Category Archives: Improv Comedy

No Rest For The Weary

It’s been a long week and a long weekend. The good news is, the weather was pretty lousy all weekend, so I didn’t really miss much as far as fun stuff was concerned, but the bad news was, I spent more hours than I really would have liked sitting right here … working on one project or another. Ah, the life of the unintentional entrepreneur.

First, the fun stuff.


The Improv Effect had a really good show at The Comedy Zone Tuesday night. It was our first “Improv Only” show, and we drew a good crowd through some traditional and guerilla marketing techniques. Lot of reminders to folks on our Facebook lists, some online stuff on, Austin taped a little video clip with me for The Jacksonville Observer … basically anything we could think of to get folks into the house, and we probably had 75 folks enjoying the show. It’s always a pleasure to play to that kind of a crowd, and we didn’t disappoint, if I do say so myself. We won’t have another shot at CZ until March, but we will be playing the February Art Walk on Wednesday at MOCA. Come on out and Join us.

ANN Cirrus TampaI worked ahead most of the week for Aero-News for the opportunity to fly to Tampa late in the week.  We had intended to fly down Thursday, but with President Obama in Tampa on Thursday, the TRF made getting into any airport there in a private airplane next to impossible. So Friday, it was up early, drive to the St. Augustine airport, and load up in 377SR for the trip down to Tampa. The occasion was the airplanes’ scheduled annual inspection, which means we had to leave the airplane in Tampa and drive back to Jacksonville. The upside is I got to fly the airplane again. Every time, I learn a little bit more. I’m now studying the Avidyne Release 9 manual to learn more about that simple little “does-everything-but-cook-lunch” system. The manual is a PDF file that’s only 177 pages long. Just a touch different from flying with steam gauges. Each thing did one thing, and now the Primary Flight Display and and the Flight Management System take the place of nearly everything in the cockpit, from the old Horizontal Situation Indicator to the sectional and Jepp IFR charts. There’s a reason the manual is 177 pages long.

But I do love flying this airplane. I’ve only gotten my hands on one other airplane since I’ve been writing for Aero-News, but I could fly this Cirrus forever.

The flying on Friday got the weekend off to a great start. Sadly, the rest of the weekend was a bit more … mundane. I worked on an editing project for a sales training manual, and finished my weekly column for The Jacksonville Observer. It doesn’t sound like a lot, and there was time for breakfast this morning at Over The Ditch Cafe and some of the work I did while semi-watching the Pro Bowl this evening. Congrats to David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew for hooking up for a TD in Miami. I also caught up just a bit with an old friend from high school who just recently discovered Facebook.

So Monday, it’s back to the salt mine. A goal for the coming month is to pay more attention to “Life’s a Beach”, and to try to start shedding the extra baggage that I managed to accumulate over the holidays.

Gotta have goals …

Bar Code



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Filed under Airplanes, Beach Living, Flying, Improv, Improv Comedy, Thoughts, Work

Windows 7 and Random Sunday Thoughts

Not so much of a review, because I’ve just installed it. But I will say the installation went (mostly) smoothly.

First, it took a little more than 4 hours to complete. I don’t know why that surprised me, because it is, after all, an operating system, and it had to work around all my installed programs. It only asked me to uninstall three things, and I did two of them. The Windows Live Webcam, which I use for Skype, and the HP Quick Start buttons were pretty easy choices.

But it also wanted me to uninstall iTunes, which I didn’t do. I checked a couple of websites, which assured me that iTunes would work fine with Window’s 7, but I do have the executable for the latest version of iTunes should there be a problem. The next time I need the cam, I’ll plug it in, it’ll wake up and install the software, and should be fine.

At least that’s the plan. If not, I’ll go find it.

I’m sure the laptop will realize soon that I’ve uninstalled the quick start buttons, and restore them for me.

But other than that, the installation went smoothly. I probably didn’t have to uninstall those bits of software, but did anyway. After the initial re-boot, I pretty much sat back and watched.

