Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Return of the Blog

It's funny how I blog in waves. I'd like to say it's because I'm out in the world making a difference or that I'm extremely busy with scholarly pursuits but the fact of the matter is that I've been in a funk with nothing going on worth blogging about.

This will be one of my storied potpourri posts in which I just go off on tangents. I tell you this up front because it fills out my blog post and makes it look like I have more to say than I actually do. I'm no writer.

Graham: Stand up comedian.
I've been told time and time again that I should give stand up comedy a try. While I've entertained the notion of doing an open mic or twelve to develop a routine I've never actually done it. Logistics isn't really an issue since there are plenty of ways to get on stage and I've never had trouble booking a gig in the past. You pretty much just need to do it.

I like to think I'm reasonably funny as the occasional goofy comment on Facebook or Twitter will get positive responses. Contrary to popular belief there is lot more to doing stand up than being funny. It takes a certain kind of personality to get up on stage and keep a room interested for 15 to 20 minutes. It's not just firing off jokes because that gets annoying by joke number 2. If it were easy more people would do it and be successful at it. It's so hard that even the best comics get up there and bomb.

I'm sure I've got at least enough material for a typical time slot. Material is an important part but it's only about a third of the pie. The second part is your voice or rather how you address your audience. This is a little trickier especially for me.  Not only do I get incredibly nervous in front of an audience I don't have the clearest voice and I have a bit of a stammer when I'm nervous. Recipe for disaster. I'm sure if I really worked on my material I'd be in good shape but you do need to be able to adapt if you start to bomb.

That last third is the part that most young comics I've seen seem to have trouble with. Rhythm is very important as it sets the pace for your entire routine. If you get off on the wrong foot and miss your beats it just won't work. The first two thirds rolls into this. Your material and the cadence of your voice have to move. One liners are tough to do successfully. It's even tougher if you can't segue from one topic to the next. Since I tend to go off on tangents as noted above it's hard to bring everything together in a cohesive way.

Ultimately I just don't think I can do it. I'm good in small doses among friends and I think it's best I keep it that way.

What's that you're listening to?
Thanks for asking. I've been listening to music again while working. It's not always easy as I spend a great deal of my day on the phone. I like podcasts but after awhile I get to the point of where I'm not really paying attention to what they're saying so those have gone on the back burner for awhile.

It's a funny thing about a great song and how it can turn your whole day around. I have a copy of Sloan doing a cover of Gary Numan's 'Cars' that is pretty darned good. I've always been a Numan fan but I don't listen to his stuff all that much which is a shame because it's really good. I know it's not for everybody but it's right up my alley.

You're pretty cool if you liked that.

I like to think I have broad musical tastes since I can find a favorite in most genres. I can't listen to everything though. I have a tough time with newer music. Maybe I'm just stubborn but I think a lot of it just isn't that good. There's always something missing. Maybe I'm just a music snob.

What's with that stupid grin?
I'm currently on a crusade to be a nicer person. My lovely wife noticed pointed out that I've been really cranky lately. More so than usual. I'm sure most of it is due to my new position at work. I don't like to go into great detail in such a public place because you never know who's watching so let's just say that it used to be great and now it's not so great. I think a great deal of that is me though since I decide whether or not I'm going to be happy.

I've begun trying to say nice things about people and things. Sincere things that I actually feel. It's not quite a mantra because I don't think repeating something over and over to myself in an effort to rose tint my world is productive or healthy. This is going to be a slow process but I think I can get back to a point where I'm generally happy.

Doing chicks.
It's not what you think. I haven't done much musically in awhile mainly because of my chronic depression. I came up with an idea recently and I've enlisted my brother in California to lend a hand. We're going to cover a few songs by female artists or groups. We've probably bitten off more than we can chew. I'm not the greatest musician in the world so it can be tough for me to adapt a really difficult song to something I can play with limited instruments at hand. I'm hoping my bro can fill in the blanks.