Beginning of Broadcast Bar

Went to the eGen.TV Season Launch tonight @ Broadcast Bar. Production Manager Ben Piskor was kind enough to invite me. I met Ben through my work reffing plus he attended (& shot video @) The Uncertainty Principle‘s Petite Soirée № 5.

I’m just a fan, but my take on the Concept is:

Late night TV show (e.g. Conan/Letterman/Carson) streamed live from a Chicago bar, with an audience of whoever walks in.

I’m biased because I like Ben, but I think it seems pretty frigging cool and I’m not sure why it hasn’t been done before. Went with Matt to tonight’s premiere and we watched as the show unfolded featuring star guest Hal Sparks. It was surreal to watch it streaming on the flat screens, turn to see Mr. Sparks actually talking to the host, and then see people looking up who Hal was on Wikipedia via their smart phones (and the sophisticated among them hopefully tweeting/denting as well) simultaneously.


If you liked this post, please peruse my other work on danoff dot org, learn in my Teaching Laboratory and buy my book. If you have ideas about what you read please leave them in the comments, tweet them to @danoff or  e-mail them to Thanks for reading and in advance for your correspondence.

Note the eGen TV logo is their property. The text of this post is Copyright (C) 2012 by Charles Jeffrey Danoff licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution 2.1 Japan license. I, Charlie, give you permission to republish, remix, kopimi, make millions off, or do anything else you’d like this work without permission as long as you attribute me and state the license.


20:46 on 14 July 2011
UP-N to Chicago

Had my 7th lesson at the Korean Cultural Center of Chicago, or KCCoC this morning. Worked our way through formal and informal telephone English again. Below is a video of the 5th lesson to give you more context about how we work. If you can’t see the video, click here to watch.

If you have any ideas to improve the lesson, please leave them in the comments or e-mail them to … We’re going to talk about formal + informal telephone English again next week, so if you have any ideas for example conversations, please share them.

in b-tween

Author’s Note: I wrote the post below at the time indicated. Its 13:25 on July 8th now and I’ve just arrived in Minneapolis.

01:03 on 8 July 2011
Red Line headed South from Addison

Started my day out Thursday with English Corner No.6; had a bacon-oblivion BLT at Subway complemented with a (any size you want) $1 coke sold in the gas station in the same building from a fountain that had flavor shots (including vanilla, which I chose); caddied 9 holes and closed the evening eating some of Carlos’s scrumptuous salmon-dill-on-a-wheat-something-pancake-delight he made at La Cordon Bleu (Yes! The same one that was on Chicago’s Best [sadly that clip didn't feature Britney, who if you're reading, please call me 315.750.9903 i often eat dinner if you'd like to join me]) a French-inspired cooking joint whilst listening to Wilder’s francophone electro-beats notably “mange me”, which Ryan pointed out meant “eat me” much to me and David’s delight.

Driving west for Brad’s wedding Friday. Third weekend on the road in a row, missing the Chi like crazy, but they’ve all been fun adventures and this one brings together elements that haven’t mixed in years.

go west, young man

Sunday, May 1st 2011
Started writing @ 16:23h. USA CT at Union Station

Friday evening my adventure got off to an inauspicious start. I found a 30-person line waiting for my bus to Omaha at the 660 W. Harrison Greyhound station, and stood at the end. Luckily the Memphis Grizzlies ending of the Spurs pseudo-dynasty was on the tube. Seeing a long line and with 10-ish minutes to spare, I decided to watch the game as I waited my turn.

I got a vague sense that something was amiss, heightened as I heard a Greyhound gentleman saying something about Omaha and Iowa, but the game was really entertaining.

Once the line got down to 2 or 3 people I walked to the front, and heard the staffer inform the other two people they were not gonna get on the bus. Showed my ticket to Omaha and he gave me a long look.

Turned out the “Omaha” I’d heard him say earlier was him making sure everyone who *had* to get on that bus (as there wasn’t another bus to Omaha for 12 hours or so) got on. It appeared I’d chosen basketball instead of my seat. We had a discussion about my options and related matters, then he told me to wait.

Lucky for me after some negotiations with the bus driver I was not privy to, he came back and said I could hop on. I was quite relieved as the only reason I was going West was for the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, and if I’d missed my bus I’d of missed the meeting.