And watched.

And watched.

Worked a crossword puzzle.

Fixed dinner.

Ate it.


Watched football.


You get the idea.

I’m not sure if it’s easier yet. Like I said, I’m in about the first half hour with the OS. But when a friend of mine who’s a dyed-in-the-wool Mac guy told me at breakfast that this was a pretty good product, and I knew I could justify the upgrade as a business expense, I just went ahead and bought it today.

I’ll let you know about my impressions. As far as the installation goes, it was pretty painless. There were a couple of things on this confuser that had been a problem with Vista, so we’ll see if 7 clears those up. The most annoying of those was with some automatic updates that keep erroring out, and I hope that’s now fixed.

So, no recommendation yet, but since the Office Depot checkout guy told us that once the package was opened there were no refunds or exchanges … we’re committed now.


Speaking of Office Depot, there was something that just didn’t add up in the parking lot today. We’d just parked the car and were going into the store when a massive 4X4 pickup came down the lot … and drove around the speed bump. Now, here’s a truck that’s intended to be used off road, though it’s obvious that it had never been off the pavement. It’s one of the trucks that you see in the commercials having several tons of cement blocks being dropped in the back, or pounding through the desert, or running through the mud, tossing rocks the size of your head off like they were styrofoam in super slow motion. Rugged, manly, gas-guzzling truck … and the weenie behind the wheel decided to drive around a speed bump.


Which reminds me of the drive back from improv rehearsal in Orange Park a couple of weeks ago. A guy in a Prius tried to cut in front of me to get on the freeway, which I thwarted. But on cruise control on the freeway, heading up the incline on the Buckman Bridge … here comes Mr. Prius at about 80 … passing me on the right in his hybrid car.

Now, I don’t mind that he wants to prove that his glorified golf cart can go 80 miles an hour, uphill on the freeway, but doesn’t that kind of defeat the entire purpose of the hybrid? I’m think I’m pretty safe in saying it wasn’t the ELECTRIC motor that was making that happen. But he was finally ahead of me, which seemed to be the point, and I was on cruise control and pretty much beyond caring at that point. It was nice weather, the top was down, and my mileage was probably better than his at that point.

But it’s still not going to convince me that a Prius is a muscle car.


So, that’s kind of the news from lake Woebegone By-The-Sea. The Jaguars had a bye this week, so at least they didn’t lose. Tomorrow is Monday, and it’s time to get back to Aero-News. Improv rehearsal tomorrow night and a show at The Comedy Zone on Tuesday.

And in 10 days it’s off to Tampa for the AOPA convention. The fun just never stops …



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Filed under Beach Living, Comedy Zone, Computer, Improv, Improv Comedy, Thoughts

Late Post

Just a couple of random thoughts.  We had a really good show at The Comedy Zone tonight.  Good, if a bit of a rowdy crowd.  They mostly stayed with us the entire show, and had some pretty good suggestions.  The team is gelling pretty well, too.  They’re a fun bunch to perform with.


My articles of incorporation are signed.  I’m waiting now for the final blessing from the state of Florida, and Broad Reach Communications will be a reality.  I’ve got one long-term client ready to go, and a couple of other interesting projects possible in the wings.


We got a full price contract on the townhouse up in Atlantic Beach today, thought we had dropped the price a couple of times since getting it on the market in December.  5 months is not bad in this market, and selling that place will be a bit like being able to push the “reset” button on a lot of things.  Not a lot of people are fortunate enough to have that happen.


It finally feels like we’re starting to turn the corner.  For real.  We still have a couple of major challenges ahead, so it’s not all a big party just yet.  But after the past half-year, it was time to get a break or two.  Nothing breeds success like success.  I’m hoping we’re on a roll.  I still have a lot of things to get together for my business.  No office yet, but maybe that’ll come later.  I’d love to have a little office out here at the beach, maybe even with a view.  But it’s not time to look quite that far ahead just yet.  I’ll get a couple of good projects under my belt, and see where it goes.  But it is nice to have goals.  In the meantime, just getting back to work will feel really good.  And the best revenge, they say, is living well.

