Jason Specland: An Occasionally Funny Software Guy

Making it up as I go along. Always.

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 3)

A New Job!

As many of you may have noticed* I have been kind of quiet as of late**. Well the very big reason for that is because I’ve been busy hunting for a new job.

I’ve just completed my very first week as a Cloud Solution Architect for Microsoft. I am absolutely over-the-moon excited about this amazing opportunity. I’m still drinking from the firehose of figuring out this enormous company and my role in it, but thus far everyone’s been absolutely delightful.

* No one noticed, because no one reads this blog. It’s just for me.
** I also almost never post on it, so how would you (which is to say no one) ever know if I was quiet or not?

Classes and Performances – August and September

I’ll be teaching the following drop-in classes at the PIT:

Sun, 8/12: 6-9 PM
Sun, 9/2: 6-9 PM
Fri, 9/7: 7-10 PM

As per usual, the classes take place at Simple Studios, and cost $20 in cash. See you there!

I’m going to be on vacation for two weeks in August, so I won’t have many performances, but my Armory team, Falcon Toss (caw!) is performing on:

Fri, 8/31: 9 PM
Fri, 9/14: 9 PM

As per also usual, the shows take place at The Tank and cost $5 in cash or $6 with a credit card. See you there, too, hypothetical person who goes to all of my stuff!

Upcoming Performances and Classes in July

I’m going to be teaching the following PIT drop-in classes:

Saturday, 7/21, 6-9 PM
Saturday, 7/28, 6-9 PM
Saturday, 8/4, 6-9 PM

All drop-in classes are at Simple Studios, 134 W. 29th St., 2nd Fl. and cost $20 per person.

I’m also going to be performing in the following shows:

Sunday, 7/22, 8:30 PM I’ll be performing with “Gritty Reboot” as part of the “Moviepassers Premiere Night” show at the PIT Loft, 154 W. 29th St. (between 6th and 7th Ave.). $8

Friday, 7/27, 9:30 PM I’ll be performing with “Falcon Toss,” my new house team at The Armory. The Armory shows take place at The Tank theater, which is at 312 West 36th St. $5

See you there!

Drop-In Improv Classes at the PIT: June

I’ll be teaching the following drop-in improv classes at the PIT. All classes are at Simple Studios, 134 W 29th St, 2nd Floor, and cost $20.

Please note that the times of Saturday and Sunday drop-in classes have changed. They now run from 6-9 PM.

Objects Have Power Friday, June 15, 7-10 PM
Building a Character from the Outside In and the Inside Out Sunday, June 17, 6-9 PM
Building a Character from the Outside In and the Inside Out Friday, June 29, 7-10 PM

For more information, and the complete PIT drop-in schedule go the Drop-In Practices page on the PIT website.

See you there!

POSTPONED – Upcoming Workshop at the Armory

This workshop has been postponed. I will update here when a new date has been chosen.

I’ll be doing my “Listening and Reacting with Emotion” workshop on Sunday, May 27th, from 1-4 PM at Simple Studios. The workshop is associated with the Armory, and not the PIT who is my usual employer. But just the same, any old person can join in for the usual price of $20. (Armory Performers only pay $12! So if you’re an Armory performer, and have been waiting to take one of my workshops, this would be a super-great chance!)

Sign Up Here!

Upcoming Classes!

I’ll be teaching the following PIT Drop-In Classes. All classes are at Simple Studios, 134 W 29th St, 2nd Floor, and cost $20.

Please note that the times of Saturday and Sunday Drop-In Classes have changed. They now run from 6-9 PM.

Objects Have Power Friday, May 11, 7-10 PM
Invest, Don’t Invent Friday, May 18, 7-10 PM
Listening and Reacting with Emotion Sunday, May 20, 6-9 PM

See you there!

Upcoming Shows!