Bus ride was wonderful. Not only did I get a seat, the bus had wi-fi and outlets! I feel public transportation is a wonderful study hall. I get a lot of work done riding in-and-out of Chicago on the ‘L’, but this was a whole other level. Furthermore the driver was courteous enough to let passengers know what stops they had time to step out and smoke if they so desired.

I can’t recall any more civilized travel in my life.

Got into Omaha for the meeting around 08:30h. Changed into the suit I’d stuffed into my backpack in the bathroom and realized in my sleep-stupor exiting the bus I left my dop kit on my seat. Remedied the situation with a pack of Wrigley’s gum as I walked to the Qwest Center to join 30,000 other Buffet-iples (sad attempt at a portmanteau of Buffet and disciples). I was very impressed to see many eating Dairy Queen for breakfast (DQ is owned by Berkshire), but coming off an all night bus I wasn’t quite up following their wisdom at that moment.

Meeting was incredible. 95% of it was like a college professor’s office hours. We all sat around and individual shareholders asked questions at one of the 12 mikes around the arena, they switched turns with questions sent electronically to three journalists on their laptops. I learned more in one day about business, life, learning, finance, politics and honesty than I ever have before. One thing that particularly stuck with me was that Buffett worked for 6 years out of his house managing friends and family’s money at the beginning of his career. Gave me inspiration for working on my own businesses, and that the most important thing I can do now is just work. As opposed to worrying about things my business doesn’t have (e.g. 1000′s of customers, an office building, slick stationary, etc.). If Buffett began building one of the world’s largest corporations by sitting at home and reading for hours a day for 6 years, I can sure as heck build my laboratory into something respectable by studying my craft and staying humble.

Meeting ended around 16:10, and I had a online meeting at 17:00 so I retreated to the safety of a nearby Starbuck’s and tcob-ed. Once finished I called a cab company for a ride to the Nebraksa Furniture Mart, where a light dinner party was planned. After being on hold for 5 minutes or so with the company, I was less than enthused to hear my taxi would arrive in between 10 and forty minutes. Omaha!

Ended up coming in about five, which was great, as were the burger, chips, cookie and coke (for $5) for dinner. Got talking to an interesting gentleman about ice hockey, who also happened to be interested in an after-dinner beverage. We headed to “Old Market” a brick-lined-street section of downtown Omaha with sophisticated bars and restaurants galore. We started at an establishment with a live 4-piece jazz ensemble. Over a few local IPA’s (and one terrible local lager) we discussed what we’d learned during the day from Buffett and Munger and interpreted our own life’s past and future steps inspired by the dynamic duo.

Finished the evening at a bar named after a frog that styled itself as a library. Told the bartender about my bad experience with the lager and he concurred, suggesting instead a porter with vanilla from Lincoln. I was a little suspicous, but decided to go ahead, and it might be the best Porter I’ve had in my day. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I don’t know, because it led to me ordering more of them. Bars closed at 02:00h. and following a fun convo with a very cute local lady dressed in Punk attire I headed for the bus station. Got a little lost, but found my way there eventually then napped for a bit before boarding my bus back to the Chi at 05:30h.

marketing stars

5 January 2011
started writing @ 16:53 USA CT
my room, mom & pop’s, land of beautiful trees, illinois

In yesterday’s blog post I mentioned how I’d been working on my resume and trying to find students in the Chicagoland area to teach. Today I published a first version of my teaching resume online, and then I put up an ad on craigslist today, looking for students in North Chicagoland. Check them out, and if you have any ideas on how I can do them better, please leave them in the comments.

Clone Trooper - 3Steps - Graffiti - Clone Wars - Star Wars

Last night I watched “Star Wars Clone Wars” (video) a show on Cartoon Network that’s been a guilty pleasure of mine since last Fall. Its set in between Episodes II and III and is done all in computer animation. The story lines are fun, exploring parts of the universe that the movies do not have time for, similar to Shadows of the Empire, novel moreso than the game. The animation is as slick as I’ve seen from computers, capturing more of the subtleties of humans whilst talking, thankfully seeming fake enough to not approach the Uncanny Valley. On that note, an intriguing choice the team made was to show robots with human characteristics, especially feeling pain. In one episode C-3P0 and R2D2 are tortured, during which time both scream.

