is taunting me, it holds me fast and won’t let go. Hours evaporate when I’m coding.
I went to Capclave last weekend and one of the items for sale in the Silent Auction was an inflatable unicorn horn for cats. This item is one that could only come from the dastardly minds of Archie McPhee, the same folks who brought you cocktail squids, yodeling bacon, and the avenging unicorn playset.
So after giving two bucks to charity, I became the proud owner of the latest and greatest cat torture device. As you can see by the pictures below, it was well worth the money. Or at least I thought is was. Disco and Zura had different opinions.
One thing group of people who I will never quite understand are folks who argue for economic policies that won’t benefit them until they strike it rich.
Lots of people have been asking me to put videos of my standup online. I’ve had many good sets and I’ve written lots of material I’ve felt good about. Yet the recordings I’ve made up until now have mostly been for me to review my own performance and get better. None have felt particularly Youtube-worthy.
Until this one.
I did a set at Comedy Lottery on Wednesday night that I’m very proud of. Is it perfect? No. Is it at the level I aspire to be at yet? Heck no! I’m just getting started people!
But it WAS super fun and the audience was incredible. So check it out. I hope you laugh too.
Thank you very much to Cynthia Raxter for making the recording. Also, a huge THANKS to Matt White for teaching me the writing process that produced this set. Matt is now teaching standup at Moonlight Stage Company in Raleigh. His teaching is worth every penny people.
Given my love for all things Asian and my tendency to belt out Broadway tunes mid-conversation, you’d be surprised I have never done Asian-style karaoke. I always had a vague idea what was involved: A group of friends crooning away in a kitschy private room whilst consuming copious amounts of overpriced booze. But I never knew how truly epic it is–until this weekend.
When I see the photographs coming out of Ferguson, MI, this picture of Mary Vecchio mourning the death of her classmate in 1970 comes to mind. For those unfamiliar with the events leading to the shootings at Kent State, you can get the gist of it all here. Pretty much it was a case study in tragedy arising from an overzealous police force mixed with a mob of very unhappy people.
I feel as though the protests in Ferguson won’t end until another tragedy strikes. The police force in Ferguson may be using non-lethal crowd control techniques. Yet tear gas and flash bangs can still harm people. Rubber bullets are still bullets. They might not kill, but they can injure and maim. These non-lethal tactics aren’t non-violent.
All my life I have rebelled against life organizing tools. Whether it was the assignment books they gave us in school or the pocket calendar my parents would not-so-subtly give me for Christmas every year, I wanted nothing to do with organizing tools. For me, the time it took to write out to-do lists was time away from writing or something much more important. Besides, I was really good at storing it all in my head.
Until I wasn’t.