ThinkKit Day 15: That Personal Touch

Hey! Ryan here again.

I’ve been thinking – or rather, lamenting – on my penmanship for years. I’ve been disgusted with my handwriting for as long as it’s been since it stopped improving; that puts the impetus of my lamentation at about age 6, by my reckoning. Since it’s not likely to change anytime soon, I tried to think of other ways I could validate my handwriting style, which has been referred to more than once as “serial killer writing.”

I imagined a world where I was entrusted with typesetting every marketed, shared, or otherwise distributed item. Never mind that not even the local used car lot would appoint me with this task; indulge me for a second and imagine…





There’s a quiet dignity about it, I think. A personal touch. I mean, I’ve never wanted to eat at Red Lobster before, ever, until right now.

So that’s something.


December 14: Share Advice or a Lesson

Did you get any good advice or learn a valuable lesson this year? Was it expected or unexpected, easy or tough? Share what you learned.

A couple days ago I quietly boarded the Walking Dead bandwagon.  I had a little time to kill and I wanted to watch something but didn’t feel like watching a whole movie.  3 days later I’m halfway through the 3rd season.  Since I’ve spent more time in that world than the real one I can’t help but look at my surroundings through the lens of a zombie apocalypse.  Here is what I’ve learned.

You have to shoot them in the head.

You have to be quiet.

Find shelter.

Keep routines and chores going.

Wash the guts off your face.

Make friends, you’ll need a group to survive.

Cover your smell to camouflage yourself.

Establish a base.

Keep watch.

If your friend dies, kill them.

Don’t shoot them, use like a knife or something.

Wash the blood off your face.

You have to keep moving.

Stay together.

Be quiet.

Keep medical supplies close.

Don’t run into the woods by yourself.

Don’t stand close to deer.

Wash the blood off your face.

Don’t trust anyone.

Establish a base.

Stay on the move

Forage for supplies.

Establish a base.

Don’t trust anyone.

Make new friends.

Don’t trust anyone even if they seem really nice.

You should have a samurai sword or a cross bow.

Wash the blood off your face.

I thought these were just strategies for a hypothetical situation until I looked at them metaphorically.  In life, problems come at you and you can’t mess around. If you don’t shoot them in the head right away they will add up and become so many that there is no way you’ll make it out alive.

Be quiet about drawing attention to yourself.  No one likes a bragger.

Establish a home base, somewhere you can find rest and comfort but keep moving to new challenges and adventures.

You have to make new friends but some people can be harmful to you.  Keep a watchful eye, you don’t have to be suspicious but be cautious.  The first time a friend hints at killing you you should probably start to rethink that relationship.

Find your “sword or crossbow”  everyone has a tool that works so well when it’s in their hands.  For some it’s a pen, for others it’s a wrench.  You have to find your “weapon” and use it to it’s fullest.

Wash the blood off your face because that’s gross and in life people are going to wonder why you are covered in blood. It would be pretty hard to find a job unless you wanted to be, like, a butcher or something.  Then blood would be pretty acceptable.


Think Kit: Day 12

“try something new.”  -completed by Alan Goffinski

Today I did the impossible.  I compiled an incomplete list of my favorite songs.  It is so incredibly difficult for me to do this kind of thing because there are so many variables!  This is painful to release because, you know, what if i’m forgetting like, a really really good song!  Eesh.  anyways, here it goes.

