Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkineers - Happy Halloween & Birthday!

It is that time of year again ... the end of October and beginning of November - the time of the year when Scorpio birthdays get mish-mashed with the celebratory Halloween frivolity and fun!

Happy Halloween
to my Pumpkin-ish Buddies!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Knock-Knock? ... Who's there?

(Thanks @Kelsey_Rex)
Shirlnutkin who?

Shirlnutkin - the less-than-employed since April 4, Shirlnutkin!

Yes, it is I, Shirlnutkin, AND I am approaching my one-year anniversary of my last formal day, April 4.

This post is my note to myself - what I have been doing over this past year. And for those that may prefer to look at my work-out-loud, emerging digital footprint stuff -

McSweeney Inspired

McSweeney's Today's Feature by Kelsey Rexroat (on twitter) - Your Resignation Request Has Been Denied - is my inspiration for this post. Kelsey's post is brilliant! (Full article over here)
"... This is to inform you that Human Resources has received your written statement titled “Notice of Resignation.” We regret to inform you that your request for employment termination cannot be accommodated at this time. ...

... Unfortunately, it has been brought to our attention that the success of this non-retention policy was commensurate with your continued absorption of an increasingly higher workload without a corresponding increase in compensation. ...

... Furthermore, your recent performance review indicates that over the course of your employment, you have become the sole holder of valuable insider secrets that we cannot allow to leave the company. ...

... On behalf of the company, we would like to thank you for your attention to this matter and continued employment.  ..."
Needless to say I did not receive such a response when I quit.

My Other 1-Year Anniversary

There is another one-year anniversary - March 19, next Thursday. On March 19, I sent an email to the division in which I worked. I included three words that described my nearly 7 years of employment (more specifically per LinkedIn, 6 years, 8 months)-
  • Transformative with regards to creative and new ways of discussing, prioritizing, and resolving cross-cutting issues when working with other discipline areas.
  • Challenging with regards to the many facets of our decision-making procedures that extend beyond our immediate office and Region.
  • Inspiring with regards to working with people who are truly committed to and have similar values as the reach of the Agency’s mission. 
Hmmmm ... well, that was interesting to re-read.

Where I Am Now ...

Speaking of LinkedIn, as part of what I have been doing since April 4, here is my restarted consulting practice (Resource Catalysts, or R|CAT) blog post - Until April 2014 - At EPA for 6 years, 8 months - which emerged as part of my figuring out "What's next?"

Again, here is my post from the day after - April 5. Using this as my guide to update "Where I am now ..." share -
  • yet ... I am ever creating and imagining. MEANWHILE, I have restarted my consulting practice, continued to evolve my coaching practice, and brewing up a few other for fee and not-for-fee activities. For my consulting practice -
    • I have had one client (invoice for March work)
    • I have an annual purchase order with another client
    • I have quite a bit of administrative paper work in the works, e.g., insurance, contract language, marketing material, etc.
  • options ... At some point in late summer 2014 when I decided to restart my consulting practice, I lightly closed the door on employment by larger organizations. HOWEVER, I am always open to learn what opportunities there are. One never knows.
  • consulting ... Resource Catalysts is back. I am very slowly uploading to Slideshare my older (aka "vintage") presentations from my 1994-2007 years, and I have decided to use Twitter @R_Catalysts, and at some point, I will have my domain name mapped to my blog and a business email address to use.
  • behavior design ... I have continued to apply the teachings of BJ Fogg from my June 2012 Boot Camp experience and Boot Camp refresher.
  • servant leadership ... I am pondering how my servant-leader journey is part of my "What's next" and what I have learned from the teachings of Robert K. Greenleaf, through the certificate program of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership
  • improvisation ... I am in my my fifth year of loving the improv community
  • coach ... Since 2013, I have been a Certified Tiny Habits® Coach, have completed BJ Fogg's Masterclass in Tiny Habits, and I am currently co-teaching a Masterclass with another coach (Fernando Basagoitia), and Linda and BJ
  • mentor ... Primarily through helping with professional development goals and resume makeover coaching, I have been mentoring those transitioning into and navigating around the workplace (or workspace)
For now, I will close out with three slides from February EUEC 2015 presentation. And yes, for a 7:30-9:30 AM panel on the last day of the conference, I managed to incorporate an audience warm-up with a little improv fun.

It has been a great almost year!
What is YOUR "What's next?"
Where are you now or soon-to-be?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hugs to My Carpe Diem Friend

With my friend @YvetteF at brunch (May 2014)
Thanks to Yvette for a wonderful friendship that started virtually in 2010 via Reverb10 and has continued to evolve into a wonderful face-to-face friendship - when we are in the same general zip code.