SECRET INFINITY CRISIS OF CHAMPIONS, Thursday, May 3, 9:30, The PIT
Some of Earth’s mightiest heroes (and many of the not-quite-so-mightiest heroes) have been transported from their home worlds by the evil Mojo, and will be forced to face mankind’s greatest fear: performing improv. I will be playing the role of Mojo, the producer and extra-dimensional puppet master.
Purchase Tickets

THE AUSTEN FAMILY PLAYERS, Wednesday, May 9, 8:00, The PIT LOFT
A troupe of English improvisers has been transported from the year 1813, and they are most delighted to be making their debut performance on Yankee soil. They will dazzle you with a montage of such characters and scenes as are certain to divert you famously, and your evening will be well spent in gazing upon their fine countenances as they engage in charades for your express entertainment. I will most likely be portraying a rakish bachelor of considerable wealth who is most desirous to marry a proper lady equal to my station.
Purchase Tickets

Upcoming Drop-In Classes at the PIT

I’ll be teaching some drop-in classes at the PIT in March:

Listening and Reacting with Emotion: Sunday, March 18, 2018, 3-6 PM
Objects Have Power: Friday, March 23, 2018, 7-10 PM

Only $20 for 3 hours!

Check out the PIT website for more info.

GEORGE/MARTHA Extends Run at the Peoples Improv Theater

GEORGE/MARTHA has extended its run for three more shows at the Peoples Improv Theater.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 7 P.M. [Purchase Tickets]
This show will be at the PIT Underground, at 123 E. 24th St., between Park and Lex.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 9 P.M. [Purchase Tickets]
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 9 P.M. [Purchase Tickets]
These shows will be at the PIT LOFT, at 154 W. 29th St., between 6th & 7th Avenues.

2016 Year in Review

The year 2016 is nearly over and has been legendarily awful. But the things that were awful were big things. Things over which I had little control. When examining the things over which I had more substantial control in 2016, the year takes on a significantly rosier hue.

Things That Remained Awesome in 2016

My wife, son, and I remain in good health, and my wife and son continue to be amazing people.

My friends are not only amazing human beings, but are uniquely funny and talented. Sometimes I take for granted what an amazing creative group I’ve surrounded myself with. I forget what rarified air I’m privileged to walk in.

I continue to have an excellent job with an excellent company that is intellectually challenging and pays enough for me to comfortably raise a family.

Things That Became Newly Awesome in 2016

I went to England for the first time and spent two weeks with my wife’s wonderful family. I’m fortunate to have an exceptionally good relationship with my in-laws. And England is pretty awesome all by itself.

My talented wife was cast by the Harlem Repertory Theater, so she was in a bunch of incredible shows and got paid for it. It’s about time that the world recognized how gosh darn talented Paula is.

Paula and I finally got a hold on our finances this year. We weren’t doing badly, but we were living slightly beyond our means. In 2016 we made significant progress in our finances, and we’re on track to be debt-free in 2017.

I ended my PIT house team exile, and was recast on a team. I strongly believe that I was recast, not because I became significantly better at improv, but because I turned around a self-defeating attitude, so being recast represented a significant personal victory. But, I wasn’t just cast on any ordinary team. I was cast on “Regina,” one of the greatest groups I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a member of. I’ve been cast with plenty of funny people before, but never before have I been with a group of funny people who work so well together and share a common artistic vision.

Speaking of talented people I get to work with, Adrian Sexton and I finally put up our “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” improv show we’d been talking about for years, and it was a rousing success. Rory Scholl and I got to do a killer set at a two-prov tournament in front of Armando Diaz, my very first longform improv teacher. The three of us are going to create some killer comedy in the new year.

I coached a group for much of the year, and it’s been a delight watching them become stronger and more confident in their performances. As is often the case, the teacher is also the student, and coaching this group has finally given me enough confidence to pursue my dream of teaching improv.

I got to perform my first two out-of-town gigs and my first out-of-town festival with the Austen Family Improv Players.

At work I was promoted to Architect. (software architect, not building architect) There were some difficult projects in 2016, but they are now behind me and the future looks exciting and challenging. I didn’t get to do as much conference speaking as I’d like, but the one talk that I did give went extremely well.

Things (beside the obvious) that Sucked in 2016

My dad has cancer. He’s not out of the woods yet, but thank God his treatment is going well.

I had several bouts of deep depression. I had terrible anxiety attacks, one of which prevented me from enjoying the company of some friends I hadn’t seen in years. I didn’t see a therapist even once, even though I clearly should.

I spent way too much time on unproductive pursuits, consuming an abundance of media that was ultimately unhealthy.

What About 2017?

So it’s looking like the big things — the things over which I have little to no control — will be pretty terrible in 2017. But on a personal level, things look like they’re going to be pretty okay. I’ve recommitted myself to accomplishing concrete goals. (But hey, doesn’t everyone do that this time of year?)

I just pray that the truly big, historical forces aren’t so terrible that they collide with my personal sphere.

Older posts