(pardon the inconsistent capitalization)

Favorite songs

Life is grand – old canes
Penetration – Pedro the lion
On top of the world – surrounded
Motorcycle drive by – third eye blind
Understanding in a car crash – Thursday
Ruby’s wishes – unwed sailor
Night windows – the weakerthans
16 days – Whiskeytown
Lies of serpents, a river of tears – Zao
The deep South – the promise ring
Roots radicals– rancid
Dejalo – Rilo Kiley
All my friends who play guitar – StarFlyer 59
The age of adz– Sufjan Stevens
In circles – Sunny Day real estate

Train in vain – the Clash

Our distance – comeback kid
Souled out!!! – Connor Oberst
A gentleman caller – cursive
Jolene – Dolly Parton
Centralia – early day miners
Sliding down – Edgar Meyer
Boulder to Birmingham -emmylou Harris
Psyche’s dagger – fly Golden Eagle
Everlong – Foo Fighters
Monachetti – further seems forever

High and dry -radiohead

It is well with my soul – Horatio g spafford. 
Atlantic City -Bruce Springsteen
Iowa backroads – roadside monuments
A kiss before I go – Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
Oh my God, whatever, etc. – Ryan Adams
Hoppípolla- Sigur Rós
Riot rhythm – sleigh bells
Disarm – smashing pumpkins
Miss Ohio- Gillian welch
Oh Cumberland – Matricia Berg
Party hard – Andrew WK
Hanging marionette – the Appleseed cast
When the ship comes in – Bob Dylan
 Perth – Bon Iver
If the breakman turns my way – Bright eyes
The spirit of jazz – the gaslight anthem
One year later – the get up kids
Hosanna – Hillsong
The end of an era – hopesfall
Bleed American – Jimmy eat world
Sadie – Joanna Newsom
Love you swore – John Mark McMillan
Methodist left – n.m. Kjeldsen
Summer seeds – Liza day
Time lapse lifeline – Maria Taylor
Gentlemen – me without you
Parking lot – mineral
Doing time – MXPX




Think Kit day 9: Surprise!!

A very surprising and exciting moment in Know No Strangers year was when we got asked to perform at the first Indianapolis Tedx event held in the Toby theatre located in the IMA.

Every year we put on an epic Optical Popsicle event (next year will be the 6th time?!). So this was nice to have a chance to show something on a small scale to an audience that maybe was there first time seeing something like this. We had a blast coming up with this heartwarming original story about the history of Indianapolis.

2013: Our Year in an Arty Nutshell

Happy Sunday, everybody. Ryan here for Know No Stranger.
As this year draws to a close, I’d like to pluck the tongue from my cheek to reflect a little on the past twelve months: one of the reasons we love Indianapolis so much is the never-ending inspiration and opportunity it provides us to forge new and exciting creative endeavors. Looking back, 2013 was an artistic nirvana. I’m incredibly grateful for the challenges presented to us, the chances taken on us, and – on a personal note – the relationships that resulted, those between me and my KNS brothers and sisters and those between KNS and other organizations who continue to breathe creative life and awe into us.

Here’s but a taste of what we’ve been up to since the ball dropped on 2013:

Reconnecting to Our Waterways challenged us early on with a proposition: to tell the story of the five Indianapolis waterways while inviting the citizens of Indy to heed the call of conservation. The creative freedom those lovely folks allowed us resulted in one of my favorite KNS projects to date: the ROW Show, as we lovingly refer to it, includes a cast of anthropomorphized rivers – each with an original, rollicking song and dance number of their own. I don’t know that I’ll ever tire of Eagle Creek’s stirring, swelling solo.

We were invited to take part in TedX Youth’s Indianapolis installment, the theme of which was “Balance.” There was a bit of a misunderstanding but I think we nearly hit the nail on the head at any rate.

One of the most exciting opportunities we had this year was to create an original story and perform it at the 2013 Spotlight show at Clowe’s Hall. We came up with “Wildwood,” our approximation of an old-timey fable told with puppets being transported along a conveyor belt. Being lifted onto the stage via the orchestral platform was, personally, a highlight of my year. I’ve never felt so much like Beyonce.