This is Yvette's mantra and life philosophy - a challenge to herself, which she shares with others. She lives in Colorado. We met for brunch at Ella's when she was in town to run the Bay to Breakers. And we met again yesterday, where she came along to watch an improv show.


Yvette reminded me of how much I loved writing/blogging. In fact, we met through the on-line Reverb10. This was 31-days of blogging for each participant. My Reverb10 experience is shared in this blog post over here. Yup! That's a lot of writing and self-reflection.

Speaking of writing ... here is a book that Yvette wrote - The Laptop Dancer Diaries. Yup! That's fun stuff!

More later about my friendship with Yvette ... and her efforts toward ALS.

Big, warm HUGS and LOVE to you, Yvette, 
for a wonderful friendship.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

now in month 4 of #iquitmyjob

I remember April 4. It was my last day in a traditional cubeopolis - leaving around 8:45 pm with a great crew of friends who helped me not to freak out. (well, HELLO Mezcal ...)

It has been more than 90 days. Since then, I have continued discovering What's next?, as shared the day after, and this post is an update -
  • What I shared in June
  • End of June Mini-Retreat
  • Multiple Choice July
Key words of what's going on: Improv, Fluevog (shoes), water (esp. the ocean), connecting with friends, Anthrocubeology, and Resource Catalysts. 

What I shared in June
Two months after quitting my job, I shared on Facebook the following -
WONDERING WHAT I AM DOING (or not wondering)?
What I am working on - my time currently includes ... restarting my environmental + energy consulting practice, formalizing my coaching practice, getting organized for outreach (blog + write + speak), engaging in lifelong learning activities (aka being part of classes + on-line stuff), and making home-cooked meals.
- which certainly is NOT a complete list of my activities occupying the 168 hours of a week.

Admittedly, ever since June, I still find myself rambling on when someone (or the voices in my head) asks me -
  • "What's up? Are you retired?", or 
  • "So have you been interviewing or what? How is that going for you?", or 
  • "Do you have a business card? a website?", or
  • "I don't get it? What are you doing with all your free time?" 
My responses are generally informative as to where I am in my process but nothing specific in the traditional sense. Meanwhile, I know (and as does anyone knows who sees my Facebook timeline) two things are for certain -

I loves me IMPROV.
I spend at least 3 nights a week directly involved with learning, practicing and/or performing improv. I am part of The Letters (who are co-creating a new form) and of Scene Chicken (a Harold team). I am involved with Made Up Theatre and EndGames, and I am discovering other communities ....

I loves me some FLUEVOGS.
"Peace, Good Sole and Groovy Love Vibes
to All Who Enter"

I met my goal of "50 by 50" after my inventory of 41 Fluevog shoes last year February 2013. It's July 2014, and I have maintained a modest budget for Fluevogs. I ALSO won a $50 gift card on International Fluevog Day, not to mention my helping out at the Haight Street store. 

End of June Mini-Retreat
The past several weeks has been about my shoring up on ideas and activities, along with channeling others' ideas.
I loves me WATER, esp. the OCEAN.

At the end of June, I self-gifted a mini-retreat to Santa Barbara - just less than 200 steps (with my gait) to the beach sand.

And I met up with a friend visiting from Georgia by way of her conference presentation at Long Beach.

It was great talking through her perspectives about what I am looking to create. It never ever hurts to have friends that are totally motivational and supportive. 

Multiple Choice July
Now in July, my number of multiple-choice responses to the multiple questions has been trimmed down. Granted, What's next? has included other a-day-in-the-life-everyone such as budgeting tethered to financial planning, health insurance, car maintenance, and the like. Also, while retrieving files from my i-have-not-worked-my-consulting-business-since-2007 archives, garage storage, and home office, I am not only restarting my business (e.g., bookkeeping, invoicing, marketing, outreach, office administration, etc.) but also repositioning it - which is like starting a new business.

Short version - FOCUS.

For Behavior Design folks - CRISPIFY.

For what's next, I have been clarifying some areas, other ideas are fully formed and yet to emerge, and other ideas are fully formed and being tested out. With all this happening, I do know a few more things since June -

- inspired by IMPROVISATION - on being an ANTHROCUBEOLOGIST.
Basically, with Anthrocubeology, I have merged my love of improv, behavior design, and what I would consider the elements of a workspace cultural setting that can emerge from the servant-leader philosophy. Yup!

