Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yes, and...

One of the most basic rules of improv comedy is the principle of "Yes, and". What it means is that in any improv game/ performance, if some actor says some line, the others have to support him. But supporting doesn't just mean saying "Yes" to what he said. You also have to add information to the fact, and make it a full-fledged idea.

If you see the show "Whose Line is it Anyway?", the 4 actors never say no. If one of the actors calls the other male actor "mom", the other one doesn't just call him "son" back, but also establishes some other fact of their mother-son relationship. The little time I spent trying to learn improv, I was forced to sing on stage, attempt to mimic a "spanish love songs" themed radio station, try to sing rap (thank god there is no evidence to support this happened), and acted in college made TV show. But the thing is, I had damn good fun. 

Around that time, quite a few people had told me how I had successfully managed to deflate their enthusiasm, and probably made them want to avoid me. I thought I had talked to them rationally, and had given them practical and reasonable answers to questions they asked, and plans they had proposed. For some things, there is no right answer, and in such cases, it's so much better to go with the flow. 

There are moments when I've decided to say "Yes" to stuff. Of course, it was sane, legal and did not involve any dangerous situations. But in the last three weeks, I went hiking, roller-bladed in Paris, saw great movies with new friends, picnic-ed & drank wine 5 days in a row on the beach. In spring, I learnt how to sail a catamaran, a course I will re-enroll for in September. And then next week, I'm going canoing in Hungary.

After one party, some people who had missed the bus needed a place to stay. They got it. :-). And then we met some nice couch-surfers on the beach in Cannes. They had come with a tent to stay on the beach, which is somewhat illegal here. My friend asked me if I could host these guys. Yes! It turned out that these two were friends of the CSer I stayed with in Paris, and were at one of the events I had been to there. I looked at the pictures I had taken there, and I found them in the crowd of people in the pictures I have clicked. Small world.
A few months ago I would not have imagined letting two people I had just met on the beach to sleep on the couch. It's really hard to let go and say yes. Knowing me, I'll soon probably go back into my shell and attempt to be my boring self. A PhD in robotics sometimes seems pretty easy compared to learning to say yes. But I guess I should keep trying...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wave and iPad

To both, Google Wave and iPad, I've heard people asking the same question - What do I use it for? 

Both are really revolutionary and change the way you approach the normal. The difference, is that active development on Wave is going to stop soon, due to lack of sufficient demand, while iPad is selling millions.

What does Steve Jobs know/do that makes the difference?