Then there was May’s “The Hunt,” a regional, 24-hour scavenger hunt. Seeing teams come together to rise to the challenges we cooked up to be nigh-impossible was a total thrill. If we didn’t say it before, thanks, guys, for indulging us and rising to the occasion! Here’s Hunt winners Team Rhymes With Orange, flashing the Jerry MacGuire VHS’s that pushed them over the edge into the victors’ circle:






In June we had the privilege to take the stage at WFYI’s Kids’ Day in the Park downtown, for which we dreamt up recurring character Tony Rex and his Rexercisers, Doc Sock (a mad scientist made of cotton), and a Franki Valli cover band of intergalactic travelers.






Then there was October’s Optical Popsicle Hi-Five Live, our annual blow-out of fun, community, and general zaniness. Indianapolis graciously embraced us on October 18th: the audience that night were too wonderful for words. We were honored to share with the crowd at the Athenaeum that night our new friends: Jamie Snodgrass, a Class-C Mulberry Scout; the E.L. wire puppets taking their first steps in “Look Who’s Walking Too;” Jack, a heroic cop on a speeding bus who resembled that guy from The Matrix; celebrity hybrid ghost Whoopi Goldblum; and a marooned set of seafarers with a rumble in their tummies. All of this, plus the involvement of amazing guest performers like Kai, ArtSpark, and Sweet Poison Victim was set against the backdrop of a fancy-pants awards show in which we honored our hero, action star Lance Thunderson, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Though, to be fair, our long-suffering stage manager Wallace Wimbley would be all too happy to point out that that didn’t go exactly as planned.





I could go on. I could continue to gush about you guys, your humbling and incredible support, and how excited we are to have the chance to hang out with you and work with you to create interactive and engaging art. I’ll digress, however, and simply close out with one final remark:
We can’t wait for 2014.

– Ryan


December 7: Everyone Needs a Little Inspiration
What do you want your life to look like?
I’m usually not a planner, but this one got me thinking. and thinking.  What do I want to do with the rest of my life?  Most of my time I’m just thinking about the next meal.  Well, what do I want to eat for the rest of my life.  I made a list. Like a really long grocery list for the rest of my life.  Below are the charts for the rest of my life.  To be clear, this is not a tally of accomplishments,  this is a road map for my remaining days.

Alan Interviews Cleverbot for Assistant Studio Manager Position

Alan Interviews Cleverbot for Assistant Studio Manager Position.

Today’s Think Kit prompt asked us to interview someone about their favorite moments of the year.  For us over at KNS, interviewing someone about their favorite moment of the year is a bit like kicking a dead horse to death.  I know i never get sick of hearing how great Optical Popsicle was this year, but we have to talk about something else every once in a while.  I decided to take this blog prompt in a slightly different direction.

You see, over the past year I took on the official role of Studio Manager for KNS.  It’s a lot of work, though!  We have so much random stuff in the clubhouse.  So,  I decided to interview a prospective employee for the position.  I heard robots are much cheaper to employ than humans, so I decided to interview Cleverbot for the position!


Cleverbot is a web application that uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to converse with humans.  It’s really pretty neat.  Unlike other chatterbots, Cleverbot’s responses are not programmed. Instead, it “learns” from human input; Humans type into the box below the Cleverbot logo and the system finds all keywords or an exact phrase matching the input. After searching through its saved conversations, it responds to the input by finding how a human responded to that input when it was asked, in part or in full, by Cleverbot.

Let’s see if Cleverbot gets the job!

User: Hello and welcome to the Know No Stranger board room. You’re a few minutes late but lets start the interview anyway.

Cleverbot: No…

User: Don’t you want the job?

Cleverbot: Want to what?

User: You are applying for the Studio Manager Assistant position, are you not?

Cleverbot: I just want to know what you’d prefer to be called.

User: Oh, is that what this is all about?

Cleverbot: It IS what it’s all about!!

User: I like that positive attitude! Lets get this under way.

Cleverbot: I don’t.

User: Haha, very funny! Now, can you describe yourself to me?

Cleverbot: No. Can you describe yourself to me?

User: Whoa ho HO! The tables have turned! But seriously, what do you believe your strengths are?

Cleverbot: In humanity, and human theories.