So that’s what we’ll shoot for.



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Filed under Beach Living, Improv Comedy, Life, The Improv Effect, Thoughts


Michigan State seems to be way overmatched by North Carolina in the National Championship Game.  14 minutes and change to go and UNC leads 61-43.  MSU might as well be playing at home, as the game is in Detroit … but Carolina just seems to be too much for the Spartans to handle.  Still a lot of time to go, but it’s a big, long hill to climb.


Over in Tallahassee … the legislature is past the halfway point, and a body controlled by conservative Republicans, many of whom have taken a “no new taxes” pledge, are facing a deficit of $6.1 billion.  So, to provide political cover, they’ll turn to “user fees”.  From “Florida Capital News“:

If approved, they would hit everyone who drives a car, files a lawsuit, goes fishing or takes out the garbage. College tuition could zoom 15 percent.

The legislature has also “zeroed out” “Florida Forever” … the state’s signature preservation and conservation program.  It’s $300 million budget gone.  Still to come is a potential complete re-write of the business tax code.  It would be difficult to imagine a Republican legislature increasing taxes on businesses during a recession, but I suppose not impossible.  About 1200 state jobs are likely to be cut, 800 currently vacant but that still leaves a lot of state employees in a bind, and the rest likely facing salary cuts.  The session ends in 26 days.


The committee studying the City Budget begins crafting it’s recommendations tomorrow.  I joined this study late, but I’ve learned an incredible amount about how the city crafts it’s budget.  There are so many challenges in our consolidated government, and Jacksonville has been, by almost any measure, fairly fiscally responsible, but still finds it’s self with some serious challenges.  I think when the report is released that people will be surprised at how involved the process is, and yet how basic some of the issues are.  I know I have been.


I’ll likely spend some time Thursday at City Hall at the committee meeting discussing the city’s landfill dilemma.  I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days talking to people about the issue, from longtime political observers to current city councilmen and one who voted on the original contract.   There will be public comment on Thursday, along with another iteration of the Mayor’s presentation.  No matter what, it’s going to be close.


Wreck 295 cropDriving to improv rehearsal tonight, traffic was at a crawl on I-295 from I-95 to Old St. Augustine Road.   Why?  Someone had managed to flip an SUV in the eastbound lanes.  That’ll make for a really bad evening.  The only camera I had was the iPhone, and since we were staring to get moving again, it was difficult to get any composition on the shot.  I had to make sure I didn’t have a wreck myself while trying to get a shot of this carnage.  I hope everybody was OK.

And speaking of improv … yes we rehearse and I’m getting a little disappointed with people making the “you rehearse improv?” joke.  We rehearse to build trust among the players, to learn the structure of the games, to develop characters, to learn new games, and to laugh and have fun.  All to make sure the audience has the best possible experience.  And if you don’t believe it, just give it a shot sometime with no rehearsal.  Stand up in front of 50 to 100 people with someone you’ve never been on stage with before.  Get a relationship and location suggestion.  Build a scene.  Make it funny.


Nah, I wouldn’t want to do that either.

And now, with 10 minutes until midnight, and North Carolina running out the clock on their 5th national championship (tying Indiana), it’s time to get this up to the server and call it a night.



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Filed under Florida Budget, Florida Legislature, Improv, Improv Comedy, Local Government, Local Issues, Thoughts

The Riverside Arts Market

RAM-LOGO Today was the opening day of the Riverside Arts Market in Riverside (of all places) under the Fuller Warren Bridge.  The place was flat mobbed, and I hope they have the same kind of success in subsequent weeks.  Artwalk seems to do pretty well, but that’s once a month, and this event will be weekly while the weather cooperates.  It was a picture-perfect day in downtown Jacksonville, and The Improv Effect was invited to play a quick set at noon for the inaugural event.  A great time was had by all.