I loves me R|CAT.
I'm rebooting and repositioning my consulting practice that was founded in San Diego back in the early 1990s. Oh the memories. Now time for some new memories in the making!

Month 4 of what's next?
is around the corner!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I #ImprovLove The Letters

I am part of The Letters (on twitter, on Facebook, on National Improv Network), an improv troupe formed in mid-January 2014, that has been co-creating a new form. For those that have seen us perform, y'know we always appreciate your bringing along a book(s) for our inspiration!

This post is just a virtual kiss to The Letters, especially after receiving a little love photo this morning from one of our Chicagoans!

Our First Gig
Since we formed, we have been practicing and jamming and practicing and jamming (lather, rinse, repeat). After one of our jam sets in April, we were asked to open - THANKS(!) to Nick, host of EndGame Up 'Til Midnight Jam, The Letters opened the jam on May 22.

The Recent Past

Knowing that two of our team members would move to Chicago in early July, we jumped on -

getting in group practices . . . 
oooo, dirty, sexy, jungle .... oooo
the inauguration-wedding of Man & Country

having an evening of karoake in the Tenderloin with them . . .  

and performing at the July 3 EndGames Harold Night
Getting pumped up before our performance
[Photo credit: Michael Fox Manziello]
I also dropped by the night before their leaving to say "buh-bye . . ." (tear. puffy heart.)

The Just-This-Tuesday
Turns out, one of the Chicagoans was back in town this week. He came by our weekly practice at our new little practice spot. (Cool. Very cool.)

Yes, it was very fun, but even looking at this picture - you can see that there is a physical, empty space among our team members. This made me think about that space in my heart for our other Chicagoan.

The Just-This-Thursday-Morning

Regardless of where each of us calls home -

Why I LOVE The Letters, Reason #83

Always there in spirit!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

#improv me some games, QUICKLY!

Quickly, now ... short form
  • Speed + Wit
  • Scene
  • Guessing
  • Stand in line / Rotation
Save-the-date for Sunday evening, May 11 at 8:00 PM, for a FREE improv show at Made Up Theatre.

  • WHERE: Made Up Theatre - 3392 Seldon Court, which is off of Osgood Road (near Fry's).
  • SEATING: Door opens at 7:45 pm.
  • STARTING: Show begins at 8:00 pm 

Some of The Games We Play

With many games to choose from, since March 23, our short form troupe has learned several games - some that involve fun improvised scenework while others involving quick wit, one-liners, miming, and gibberish language. Come to our show for a sweet variety of the games we play!

Here is "PART 1 of 2" of the games we have learned for our upcoming show. (Note: there are other resources on-line including Improv EncyclopediaWho's Line games list, and Learn Improv, to name a few.)

Speed + Wit

Fun, quick, one-liner witty tidbits (sometimes referred to as punchlines) based on an audience suggestion ... these games go something like this -
  • ONE EIGHTY FIVE (185) ... Given an audience suggestion, a player says - "185 *BLANKS* walk into a bar, and the bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve *BLANKS* here," so the 185 *BLANKS* say ... (witty punchline)
  • I KISSED A ... This game also includes some audience involvement. Given an audience suggestion, a player says - "I kissed a *BLANK* last night." Then the audience and other back line players say, "Oh no you didn't!" And the player says, "Yeah, and (witty punchline)."
  • BACK IN MY DAY ... Given an audience suggestion, a player his/her experience without the suggested item - "Back in my day, we didn't have *BLANKS*, if we wanted *BLANKS*, we would (witty punchline). 
  • SEX WITH ME IS LIKE A ... This game also includes some audience involvement. Given an audience suggestion, a player says - "Sex with me is like a *BLANK*." Then the audience and other back line players say, "How's that?!" And the player says a (witty punchline).
  • LAST ACTION JOKE ... Given an audience suggestion, a player faces the audience armed with the suggestion and then gestures to "kill" someone with that suggestion, along with stating a witty action hero punch line.
  • MORNING COMMUTE ... Given a suggestion, the player mimics driving a car and yells out a "morning commuter" statement involving and/or inspired by the suggestion. 
  • HEY WAITER, THERE'S A ... This game includes an audience member. Given a suggestion, an audience member is seated on-stage as a customer, and each player comes up to him/her. The audience member says, "Hey Waiter, there's a *BLANK* in my soup." The player responds with a (witty punchline). (Each player is responding by using the same suggestion with a new punchline.)


