Who am I?

I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

Currently Consuming
  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    by Eric Ries
  • The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
    The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
    by Daniel Coyle
  • Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton
    by Ron Chernow

Paul Tevis

Entries in things i find amusing (25)


Moderation, Baby

This week’s Fourth Friday Challenge requires the explanation up front. Becky says: “Five minute, no-edit challenge. You are not allowed to backspace, correct, undo. Type for five minutes, then stop. If you want inspiration, start with thinking about the word PLANT.

bq.”I’m a plant.”
bq.”Don’t they usually call men like you a fruit?”
bq.”No, I work for the FBI.

I love Clue and its ilk. And by ilk, I mean movies and shows with impossible dialog. Conversations so witty no one could ever actually have them, but that deep down I hold out hope against hope that someone somewhere somehow could. So things like Oscar Wilde plays and Aaron Sorkin TV shows.

The odd thing is that I’m not at all tempted to try and create things like this myuself. I don’t do it in improv, I don’t do it in games, and I don’t do it in my writing. And eyet I love, love, loev it. (By the way, this no backspacing thing is annoying. Thanks becky.)

So that’s funny. The sense I had was that one of the reasons I don’t try to write that kind of humor is that it requires too much polishing. And hyet here I am getting annoyed about not being able to polish my work. I guess I’m all about the happy medium.


Fitness: Pushups (12-13-10-10-15)
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 529 words, 373 seven-day average, 273 average, 40681 total, 319 to go for the week; 16-day streak

When We Stopped Laughing, We Explained

As I was getting ready to leave work, I put together a Frequently Asked Questions document for the project I’ve been working on. Which reminded me of a moment last summer, when when I was in our office in Lausanne.

One of the developers there was getting ready to move to a new job, so he’d put together some documentation to help with the transition. Like the rest of the people who work in that office, his first language was French, so he spoke fluent but slightly accented English. As he reported out to the team he made repeated and punctuated references to the FAQ he’d prepared. I know some people who spell the acronym out when they say it out loud: “F-A-Q.” I tend to treat it as a word, one that rhymes with “back.” He did the latter as well, though with his accent the vowel landed somewhere between an “e” and a “u.”

I’m sure I’ve said similarly funny things in other languages.

As part of our Fourth Friday Challenge series, Becky says: “i want the funny! share with us a little gem from your happy memory box, a story or a visual or brief moment that always makes you chuckle.”


Fitness: One Hundred Pushups, Week 1, Day 3 (8-10-7-7-13)
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 362 words, 316 seven-day average, 262 average, 29846 total, 154 to go for the week

If I Have To Explain This, It's Not Funny

Last Wednesday, a group of us went down to IO West to watch some Harold teams perform. The Harold is an improv format developed by Del Close. According to improv legend the name is a reference to George Harrison’s “What do you call your hairstyle?” comment.1

This was undoubtedly in my head last week when one of my co-workers and I started working on some build and test automation code. We realized we needed a new class, but it wasn’t yet clear what the class should be called. Our experience with TDD has taught us that we shouldn’t spend too much time coming up with the right name before we’ve coded it, so we’ve started using placeholder names to get us going. So when she asked, “What should we call this class?” I replied, “We can call it anything for now. We’ll fix it when we refactor. Just call it Harold.”

Then today, as were still working with the code, we realized we needed another similar class to work alongside it. So we called it Maude.


Fitness: Rest day
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 344 words, 214 seven-day average, 256 average, 22812 total

1 Answer: “Arthur.”


Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

On Monday, I made up stories with no preparation.

Actually, I helped make up stories, along with four other people, but that’s not as strong a lead. Five of us from my improv troupe are experimenting with some long-form work. On Monday, we did a Harold that ran for about forty-five minutes. We started with nothing, and I like to think that we put together something interesting.

On Friday I’ll be making up stories with about two months preparation.

Again, that’s not quite true, as I’ll be working with about thirty other people to make it happen. Friday is the next Dying Kingdoms LARP; the last one was Easter weekend, and the one before that was in February. Because there are only six games a year (of which I will probably miss two), there’s a strong tendency to “get ready” for them. I’ve only got a few hours every few months to accomplish my character’s goals, so I want to be prepared. This weekend, for example, I spent several hours pulling together the background material I have about the world to see if there was something I had missed that I could use. (The answer was yes, several things.) The amount of time I spend preparing is minuscule compared to some of the other players and staff.

My Monday and my Friday are a study in contrasts. And I enjoy them both.


Fitness: Ran 3.5 miles
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 273 words, 263 seven-day average, 264 average, 18244 total

I'm Me All The Time

A friend of mine said to me this weekend, “From reading your blog, it seems like your life is an integrated whole.” By and large, that’s true. I’m a not a different person at work than I am at home. My hobbies and my professional interests interlock. I try to make everything I do reinforce everything else, and because there’s not enough time to try to live more than one life, I try to keep everything a single, coherent entity.

So it should come as no surprise that after I played a character in a LARP last night who couldn’t avoid making double entendres that I the section of the novel that I wrote today was a bit… risqué.


Fitness: Ran 5 miles.
Writing: 319 words, 270 average