No. But it’s not you, it’s me.

In 2006, I got some money for my birthday, and I was wondering what to spend it on. My buddy Gene, my friend since grad school, suggested that I buy a then-new Nintendo DS. He assured me that it was awesome and well worth the money.

I had three kids then, all in diapers and two of them newborn twins, and a full-time job. I shook my head somewhat sadly and said that I had no time to play video games.

He said that I didn’t understand; that the Nintento DS games were designed for short gameplay and some of the games could be played in just five minutes at a time.

I laughed maniacally and said “You have got to be kidding me. I don’t have five whole minutes. That’s absurd.”

He didn’t understand and went away puzzled. Then he had twins, too. (Understand now, buddy?)

The moral of this story is that sometimes things do get so busy that the idea of five minutes to spend on anything extra  is an impossibility. And that’s where I am right now. Under the best of circumstances, I’d be overcommitted with work and professional obligations right now. And of top of that, I’ve got some chaotic life stuff going on.

No. But it’s not you, it’s me.

In better times, I’d love to speak at that event, blurb your book, do that interview, read that article, come to that party, etc. I really love all of those opportunities, and I’m always amazed and feel incredible fortunate when such wonderful opportunities come my way.

But right now, I have to say no to everything. It doesn’t come easy. My instinct is always to say yes. But if I say yes to anything right now, baby unicorns will die, and neither you nor I want that. I’m mentioning this publicly because any time I say no to someone privately, I can’t help but worry that they’ll take it personally. Please don’t. It’s not you, it’s me.

My over-committed period runs through the end of June.

Jack Miller and Shannon Emerson have been putting on The Big Show for many years now.

It started as a variety show in their garage, expanded to and then out-grew Disjecta, and now has found a home at the Alberta Rose Theatre. The 2012 show takes place on May 19th at 8pm. Admission is just $15.

Their motto is “You can do what you think”:

We’ve seen it all: short films, dancing, bag pipes, juggling, unicorns, short stories, giant squid, singing bees, shadow puppets, musical acts, comedy, and stuff that doesn’t even have a name yet.

We don’t care about where you’re from or what you’ve done, whether you’ve trod the boards or chopped them for firewood, if you’ve played Carnegie Hall or just used their bathroom. If you’re bold enough to release the artistic vision inside you and believe in what you’re doing enough to get up on stage and go for it live, then you could be a Big Show performer.

And if you want to feel the thrill of seeing a home-grown show stocked with unique acts performed by the multifaceted citizenry, then you belong in the Big Show audience.”

Check it out, buy tickets, or sign up to perform. You can do what you think! Anata wa dō omou ka okonau koto ga dekimasu!

OkTrends, the OkCupid blog about data analysis, is a great place to see what is possible with good data analysis. I think if you work in the field of data analysis, you should consider it a work obligation to read OkTrends.

One example of this is how they analyzed profile questions to determine which questions were both casual (easy to bring up) and strong predictors of compatibility. Read their post for the full analysis.
If you just want to cut to the chase, here are the key questions.
If you want to know if you and your date have long term potential, then ask:
  • Do you like horror movies?
  • Have you ever traveled around another country alone?
  • Wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?
If you and your date answer the same way to all three questions, congratulations! You are 32% likely to become long term partners, compared to an average chance of 5% otherwise.
On the other hand, if all you want is sex on the first date, you just need to ask:
  • Do you like the taste of beer?
People who like the taste of beer are 60% more likely to have sex on the first date.