  • BLIND LINE ... Based on audience suggestions, lines of dialogue are collected and written on pieces of paper; these lines are collected without the performers hearing the suggestions. The pieces of paper are randomly strewn on stage. The performers come back in and do a scene. every so often, a performer picks up a line of dialogue, reads it, and incorporates it into their scene.
  • DIME STORE NOVEL ... One performer is at a typewriter/computer and starts to type/narrate a story based on a title given by the audience. after a set-up, the other performers start to act out the story and occasionally the focus and dialogue goes entirely to them. this game is all about Give and take of focus. go back and forth between narration and action. 
  • SAY IT DIFFERENTLY ... (next blog post)
  • FORWARD / REVERSE ... (next blog post)

Guessing Games

  • CHAIN MURDER - with gibberish, miming, and timing ... This is like Clue and Telephone. Everyone but 1 person leaves. The one person remaining gets "L.O.W." - a LOCATION, OCCUPATION, and WEAPON.

    The others who left will ultimately be the guessers (who later become clue-givers). One-by-One, each guesser comes in and receive the clues (in the L.O.W. order) through gibberish and pantomime. Once the weapon is conveyed, the guesser will kill the clue-giver with whatever s/he thinks it is. The game continues until the last person comes in and kills the last clue-giver. Everyone is brought back from the dead, and the host goes down the line and sees how far the clues made it.
  • 5 THINGS - with gibberish, miming, and timing ... One person leaves the room. 5 activities are collected. Each activity gets one or two changes, i.e., for baseball, the bat is a jigsaw puzzle and the ball is a chihuahua. The clue-givers use gibberish and pantomime to convey the clues. Clue-givers must get the guesser to do the activity before they can do it.
  • HOME SHOPPING NETWORK - with miming and timing ... (next blog post)
  • PLAYGROUND INSULTS - with miming and timing ... (next blog post)

Stand in Line / Rotation

  • BEASTIE RAP - rotation game ... The performers are split into two teams. A rap track (such as this over here) is played with two people who are up front from each team with the other performers behind them. A NAME will be taken from the audience, and going with the beat, the person up front - the lead rapper - will deliver a rap line intending to have the name as the last word in the rap line - - - it is the other players behind the lead rapper that will say the last word - the NAME.

    The other team's lead rapper will respond with another line, ending with a word that RHYMES with the name - again, the people behind the front person must say the rhyme so the set-up has to lead them to say that word together. The game continues - goes back and forth between teams - and the front person is rotated if s/he goes off beat, the back people say the wrong word, or any mess-up that the host sees.
  • LOVE SONG - stand in line ... Players sing a song (ABCB) to an audience member based on the person's name, occupation, and hobby.
  • PICK-UP LINES / CASANOVA- stand in line ... Two "teams" (of 4-5 players) are formed - each representing a team that delivers a pick-up line. An audience member will be brought onstage, and the first team will deliver a pick-up line one word at a time, based on a suggestion. After the end of the pick-up line, the first team members, together, celebrates and exclaims "YEAAHHH!!!!!!" Then, the second team creates a new pick-up line, repeating the same process. After both lines have been delivered, the audience member will then give a thumbs up to the team for the better pick-up line.
  • TALK RADIO ... (next blog post)
  • ADVICE PANEL / EXPERTS ... (next blog post)

next post with other games 
will be posted later this week

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

unfamiliar #iquitmyjob

Familiar #improv.
Last week Friday morning was the first time I felt something - an unfamiliar feeling. That's the best I can do to describe the feeling. 

Coffee and Tea

Familiar to me most mornings? The smell of coffee and tea. Unfamiliar to me in the morning? Not knowing exactly what day it is. Familiar - the time of day from my phone or or my wall clock in the distance. Unfamiliar - whether I have a commitment on whatever day it is. Familiar - a hangover. Unfamiliar - the consequences of a hangover WITHOUT having a hangover.

The Night Before

Improv. (Seriously, what else?) In addition to hanging out with Janice before the Endgames Improv's Harold Night, we stayed through the Endgames Improv's Up 'Til Midnight Jam. As part of improv team The Letters ('LIKE' us on Facebook), this was our second time performing - and this time with the full team. (Woohoo!)

"Oh Maple Tree ..."  
"Oh Blanket ..."
(photo credit: Michael Fox Manziello)

Familiar - Improv

The day after a fun night with improv friends - TOTALLY worth the unfamiliar feeling of quitting my job. That is, I did not have to go into cubeopolis the next day after a late night of improv fun.

L-R: Avi, Shirlnutkin, Krish, Megan, Matt
(awesome photobomb: Lacey)

(photo credit: Harpsie Ð Etat)

Thanks, The Letters,
for a morning of unfamiliar feelings.

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