Thursday, February 28, 2008

Improv Everywhere

Recently I came upon a site or rather a blog of a group of people who organise wacky "missions" around the world where their fans or "agents" are available. But most of the time it's held in the US where this kind of gatherings are practically more acceptable. They call themselves IE short for ImprovEverywhere. They claim to be a group of people who "organise fun".

I guess a short introduction of the group would sufficient. The group itself is originally based in New York. The main objective of the group seems to cause joy and chaos in public places and boast to have thousands of agents around the world and have successfully done over 70 "missions".

What amazed me was how I felt when I read all the things they did. Literally, the first thing that seems to came into mind, I am sure it goes the same for everyone else for the first time, the things they do... kinda crazy. But it seems cooler and cooler as I read more and more of the "missions" that they went through. In the end, the whole thing gave me an impression and feeling that "Darn... I am just not living my life eventful and joyful enough".

I mean seriously, imagine yourself attending this "mission" and meeting people and having fun doing them. It's just so amazing it makes me go "Ughh... I wish I could join in".

Some of the famous "missions" are, the No Pants, which they did it like a few times not that it became some sort of celebration of anniversary for them. Basically they all including the "agents" and people who wanted to join in rides the subway and trains without pants, yup... just undies. From what I read, they had some with cops the first few times they did this and for the latest one it was quite well known that cops were actually escorting them and quite friendly compared to the last couple of times. Not my cuppa tea but yeah having a couple hundred people without pants is awesome somehow. Don't ask me why.

Besides that I think the ones that caught my attention the most are the ones that involves big stores and companies. For example, they did a "mission" in BestBuy where they actually got quite a lot of turn outs to wear blue t-shirt and khakis to resemble the BestBuy employee uniform. Mainly the objective is to go in slowly and without being detected and stand in front of aisles and provide assistance to those customers who ask them for it (thinking they are employees of BestBuy). They are also told not to say they are employees when asked but just to politely help the customer. There is a couple of similar "mission". Basically I can sum up that lower level employees are usually either puzzled or amused by it. On the other hand, management and security ALWAYS freak out. Take the BestBuy example, they were running around and talking on the walkie talkie and it involves cops. Seriously, nothing was wrong but they are just taking precautions I guess.

Another nice one is the McD's Bathroom Attendant whereby it involved like only a select few number of people at the area. What they had to do was buy some materials that you usually need when you are in the washroom and basically go into the McD bathroom and stand there and assist people to help them wash their hands, providing soap/anti bacteria solution/hand towel/etc. Which I thought was kinda cool. Seriously, it's a great idea. Why don't fast food joints have bathroom attendants? Most were amazed and amused. As usual, management is puzzled. Basically the funny thing is the manager came in and ask what was going on. The "agents" said they came from HQ to test a new bathroom attendant thing. Not believing them, they called in to HQ and realise that there is no such thing. Since there were nothing offensive or life-threatening, the manager actually thought it was still true and asked maybe they went into the wrong branch. So the "agents" successfully slipped away by agreeing to the manager.

Lots of things you can do in this world. I guess what people need sometimes is a little boost and a good company of people which just makes everything so less awkward, in fact it just might be cool.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Update #2

OK. It's been a while since I wrote something. I was suppose to write some updates on myself for the next couple of post but I guess there have been a lot of things happening that I fear that there might be too many things to cover and there will be too much post and I wouldn't have the time to write them all. So I have decided to cut short everything from where I stopped.

First of all, after two months or so in the new job a lot of things had happen. Some are good some are boring I think. All in all, the biggest news would be my salary was adjusted to a new one which was a 100 bucks more than my original salary. Sweet...

Finally my roomie manage to drag himself to my place and take all of his stuff. Now I have the whole room to myself. I have yet to do anything to it since I am pretty much lazy to move things around so basically I am left with half the room empty still. Probably I will start on it this weekend. Good news is I did wash the bathroom. Sparkle sparkle. Next step would be to plan where should everyting go, vacuum the whole place up and start moving stuffs around. Hopefully I will accomplish this by end of this week. Fingers crossed.

Though I was reluctant to go for the Switchfoot concert that was help two weeks ago, I have to admit I enjoyed myself. Great performance. Really like it when bands change the way their songs go and how they present them during live concerts. The place was indoor and cooling unlike the sweaty smelly stuffy environment of open-air concert. Plus I get to see that everyone I know is still in one piece. Though this could probably remain unnoticed by them but I am really glad that they are fine and doing well even though I have said many unpleasant things about them at times. Again good to see they are alright, that is all that mattered.

After a day or two, I was finally ready to go home to celebrate Chinese New Year (CNY) with my family. Although it's sad to say my brother couldn't make it again this time. Usually he comes after CNY when I am already back at work. This time however he couldn't make it at all since he is busy with his new job as a lecturer. Amazed still at how he can manage to become a lecturer when his temper is just the same as mine, short. The dinner was as usualy, steamboat. I have to say I am pretty much sick of steamboat and won't eat it anywhere else after CNY every year. I had my dose of steamboat for the year, thank you very much. Strange to see that a lot of people ask me why I took leave BEFORE CNY instead of AFTER. Pretty much my family is not the party hardy type. So basically the only hype about CNY is during the preparation, the dinner itself and the visits. There really is nothing much happening in my family after the second day of CNY. End of story.

CNY also marks the first time I had averagely strong alcohol (I don't drink). During the first day of CNY lunch (yes steamboat... again), my dad suddenly recalled that he had a bottle of blue berry wine that was given to him by my brother's father-in-law during one of his visits to Penang. My dad decided to give it a try since it's CNY. Basically when he got the bottle he realized that he didn't have a corkscrew. As you can see my family rarely drinks and rarely needs a corkscrew or a bottle opener. But luckily he remembered he had a Swiss Army Knife in his toolbox that had a corkscrew. I had a glass. I am not sure how being drunk feels like so I can't say I was drunk. I don't think I was at least. The taste was pleasantly acceptable. Bitterish, sourish, smells nice. But after finishing that glass, I started feeling heaty, I felt my heart pumping blood rapidly towards my head making my face kinda red. The veins on my head feels like they are gonna pop. I couldn't last a glass, bummer. I went for a nap and woke up feeling fine. Not drinking ever again... at least not for now.

After CNY I am back at work, projects are mostly done and I am pretty much relaxing the whole day. In fact I am writing this at work right now. Oh yeah I have to say my latest craze today is DiggNation. A podcast talking about the latest news on a site called I feel that user submitted news are much more interesting compared to the boring news I usually see on TV. Basically the show comprises of two hosts who sit at weekly locations and drink beers and wine and talk about the news they have picked. Funny and informative. I 'digg' that.

Finally I am up-to-date with my blog! That was pretty long I guess but judging from how much information is in here I guess it's not bad. Almost forgotten the main topic that pretty much amazed me. No wait... I think I was terrified by it. Last Saturday while having a full stomach from lunch, I decided to take a nap and listen to songs. The earphone I am using is pretty much a standard edition one given along with my Sony Ericsson mobile phone. It basically a average quality earplug type earphone that cancels off some of the surrounding noises. So after dozing off, I had this dream that after taking the earphones off, I was deaf! Totally soundless, I couldn't hear my voice, my heartbeat, swallowing of my saliva and not to mention the surrounding sound. I was screaming my lungs out but nothing came out, not even a vibration at my neck. Then I realize my mom was in front of me, she was saying something but I just couldn't hear anything and I couldn't quite make out what she was trying to say. I tried telling her I can't hear anything but again nothing came out of my mouth. Then I woke up feeling really freaked out and removed my earphone to make sure I can still hear. Phew. I guess I was OK.