Friday, January 11, 2008

Bring out The CLOWNS

The Climate Theater, a small underground apartment playhouse on the corner of 9th & Mission hosted what I can best describe as a modern day remake of the 3 Stooges. Actually it was a bit wittier and included some clever cultural commentary but had the lot of us grabbing our sides. It turns out the show is a venue for the troop to exhibition acts that are considered a bit too risque to be included in their main gig with Circus de Soleil.

The acts were comprised of 4 performers with side performances by 4 dancers. The 'clowns' stole the show, especially the antics of a rambunctious Claudio. Their routines didn't have more than a line of dialog but had the audience dying with laughter: an interpretation of Creep by Radiohead that ended with a bottle of exploding lotion and a yoga class with a few leotards two sizes too small were among the crowd favorites.

It was refreshing to experience culture from a slightly different angle and nice to see how a small amount of rehearsed delivery, a little bit of acting and a whole lot of heart can entirely change any misconceptions you once had of what clowns can do.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


For the last 3 months I've been using my mouse with my left hand. The first few days it was really annoying; now I've gotten to the point where I'm nearly equally efficient with both hands. It was an experiment with learning but I wanted to try out this technique in self improvement to see if I could notice any increase in other mental activities when I stimulate parts of the brain in new ways. My head felt a little hotter than normal for the first few weeks, but I think that's the only real difference I noticed.

I guess it's not about noticing a short term boost in cognition though. My grandparents are still smart and active at the ripe old age of 86 and I feel like a few key factors to their success are staying mentally active, doing crossword puzzles, reading and staying social.

We go to the gym on a routine basis to exercise our muscles and it got me wondering what kind of value a service like Lumosity has for our mental physique. Maybe it's like a vitamin; you're pretty sure it's working, you're just not certain to what degree. Or maybe the lesson isn't to simply give the brain a workout, but rather present it with challenges: variety is the path to creativity; or, new challenges ignite productive thinking.

Even if you don't increase your IQ you'll still be entertained by THIS game or some of the other challenges at Lumosity.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Free the Net

I've been working with a startup called Meraki over the past few weeks to set up a repeater in my house in North Beach. I've joined the cause and I'm trying to help them with an initiative that aims to spread the love with free internet service in the city of San Francisco. The success of the project will be dependent on volunteers around SF to install a free wireless device that will grow the network. I've been following the story for a while now but it looks like they are finally ramping up and preparing to bring all their planning to life.

It seems like a great project and I'm interested to see how it will work. Will it provide a fast and reliable connection? Will it be better than my current Comcast connection? And if Meraki is a business, how will they make money to stay afloat?

Here is a recent article CNN did on Meraki. They indicate that they'll need between 10,000 & 15,000 volunteers to install repeaters to get the network up and running.

Want to get a repeater and help the cause, check them out here.