|Michael McDonald :: acting blog consulting noel contact|
A couple weeks ago I participated in the 24-hour film festival put on by the Meisner Technique Studio in SF.
I had never been in a 48-hour festival, much less a 24-hour festival...
On the heels of the last update, I have added a new type of notation for resolving variables and tags:
You can now require that a variable be resolved by Noel by using this notation:...
I'm not your typical rapid developer: Java, not php/python/ruby, is my language of choice. I probably don't qualify as a great hacker by Paul Graham's standards. I abhor PHP and though I love Ruby as a scripting language I just don't trust it to be as maintainable as Java after several years of optimization and evolution.
This was my process for making it to Burning Man this year:
To hell with perfection, with self-improvement. I want to be authentic. Being authentic means being ME, being my best self, without fear, without withholding, without inhibitions. Becoming authentic is a process of elimination. Eliminate the fear, the bullshit, the nervous ticks, the autopilot responses. I will make mistakes. I will step on toes and piss people off. But by allowing my true self to come out, at least I will be ME.
It's always easier to write something negative, because there is so much more to say. To be positive, to be generous, requires few words but a lot more courage.
I have two cats and a preference for black chinos. These two things do not mix well, so I also have a number of lint rollers hidden away. As I was using the roller in my dresser, which is larger and feels stickier, it occurred to me that it was working much better than the roller at the entrance to my apartment. The quality of the roller is not something people think about when buying one, so what's to stop companies from continually skimping and creating crappier and crappier lint rollers?
Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
Which of those things can you still change? Think long and hard about this. There is a good chance that almost every regret, every wrong turn, every unresolved issue in your life can be corrected or at least forgiven. Take responsibility for living your life.
As a stage actor I have learned the value of stillness. If someone else is speaking, I (usually) shouldn't be moving. If the focus should be somewhere else I need to be still so that I don't 'pull focus', distracting the audience from the plot and the action. My reactions and motions are ripples naturally compelled by the action in the scene, rather than preconceived motions or some intent of 'acting'.
One of the basic artifices of film acting is the 'mark': often a small 'T' taped on the ground marking where you are supposed to stand and the direction you should be facing at some point during the shot. This ensures that the actor is in the basic position that the camera expects, with the right framing, profile, direction of focus, etc. that the director wants to see on the screen at that moment. This all made perfect sense to me, or so I thought.
Most website usability is the equivalent of a door-to-door salesman chasing you down the street, getsiculating wildly, insulting you, then leaving without saying what he was trying to sell. Usability professionals are angry people because no one seems to think that this is a problem.
I switched from Windows to OS X about a year and a half ago. I am generally happier now, but there are some annoyances in OS X that have given me a new respect for Windows; in particular, Windows is much better than OS X when it comes to consistent, powerful keyboard shortcuts. MacOS has always been very mouse-centric, and keyboard shortcuts feel like they are tacked-on as an afterthought. (E.g it is possible, but physically painful, to navigate application menus using the keyboard.)
My biggest pet peeve here is OS X's assignment of the Home and End keys to scroll to the beginning or end of a window, instead of moving the cursor to the beginning or end of the line.
If you are a programmer, read this article: Programmers Need To Learn Statistics Or I Will Kill Them All. Maybe I have a soft spot for curmudgeonry from working for Prof. Soloway years ago, but Zed has a very good point and I was guilty of many of the things he's complaining about, happily calculating naked means and saying 1% sounds like a good ratio. Bad Mike.
Here's an interesting parallel: personal productivity and website usability.
In the 'Getting Things Done' system, a Project is a broad term, encompassing anything (working towards some sort of result) that involves more than one action. Starting a business is a project, as is taking a vacation. Even baking a cake is a Project: you need to find a recipe, shop for ingredients, then actually prepare and bake the cake. One of the major reasons that Projects become 'stuck' is because they are defined too broadly, or they are so complex and intimidating that we are uncertain how the Project can ever be finished.
Since I have had some free time on my hands recently, I have been hitting the books to sharpen my skills and learn some new ones. My latest focus has been on reading Getting Things Done and implementing it. I had my reservations, as I have doubts about most self-help and planning books: they are usually incomplete (creating more problems than they solve), too rigid (everything adds up nicely but the system is unusable by human beings), or too soft (lofty reminders of why you are here and what you want, but by the end you still don't know what to do next).
© 2013 Michael McDonald, . All rights reserved.