Jason Specland: An Occasionally Funny Software Guy

Making it up as I go along. Always.

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 3)

Thursday Links

Nothing about the “Future of SharePoint” here. That’s been covered to death.

Making Your REST Calls Simpler by Changing the Metadata Setting by Marc D. Anderson (sympmarc). Help your SharePoint REST calls be a little less “chatty.” But, as Anders Austad points out, it must be enabled for use on-prem. (Also, it requires SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1. You are on SP1 by now, right?)

FREE Office365 and AzureAD for Developers course on Udemy by Sahil Malik. Haven’t gone through it myself yet (it’s 7.5 hours long) but the source is an extremely well-trusted one.

Death by GPS, at Ars Technica. People blindly follow technology, get into trouble. Film at 11.


Computer Geeks to the Left, Improv Nerds to the Right

Since I was tired of conflating my two online personalities here, I’ve created a new blog about SharePoint and other technologies that I work and fool around with.  If you wish to follow it, you can find it at http://www.jayspecthetech.com.  If you’re Twitter inclined, you can follow @jayspecthetech. The rest of you improv nerds and people actually interested in my personal life, you can stay right where you are.  🙂

Never Tell Me the Odds

Like many, I purchased a Power Ball ticket today.  I usually buy a single Quick-Pick ticket for every drawing for which the prize is greater than $100 million.  I know the statistics are way against me, but for $2 I can fantasize for a while about what it would be like to be utterly, ridiculously wealthy.

I used to wait for it to go to $175 million, so I’d have a positive expected value.  Then they changed the price of the Power Ball to $2, raising the expected value bar considerably higher.  Then I realized that the expected value calculation is meaningless since I’m not immortal, and drawings don’t occur every nanosecond.

Part of the fantasy relies on the fact that the odds are so utterly, completely remote that human beings can’t possibly conceive them.  So I tried a thought experiment to see if we can get the sheer incredible unlikelihood of winning into something I can comprehend.

Imagine you’re in a completely full football stadium, filled to the brim with 100,000 people.  They announce a raffle, in which they’re going to randomly pick a ticket, and whoever is sitting in that seat wins.  You’re one person in this football stadium.  How do you like your chances?  Not impossible, sure, but it’s not like you’re going to be the farm.

Now imagine that there are not one but ten, completely full to the rafters football stadiums, each filled with 100,000 people.  And they’re still going to pick only one seat from only one of these ten stadiums to see who wins.  Really try to imagine it… Ten football stadiums, filled utterly and completely with fans, all right next to each other.  (Oy, the traffic when this contest is over!)  How do you like your chances now?

Got that image in your head?  Feeling the sheer remoteness of winning a contest with this one-seat-in-ten-football-stadiums scenario?

Now imagine 1,752 completely full football stadiums.


Get Out of Your Head By Making a Fist

Found on kottke.org by way of the Next Draft Newsletter:

Study: Athletes Perform Better Under Pressure When They Make a Fist With Their Left Hand

Apparently, the act of squeezing your left hand focuses the activity on the right hemisphere of your brain. The right hemisphere is focused on the mechanics of taking action. It also disengages the left hemisphere, which is where “freaking out under pressure” is concentrated.

Can this work for improvisers? It might be impractical to justify why you’re making a fist all the time. But maybe I’ll give it a try once or twice and see…

Upcoming Shows: 9/20/2012

I’m doing a lot of stuff this week at the Peoples Improv Theater. (123 E. 24th St., between Park and Lexington Avenues.)

PITch (Musical Improv open jam)
The PIT Underground
Thursday, September 20, 2012, 6 PM
Join me and some of my musical house team friends for an open jam of improvised musical mayhem. A perfect way to get your feet wet in a fun, low-pressure environment.

East Side Orphan Riot (Musical Improv)
The PIT Underground
Thursday, September 20, 2012, 8 PM
$5 (FREE if you get you attend PITch and get your hand stamped)
Watch us make up a brand new musical before your very eyes! Who needs a “score” or a “book” or “any idea what we’re actually going to do before we do it?” Followed by the sexily talented group “Harvey.”

The PIT Mainstage (Striker Theater)
Monday, September 24, 2012, 7 PM
It’s a massive puppet variety show! Watch us bring fur and felt to life in a completely silly manner. Special non-puppet guest star Glennis McCarthy of the Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy.

