Sunday, March 29, 2020

Neighbourhood Window Walk - Flowers

I've been making sure that we have something up for the folk who are counting homes and images for Neighbourhood Window Walk.

Today is flowers. Manon drew the whimsical ones in the middle.

I left up the encouraging words from Thursday because they might be good for people who aren't even doing the window walk.

Wednesday is "jokes". I haven't quite figured out how I'll put my "I don't know you, you don't know me, they don't know us, we don't know them" joke on the window.

More info on the Window Walk:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Hand washing songs

Last Wednesday, I was out for work, found myself washing my hands and remembered that we're supposed to sing Happy Birthday twice to make it a good 20 second wash.

But Happy Birthday is boring, and, let's be honest, annoying. Also, one of my self-improvement goals is to learn a new song every month and practise the songs I know. So, I decided I should find some new 20-second song parts to work on when I wash my hands.

Then I realized that I should share this with the world through a blog post.

A few minutes later, I got back to my computer and opened Laura Olin's email newsletter. Item 4 had a link to a Twitter thread on 20-second alternatives to Happy Birthday.

Which goes to show that it's hard to be the first person to do something.

Then yesterday, Boing Boing gave a link to an elegant poster generator created by a young developer named William Gibson (apparently not the cyberpunk author) whose generator helped me create this poster that illustrates my current hand washing practice:

Hand washing poster with lyrics from the Wreck of the Old 97

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

The Office Prop Comic - #5 Magic Tape

Another great prop from the supply cabinet:
  1. Get a box of Magic Tapetm.
  2. If you have to use the tape, remove it. But I like to leave it in because it adds verisimilitude. 
  3. When somebody comes by your cubicle, show them the box. 
  4. Say: “Look, magic tape!” 
  5. Stand up. Hum or sing meaningless syllable to a suitable tune throughout the following steps. 
  6. Hold the box in front of you using the thumbs and first fingers of both hands. 
  7. Gently wave the box back and forth and up and down.
  8. Put both hands behind your back, holding the box in only one of them. 
  9. Bring the box back to the front with the other hand. Repeat steps 8 to 10 once, twice, or as often as you think your audience will stand for it. 
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9, but this time, do not bring the box to the front. You have several options:
    1. Only bring out one hand, keeping the box in the other hand. 
    2. Tuck the box into the top of your pants. 
    3. Throw the box somewhere behind you that the other person can’t see. 
    4. Use some sleight of hand trick to make the box vanish. 
  11. Say: “It really is magic!” 
  12. If you chose option 12a, put your empty hand behind you, and then bring the box to the front with that hand. 
  13. If you chose option 12b, bring both empty hands to the front to the front to show them. Then put your hands behind you and bring the box out. 
  14. If you chose option 12c, turn around to show that the box is gone and you are not hiding it. 
  15. If you chose option 12d, you are more of a master at this sort of thing than I am and know better what you can do, but maybe at step 1, you got two boxes of Magic Tapetm and you’ll be able to take the second box out of somewhere completely surprising like the peace lilly plant that is behind your audience member or their jacket pocket.

Monday, December 02, 2019

The Office Prop Comic - #4 Invisible Tape

My favourite office comic props are the ones you get in the supply cabinet.

  1. Get a box of Invisible Tapetm.
  2. Remove the tape roll from the box. 
  3. Put the tape in a drawer or put it on the tape dispenser you managed to acquire when somebody retired. Do not take it home to wrap Christmas presents because that would be stealing. 
  4. Close the empty box. Put it on your desk. 
  5. When somebody comes by your cubicle, say: “look, invisible tape” and show them the box.
  6. Open the box.
  7. Take great satisfaction from their amazed reaction.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Office Prop Comic - #3 Mixed nut can with spring-loaded snake

We all love the exploding snake, but for this experience in office prop comedy you will play the long game.

These days, everyone recognizes the skinny “Fancy Salted Mixed Nuts” can that the exploding snakes come in. So you can't just start with the snake-loaded can.

Here is what you do:

  1. Remove the snake from the can and put it somewhere safe. 
  2. Fill the can with tasty salted mixed nuts (or go salt-free if you must.)
  3. When someone comes by your office who you know is not allergic to nuts, hold out the closed can and offer some. “No thanks,” they will say. “Okay,” you reply, “but I feel like a couple." 
  4. Open the can and eat some of the tasty nuts. 
  5. Repeat #3 and #4 until your victim coworker comes to expect nuts. This may take months. Especially if you are bringing along multiple victims members of your office audience. 
  6. When people have come to believe the can actually contains nuts, swap out the nuts for the snake. 
  7. Let the hilarity ensue.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Office Prop Comic - #2 Finnegan Puppet

Bring a hand puppet of a little dog to meetings. When you need to say something that might be unpopular, have the puppet whisper in your ear and then act like you are shocked by what it’s saying, “What’s that, Finnegan, the quarterly projections are based on bad assumptions?” Have the puppet nod enthusiastically and whisper more. “They need to be redone?” Take it from there.

Warning: Do not have the puppet insult people. People who have been insulted by puppets have been known to harm those puppets. Save the insults for when you are alone with Finnegan.

[For non-Canadians, or those too young to know about the original Finnegan, try this Youtube that shows him whispering to Casey or this full episode of Mr. Dressup.]

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Office Prop Comic - #1 Foam Brick

Many people like to be appreciated in the office for their humour. Some specialize in puns. But let’s face it, nobody likes a punster. It used to be, certain guys specialized in dirty jokes. Not only is that creepy, it’s a route to a harassment charge and a justified dismissal. That’s why I advocate, partially in honour of the sad death of Rip Taylor, that aspiring office comedians consider becoming the office prop comic.

In this new series of blog posts, I will give you some simple ideas to get you started.

Foam brick

The key thing with the foam brick is to only use it on yourself. In the 80s, I had a colleague who would ask, “do you want me to throw a brick at your head?” and even throw their foam brick.

But today, that’s likely to result in a visit from HR and questions about threatening and committing violence.

Instead, you say, “I don’t need a brick in the head to know we have to change direction."

Then pause and act like you're not so sure. "Or maybe not...”

Take a brick out of your desk, clonk yourself on the head with it and then say, “Apparently, I do need a brick in the head. We have to change direction.”

Of course, that's just an example. You can use the brick in the head for anything that ought to seem obvious.