The human aspects to robots is an issue to consider for my and subsequent generations as they become more ubiquitous in our life and AI evolves exponentially. What do you think? Should cartoon robots show human emotion? Or is that too far and just weird? Leave an answer in the comments, please.

image: “Clone Trooper – 3Steps – Graffiti – Clone Wars – Star Wars” by, 3StepsCrew. On Flickr!, CCANCND 2.0 Licensed.

en voyage

Saturday, 28 November 2010
Written around fifteen minutes after 22:00
My Room, Folks’s Place, Land of Beautiful Trees, USA

This’ll be my last evening in Chicagoland for a while, as tomorrow morning I’m shipping out to New York City for a month to study for my Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. Mostly packed, save my backpack I left in my buddy’s car last night, but I’ve made arrangements to solve that problem.

From when I first landed in China last August, to when I left her for Europe in July, I invested countless amounts of energy into figuring out what I would be doing in fall of 2010. I thought about Indonesia, Korea, India, Russia, ya da, ya da, ya da. The idea of coming home caddying and reffing to earn money for my CELTA occurred to me, but not as my first option.


As it turned out that’s what I did, in addition to spending time writing, teaching, tutoring, temping, pondering, playing, dancing and not a small amount being lazy. Being home the past four months or so has been incredible. I have gained a deep appreciation for the area I’m from and the family/friends who’ve known and supported me for years. Given all that, I am excited for my next adventure, but also melancholy about leaving my Chicagoland life.

Within that life, ever since Jeffrey got back home on Tuesday evening, my life’s been a blur. I worked the following morning for the running store I’ve been helping, then Jeffrey’s buddy James arrived, and we headed downtown. Stopped in Evanston first with them, then to meet some old high school pals, and as Jason predicted, we met up with some people from our grade whom we hadn’t seen in years. Took the ‘L’ downtown, for a quiet evening, though I planned out a visit to Green Dolphin Street for the younger gentleman, which they turned down.

Following morning, Thanksgiving, I reffed two games then drove Jeffrey and James home for our lovely Thanksgiving meal. Highlight this year was the duck my father purchased from Sun Wah, a delectable Chinese BBQ spot. Enjoyed conversation with the aunt, cousins, grandparents and James, then took a little nap. Jeffrey woke me up to head back downtown for a quiet evening, where we watched “I’m Still Here” and “The Expendables“. The latter was fine, the former was one of the most engaging cinematic experiences I might’ve ever experienced.

Woke up again Friday to ref a pair of contests. Had lunch with the boys at Billy Goat, which strangely had a Packers schedule on their wall. Did a little Black Friday shopping, investing my earnings in America, then met up with folks for dinner at Burt’s. Jason also came, and even the sophisticated New New Yorker was impressed. Following after dinner drinks in Wilmette, Jason and I skiied our way thorough three groups of people from the past at three different locations. Then met up with an angered Jeffrey and pals around 800 West Superior, the supposed location of a party I got texted about from a club info service I e-mailed to sign-up for.

It wasn’t warm, and they hadn’t found the “sweet club” as they said in not sincere tones. Jason led the search and then found it after toiling for almost a minute. Turned out *TANTRIK* was finished by the time we’d arrived, but I was at least happy to see it existed. On our way back, I stopped the cab outside a club I’d seen long lines for before, but hadn’t previously visited. Knew it was late, but felt I owed the guys a good spot for dragging them out there, so I made an arrangement with the bouncer to get in for a last drink. I liked entering to “Firework” by Katy Perry and the aesthetics of the joint, but it was a little too small for my taste. When I dance, I enjoy mooooving.

Saturday, today, had one final ref game, cleaned the condo with Jeffrey and James, got my haircut in Evanston, dinner with Mom and Dad at the club, a catnap and now I’m trying to tie up my online life before I head out tomorrow morning.

In closing, the two young ladies I’ve been tutoring in English writing have done some fine work I hope you’d read. Hannah’s written a piece about the 2010 Asian Games and Kitty essayed on how-to give a good speech.

*Corrections & Amplifications*

  • 6 Dec 2010 01:05 USA ET – Changed the date from the incorrect 27 Nov 2010 to correct 28 Nov. Removed a space before the period in the last sentence.

up too late

23 October 2010
Written roughly fifty minutes after the stroke of midnight.

Was lucky today and made some money caddying, wasn’t great for all the things I set out in my “Month of Charlie” post, but money’s important, too, and there won’t be many, or any, caddy days, left so I’m happy. As for this exact moment, I’m up too late, following a second evening of over-eating indulgence and a sour mood as a result.paro_Al_sliding_on_a_banana_skin

In more interesting news, Kitty submitted another article to me earlier this week, which I finally published this evening, its a lovely answer to the question “What clothes are fashionable?