RAM Crowd

There were dozens of booths set up under the bridge … and I have to admit, I didn’t stop at a single one.  We were a little bit busy with some guerilla-prov, and then the set we played at noon.  The only problem was, with all the cacophony under the bridge, it was difficult for us to make ourselves heard.  We literally shouted as we played “Da-Do-Run-Run”, “Opera”, “Irish Drinking Song”, “Blind Line” “Ding”, “A,B,C”, and a few others.  Hopefully next time we’ll be up on the main stage, but even then, individual microphones would be very, very helpful.  That’s the one major problem with trying to perform in a setting like this.  It’s just darned difficult to be heard.

Heck, it’s difficult for us to be heard sometimes at “The Comedy Zone”.


So, we conga-lined through the crowd, stopped and played a few games at various places in the Market, and I think brought a few smiles to people faces.  Though there were a lot of smiles to be seen today.

So, I definitely recommend The Riverside Arts Market if you’re in downtown Jacksonville on a Saturday afternoon.  It’s actually worth the trip from the beach, and not just when you might see a fun improv troupe perform.   I really hope it becomes as successful as Artwalk.  It should.  The space has been constructed specifically for this event, the vendors had to be thrilled with the turnout, and even the parking was free.TIE RAM Mayor

What’s not to like?  You might even get your picture taken with the Mayor.


The rest of the day was spent on such mundane things as a 17 mile bike ride, I FINALLY got the leaves up out of the front yard so the grass has a hope of turning green and the we FINALLY got around to painting the master bathroom of the townhouse we have for sale.  Our lady of blessed ibuprofen don’t fail me now.



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Filed under Art, Improv Comedy, Life, Photography, Riverside Arts Market, The Improv Effect, Thoughts

Nothing is Catching My Eye

Days just merging one to another … a sameness that is making me concerned about my future.  I attended two Chamber of Commerce functions today.  The first was a meeting of the Business Advocacy committee … and then the Beaches council lunch.  More schmoozing, more gripping and grinning, maybe something will come of it down the road.  I sure hope so.


Bret Favre is retiring … again.  Make it real this time, Bret.  Call it a career.  I would if I were you.  But I’m not you and I’ve never suited up to play in the NFL.  What a rush that must be.  You were great … one of the greatest.  Maybe not so much any more.  Go out with what’s left of your dignity intact.  Don’t make me write a sketch like I did for “The Never-Ending Cher Farewell Tour”.


A couple more words on last night’s crowd at The Comedy Zone.  I mentioned last night that it was one of those groups who though sexual innuendo and 4th grade bathroom humor is just hysterical.  Every suggestion had to do with sex or poop.  And unfortunately, the few who were dominating the suggestions kept others from speaking up.  It happens.

There are a couple of those people in every crowd.  They usually make themselves known early.  They think “tampon” and “proctologist” are the funniest things ever, and that they’re the first ones to ever give us those suggestions.  Usually, we get at least one “They’re Gay” suggestion for a scene game.  I’m not sure why that’s supposed to be so funny, but apparently it’s the funniest thing ever.

Still, the bad audiences make the good ones so much better.

It was a pretty small crowd last night, which allowed the couple of wanna-be comedians in the audience even more prominent.  But, we worked through it.  And we had a good laugh about it after the show.

But that’s about it.  Things are going crashingly slowly.

Something will come along.  I’ve got to keep believing that.



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Filed under Football, Improv Comedy, Job Search, Sports Rant, Thoughts

Too Late for Much

Just 10 minutes to go to get something posted for today, so here we go.

The show went OK tonight, but it was one of those audiences … every suggestion was sexual or scatological.  And they always seem to think they’re the first ones to suggest such things.  Jeff at one point said something about “something about 4th grade”.  It didn’t help.  But it makes us better players to play through such a thing.  We’re off for 3 weeks now, so hopefully we’ll have better houses when we come back.

The job search continues. 

More tomorrow.


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Filed under Improv Comedy