Improv: You Still Have a Death Scene

Yesterday I started Improv 101 with April at Merlin Works.  Hands-down, it’s the best class I’ve taken, and considering it involved me + strangers playing together, this is saying a great deal.  Usually me + strangers is akin to cats + water or maybe even polar bears + desert (which makes for great Sci-Fi, but since no one calls me Cassiopeia and I don’t hang out with a group renegade space pirates called the Starjammers, it’s still a bad mix).  I didn’t notice the time until we had about 15 minutes left.  (Usually, when I’m in the throes of truly loathing something, I can feel each painful minute, purposely and with great directed malice, ticking by.

What I learned (aside from how to pick a thumb buddy):  How to fail.  This class made failing fun, because all of us celebrated our failure by throwing our arms over our head, smiling broadly and receiving a heavy round of applause from the rest of the class.  In fact, sometimes it was actually worth failing for that applause.  When you’d fail, you’d acknowledge it and immediately move on – no time to dwell.  And everyone failed, which helped me realize I’m actually not alone when it comes to screwing things up.  I may need to start doing this in other settings.

My favorite line from the class during “Slow Motion Samurai”: “Beth, the game isn’t over just because you died. You still have a death scene.”

Next favorite line directed at me from another student: “She has SCARY eyes!”  This is how I won invisible tug-of-war.  I just channeled my brother-in-law’s face from a Kendo class we took long ago where I’d been called-out for being intimidated by him.  Hey, he can make a super SCARY face!!!

To give you a better idea of what happens there, if you’re on Facebook, look up “Merlin Works” in the search window and find the latest video posted from their Improv Mixer.  There you’ll see “Rock, Paper, Scissors” – a game everyone knows that we played on our first day of class and hands-down the most fun I’ve had playing that game.  The set-up:  Everyone breaks into pairs and plays until there is a winner.  The loser then becomes part of the winner’s entourage of super fans and follows them as they challenge other competitors (and that competitor’s crazy group of fans) until finally you have half the class cheering one guy and the other half cheering-on the other in a final match-up.

I’m already looking forward to the next class.  Why does Saturday have to be six long days away?

Update for Charla

Since my step-mom uses this blog as an update on what’s going on (or what I’m thinking about) and I’ve been really bad about posting lately, I thought I’d update her. My apologies to the rest of you who probably are a couple of seconds from yawning if you go much past this sentence.

Sam – A few weeks ago she had a set-back. The right side of her face became paralyzed (previously it was her left side). Fortunately, since we’d been through this on her left side with visits to the neorologist, cat scans, spinal taps – all that kind of fun, we got her to the vet immediately and the recovery has gone a lot faster. Sam still can’t blink with either eye. So poor Sam, four times a day we try to convince her that sitting patiently while we smear goop in her eyes is fun. Of course, the peanut butter covered pills help. Although, she’d prefer those to the eye full of goop. Sam’s left eye now blinks more regularly, but it’s not consistent. Despite all of this and the added trouble of the cats popping her every time she looks at them wrong, Sam is one of the happiest and goofiest little dogs around.

Bowling – April is the last month of bowling and I plan on ending as the worst bowler of the year. WOO HOOO! You see, we get a ranking list once a week and there’s my name right there towards the bottom. “Suckiest Bowler in the History of Our League: Beth”. The handout used to include a “Least Improved” listing, but someone thought that was a little mean and they removed it. Still, I know in my heart that my name is there in the software.

Work Stuffs – I’m in the process of working towards a CAPM certification and should have it by the middle of the summer. This is the first step to me eventually getting a PMP certification (I just need the hours). Basically, I’ll be an authority on acronyms and will have a lovely piece of heavy paper with my legal name on it (yippee). I’m hopeful it will also include one of those little gold embossed thingies to make it look all official like.


  • Anna lost a bet and will be treating me to a fun-filled vacation day in the next couple of months. YAY!
  • It’s still not too late to get your Dragon Con tickets (Aug. 28-Sep. 1) for my 40 1/2 birthday. Guests are signing up and so far it looks like a decent BSG turn-out. I’ll be the one cheering madly in the front.
  • Lance’s Band the Killer Crocs of Uganda is performing at Momo’s on April 5, 11pm
  • Colt, April & Jonathan celebrate their birthdays in April. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (Now I don’t owe you cards.)
  • I still need people to come help me design a garden and give me lawn advice!!! HELP ME PLEASE! (I’m not kidding.)
  • …and I’m plum out of updates

Doggedly Loyal: A How To Guide

How to be a Better Girlfriend

Jonathan and I were having an email exchange today and he confessed to not knowing “when to say attagirl,” or “OMG, girlfriend! You were wronged! What an (insert colorfully appropriate adjective)!” in support of your female friend. Seeing that I’ve mastered the art of being doggedly loyal, I decided to create a little “how to” guide to help him along.

Here’s the key to being doggedly loyal when it comes to your friends. The most important rule to remember is there is no fence sitting on an issue. You always choose a side and the right side is the one your friend is standing on. If your friend says they were wronged, then it’s 100% gospel, they were wronged. Don’t even worry yourself with trying to see both sides. There are no two sides. There’s the one side. The one your friend is on and let me say again for emphasis, that’s the “right” side.

The only time you need to worry about offering an unbiased opinion is when the problem might split a good friendship. If you tap into your psychic powers where you can divine the future and that future is looking a tad bleak then you might timidly offer up your differing opinion. Do this only after the person has finished venting because differing opinions = bad 99% of the time. Do it in a meek way. Approach the friend quietly, keeping your head low and eyes averted to the ground. If the friend shows any signs of aggression, tuck into a little ball and cover your head. If that doesn’t work, roll onto your back and stick your arms and legs straight up into the air. There’s a good chance the friend will mistake you for dead and just move on.

Let’s assume you didn’t have to play dead and move on to the next tip. Another important thing to do while your friend is venting is to occasionally interject with supportive commentary that proves the friend’s points. You can never go wrong with phrases like “mmm hmmm”, “Amen” or “sing it, sister!” If they say someone is scum of the earth, then you can list types of scum (mold, mildew – anything that Tilex will clean up will do) to show your unwavering support. Don’t go overboard, though. This is VERY important to remember because you can find you’ve said something that your friend doesn’t agree with. Nothing makes you look less informed than interjecting something like “and they’re bad singers, too” only to find out your friend owns all their albums. The next thing you know you’ve stepped in the proverbial “it” and that friend’s anger has just turned on you.

As a doggedly loyal friend, your job is to be a flame fanner – wave your arms around like a fool to keep things going, but keep a safe enough distance so that you’re not engulfed. If the flames start licking your way remember “play dead”. Fire heading your way = bad. Most fires are flash fires and burn out quickly. Just remember it’s best to let it burn rather than trying to stomp out a blaze in your tennis shoes (aka trying to make your friend “see reason”).

Something else to remember is that it’s not enough to go through the motions of being on your friend’s side by flapping your gums in support or putting on a supportive little puppet show, you’ve got to feel it in your gut.

Now off you go! You’re already a better friend!

And April, that woman better not cross my path any time soon because I’ll jerk her head so hard she’ll lose her mullet.