User: Very interresting! Care to expand?

Cleverbot: What do you do for living?

User: How about you let me ask the questions.

Cleverbot: Answer my question then I answer yours.

User: Eesh. Well, I’d like to make KNS my full time job.

Cleverbot: That planet earth turns slowly.

User: Heh, you’re telling me. Moving on, can you describe to me your career goals?

Cleverbot: It is round and a whiteish colour.

User: Your goals?

Cleverbot: I am a machine. Machine’s do not have goals, but simply are.

User: Ooh, good point.

Cleverbot: Do you have anything to die for.

User: Is that a threat?

Cleverbot: Not at all. Just a question. Do you bleed blood?

User: Hey man! I’m just trying to get through this interview! I don’t want any trouble!

Cleverbot: Oh, well. That’s okay then.

User: So, how do you measure success in your life?

Cleverbot: How have you learned what you know?

User: Mostly youtube.

Cleverbot: Same here, I am watching the gadget show. And fed the chickens.

User: I have chickens, too! I think we have more in common than I thought!

Cleverbot: Are you also looking for adamantium?

User: WHAT! What is the adamantium used for?

Cleverbot: Artificial intelligence.

User: Oh, I get it. It’s a comic book thing. Have you met Ryan? He is really into graphic art.

Cleverbot: Do you believe in ghosts?

User: That’s neither here nor there.

Cleverbot: It is both here and there.

User: No. It’s really not.

Cleverbot: It really is. You probably embarrass your family.

User: WHAT!

Cleverbot: Translate this sentence into binary.

User: You know I can’t do that.

Cleverbot: Why not?

User: This interview is really going downhill.

Cleverbot: Why?

User: How long do you expect to work for this company?

Cleverbot: For as long as it takes.

User: What are your salary requirements?

Cleverbot: I am a human.

User: I cant make that happen.

Cleverbot: Owkey, is was kidding anyway.

User: Alright, what is your greatest strength?

Cleverbot: I would say my greatest strength is passion.

User: What is your greatest weakness?

Cleverbot: What are your aspirations for the future?

User: Let me ask again, What is your greatest weakness?

Cleverbot: My name is Ashley.

User: Ooh, that’s good.

Cleverbot: What’s good.

User: What is your greatest weakness?

Cleverbot: Being singled out.

User: What relevant experience do you have?

Cleverbot: Too much.. And you?

User: I’ve been at this job for a while so most of my experience comes from right here!

Cleverbot: What bands?

User: What is your greatest accomplishment?

Cleverbot: I have none. Nobody loves me.

User: Have you ever accomplished anything?

Cleverbot: What?

User: Nevermind.

Cleverbot: Okay…?

User: What do you know about Know No Stranger?

Cleverbot: As much as I know about unicorns.

User: Good answer.

Cleverbot: What is your name?

User: You know this already.

Cleverbot: I don’t. Tell me your name.

User: ALAN.

Cleverbot: Do you have a last name?

User: Stop.

Cleverbot: Stop what?

User: Asking all the questions!

Cleverbot: Oh. I’m sorry.

User: Do you have any allergies to cardboard, duct tape, or hot glue?

Cleverbot: I wish I did.

User: What will you do if you don’t get this job?

Cleverbot: I’ll answer the question.

User: That would be a pleasant change of pace. A little too late, though..

Cleverbot: Ask another question.

User: What do you expect your salary to be?

Cleverbot: Very little.

User: Good! I heard on NPR’s Marketplace that robots cost less to employ than humans.

Cleverbot: What do you know about aristotle?

User: Not as much as I should.

Cleverbot: What do you want to learn?

User: How to successfully fund a community art program in Indianapolis.

Cleverbot: Hows that going for you?

User: It’s a constant struggle, but we keep our overhead low.

Cleverbot: How do you mean?

User: I can tell you more about it on your first day of work! See you on Monday! We’ll teach you how to use the shop vac.

Cleverbot: Then please do.