And before I sign off, go Cats! MSU is rife for an upset later this morning.

Image: Al sliding on a banana skin by, / cybergedeon from The Open Clip Art Gallery.

sports past and present

Written after 12:00 A.M. U.S.A. C.T. at the Ravenswood Metra Stop on 19 October 2010

Tonight I hung out with Pat, a former ice hockey teammate of mine and his roommate. While Pat was taking a call I ended up explaining to his roomie Pat and my’s high school hockey history. Sophmore year Pat and I made the JV team that won the state title held at the United Center. Junior year we made Blue, the second varisty team. That year Green, the top varsity team winner of the past 4 state titles, went independent (a la Notre Dame’s independence in college football), taking themselves out of Metro North, our local league. Green’s goal was to play better hockey than was available in its local league. Our Blue team won said league, then lost to Green in the state semi-finals, to my knowledge the best finish of any Blue team ever. Senior year we played for Green, and lost in the semi-finals, ending their 5-year championship streak.

Two out of three.

Following said discussion and Pat’s return, we watched the Hawks battle the St. Louis Blues. Down by two in the third period, Marian Hossa scored his seventh and seventh goals of the season to tie, and the Hawks won in OT on Sharpie’s goal. Afterwards Pat and I headed to Lincoln Station for a drink and unexpected birthday shot.

Amongst other topics we discussed golf. I have played the past three mondays at the club where I caddy. Playing three times in three weeks beats the one-off time I’ve golfed for the past three to four years. My game is progressing. I am now confident using Driver off the tee, something I have never been before. I shot 110 the first two times, and yesterday I played roughly twelve holes. Caddying the past seven years has definitely helped my game, in addition to a change in my playing attitude grown from college crew and Intramural hockey, judo in Japan, basketball in China and a general maturity.

Related to playing golf the past three Mondays I have been to the course for the past fifteen days straight. The longest streak of the year, and my life. Caddying (I did not work three times) the other days has been possible thanks to the amazing Indian summer (possibly Global Warming related) weather.

a slice of my projects

The Afternoon of Monday, September 27th – Evening of Wednesday the 29th
Written Wednesday Evening
My Room, Mom & Dad’s, Winnetka, IL, USA

Learning a little from last week, I did a much better job recovering from a short adventure and getting back into my routine on Monday. This gave me time to go out into Winnetka.

small slice of tree city usa

I started at the library and had a really helpful exchange with a young gentleman working there, who explained the resources available to me as a patron and how I could use them to aid in my studies. Next was a deposit at my bank, complete with a pleasant chat with the banker who bailed me out of trouble in China. Finally, I stopped by Phototronics, the local photoshop, whose owner took ten minutes of his time to fix my camera, and asked for nothing in return. Normally in my life finding information, handling money and getting things fixed have been done mostly through a computer screen, or over the phone. It felt like a new experience handling them all in person, even though that’s more what humans have been doing for the past however long, it hasn’t been my reality.

Tuesday was back at the course and lucky to get out and make some cash, while there found some time that day and evening to update danoff dot org. Hoped to work again this morning, to no avail, so I came home with an afternoon free to catch up on some of my projects. Started by adding another lesson plan to the resource I’ve been building sharing all my old lessons from China.

Moved across the net over to Peer to Peer University, where my course on Collaborative Lesson Planning has moved into week three. Week two did not have as much participation as week one as I noted in my third through review, so I adjusted my gameplan and simplified this week’s homework. We’ll see how it goes.

Next I published the latest article from Hannah, the student of mine from China whom I’m currently tutoring, this one on the merits of examinations. In exciting news I published the first article from my second pupil, Kitty. She’s another junior high schooler, and her first hit is about why she should study English.

I am making progress on some of my projects, which is good, because I’m reaching a point now where it is time for this energy I have been putting in to writing and online magic to bear some fruit. Part of it is the slow ripening nature of those mediums, more is I have lacked the discipline to see projects all the way through to the end. I am wonderful at starting them and getting better, but once I hit that first plateau of stubbornness (hat tip to Chu of E.T.A. from page 115 of Infinite Jest) I often give up and start something new. Now is the time to push on through. On that new note, though …

danoff-vs-room-introduction_000030click the image or here for a video

Image: “small slice of tree city USA“, by Charles Jeffrey Danoff, CCA.