The PIT Underground
Monday, September 24, 2012, 9 PM
I team up once again with my non-musical house team buddies. For a raunchy good time, call 1-800-LONDON. Why raunchy? I don’t know. We’re like a bunch of high school kids when we’re together. But it’s funny, man.

I Trust… Beth White
The PIT Underground
Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 7 PM
In “I Trust…” The PIT’s amazing Donna Lobello picks a new partner with which to perform two-prov. Additionally, she brings in two other two-prov groups to share the evening with her. That’s where Kathryn and I come in. Our two-prov group, Marmalade, makes me so giddily happy it’s not funny. Well, actually, it is funny. That’s rather the point.


New Personal Rules

Based on recent experiences, some new rules to live my life by:

1. My worth as a human being does not depend on the quality of my performance.

I’m no good at judging myself by them anyway. A good show results in an inner monologue that says, “Hey, that wasn’t too bad,” and continues on its merry way. A bad one results in days upon days of depression and self loathing.

2. Sleep is important. I will not neglect this essential need.

The difference in my mood and productivity after a good night’s sleep is astounding. Why do I keep neglecting this essential function?

3. When I perform, I will do so with purpose and conviction.

I’ve performed on stage consistently my entire adult life, and I have performed improv for most of that time. I do not need “stage time” for its own sake. If I get up on a stage it will be in service to a show with a clear purpose, and not just to “screw around.” Following through with Rule 3 will probably help with Rule 1.

4. I will work towards my dreams every day.

My life is too short and too valuable to screw around doing nothing. The Internet is a drug that works by stimulating the part of the brain that craves novel information. I will not let this drug enslave my mind and obliterate my dreams.

5. I will clearly envision and refine my dreams every week.

I will take time to steer the ship, and make sure that the things that I’m doing are pushing me towards goals that I actually want to accomplish. The vivid vision of the artist I want to be will propel me through the agonizing self-doubt that comes from actually doing creative work.

My Continued Employment Endangers Air Travel

Five years ago, on the day of my five-year employment anniversary luncheon, Cory Lidle fatally crashed his plane into the side of an apartment building on the Upper East Side.

Today is my ten-year luncheon. Yesterday, a helicopter crashed into the East River around 34th St.

Coincidence? Yes.

CANCELLED: Show at The PIT: Vorpal and Friends

UPDATE: The snow has abated from the sky, but not the streets or subways. This show is CANCELLED. See you in January for “Through the Laughing Glass IV!”

Once the snow abates, you will need to poke your head out from beneath the tons of accumulated powder. You’ve been snowbound in your claustrophobic New York apartment for days. You will be desperate for mirth and merriment. Perhaps of the improvised kind…

That’s where we come in.

VORPAL! Monday, December 27, 2010 at the People’s Improv Theater!

Where’s that? 154 West 29th Street, between 6th and 7th Ave.* Here, let me draw you a map:

View Larger Map

*It won’t be here for much longer, but it will be there for this performance.

With special guests:

Kelly Davis
No Laugh Track Required
The Heat Miser (booking still tentative)

$5 buys you all this comedy in a heated theater! Why, that’s cheaper than heating oil!

Vorpal is:

Kathryn Dunn
Jason A. Specland
Colin Longstaff
Daniel Operman
A Partridge in a Pear Tree (booking still tentative)

WTF, Pandora?

Look, Pandora. I love the Beatles as much as the next guy, but like they say on Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the others…”

Contrasting Things

Two contrasting things I’ve been into lately:

1. I’ve been trying to dress nicely. With my collection of tee shirts, jeans, and khakis for work I was feeling a bit like I was still dressing like a teenager. First I went shopping at Macy’s. (Well, first I went to Bloomingdale’s, saw a pair of pants that cost more than my rent, and left.) Then, and I know I’m so late to this party that I arrived just as the dishes were being put away, I discovered eBay. In any case, I’ve been putting on nicer clothes lately.

2. At work I’ve been doing a long, miserable slog through my database that involves a lot of manual labor and almost no actual creativity. To pass the time, I’ve set Pandora to blast my face with Heavy Metal for hours on end. There’s something about the unending repetition of face-melting power chords that allows me to concentrate.

So, if you need me, I’ll be the guy in the corner in the jacket and tie listening to Metallica.

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