Thursday, July 26, 2007

Musical Ex-Girlfriends

RyanH pointed me at The Shit Parade Show podcast.

We're Joel Church-Cooper, Erin Gibson, and Blake Walker, three twenty something Los Angeles comedy professionals, along with special guests, telling stories about how we've been shaped and influenced by music. We've packaged it into a neat little podcast named The Shit Parade Show (podcast).

The first episode is a pretty interesting topic: Musical Ex-Girlfriends.

Bands who you were once involved with, you loved them, you loved their music, and then over time, you fell out of love with them. And now they're still out there, existing in the world, doing they're own thing, and sometimes you hear them or run into them and you know that your lives have taken different paths. And you wonder, now that you don't like them as much, "Was it me? Was it who I was at the time? Or were they actually good and worth it?"

This is an easy one for me: Depeche Mode and Erasure. Same Euro-electronica genre, but completely opposite tones. I can listen to the stuff I was into and quickly re-connect with it, but I find it difficult to listen to entire songs. Well, except for singles off DM's Black Celebration album.

Hilarious comparisons of ex-favorite bands to ex-girlfriends on the podcast.

So who are your musical ex's?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

High Emotion

Pilgrimgirl wrote about crying during the last Harry Potter book, and I responded with my favorite quote from Sleepless in Seattle.

But I have to admit that I've been brought to tears during the high drama being played out in the Pyrenees between Alberto Contador and Michael Rasmussen (and their supporters, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Boogerd, Yaroslav Popvych, Denis Menchov, and George Hincape).

Maybe only a cycling fan can shed tears over Le Tour de France.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Previous Conversation

Me: The Simpsons and Family Guy might be bad, but at least they're trying to be funny. It's not just shocking because of what it is.

D: Oh, I see.

Me: Do you remember how the doctors would treat the nurses on M.A.S.H.? It's really disturbing.

D: Er...

Me: You don't remember M.A.S.H.?

D: Not really.

Me: Wait, how old were you in 1985?

D: Um, negative two...

Me: Holy shit, I'm old.

If You Like Pina Coladas

I just watched a hilarious segment of Anthony Bourdain's traveling food show, No Reservations, where Tony visits Puerto Rico (or The PR, as I like to call it).

Voice Over: My Spanish may be a bit shaky, but the most important thing is to not screw this up, to not do the usual glossy hotel channel take on this island. I mean, after all, I'm not here for the all inclusive package. This is the anti-tourist show, right? Having said that, I think the producers of this particular episode may have done their research in a cruise ship office, which is why, dear viewer, this trip begins in the unholy trinity of hotel/casino/souvenir district of old San Juan, home of the Barrachina Cafe, the alleged birthplace of the aforementioned gringo favorite, the Pina Colada. Or at least that's what the plaque by the door says.

Tony: "If I wanted to make shows like Rachel Ray, I would come here."

Voice Over: Now tourist-snaring plaques of dubious historical merit normally don't do it for me. But we are talking about alcohol here.
[Tony grimaces then steps inside the Barrachina]

So, I was willing to overlook the La Quinta Inn style decor, the obvious hordes of Carnival Cruise thrill-seekers.
[Tony stands outside the restaurant as tourists file by behind him]

But hey, if I have to drink on camera it might as well be the very best you can get, right? Hand crafted, just for me in the place of it's birth, lovingly poured straight from the ...
[record scratch to silence]
Semi-Serve 5000 frozen drink machine?! What the fuck?!

Tony: "Apparently the recipes are all for industrial portions."

Bartender: "We use one can of coconut, and four cans of pineapple juice.
There's the coconut. You can see the coconut is very nice.
[Tony stares unbelievingly]
These are the pineapple juice...
[Bartender pours two cans in at once]

Tony: "Can you just make me one drink?"

[Bartender pours second pair of cans]

Tony: "Instead of an industrial vat?"

[Bartender pours mix into frozen drink dispenser]

Voice Over: Yup, nothing says the original like 20 gallons of pre-made mix! But aren't we missing one key ingredient?

Tony: "What about the rum?"

Bartender: "We just put the rum in the glass, and then put the pina colad mix inside the glass. Easy."

Voice Over: Wow, that's depressing.

--- --- ---

Tony: "That was extremely depressing, wasn't it? You ever see Puerto Ricans sitting around in large numbers, drinking Pina Coladas? I haven't."

[Tony walks past a Pizza Hut]
"What is the real Puerto Rico? I have no idea, but I know that that was not it."

Voice Over: It's times like this, you wish you had a local by your side.

Tony: "I should just call my old shop steward, Ernesto. I stabbed him in the hand, once, with a meat fork. After which we became really good friends."

--- --- ---

Voice Over: They like their pork out here, and no one more so than the Lechonera Los Pinos.

[Tony stares through a window at pigs on spits]

Tony: "Oooh, look at this! Come on! Oooh, yes! Oh, you are mine! Oh magical animal!"

Voice Over: Each one of these 300 lb beasts is lovingly marinated basted, roasted, then hacked apart by owners Tomas and Carmen, yielding one of the most sublime meats imaginable. Mmmmm, pig!

Tony: "Well, clearly we're going to have to eat here."

[Tony stands at the ordering station rubbing his hands together]

Tony: "Ok, I'm going to need the undivided attention of at least two or three of these employees. I want some head, I want some ass, and I want some ... that doesn't sound good, does it?"

[Man cuts cheek off of pig]

Tony: "God, look at that. That's the single best piece on the pig. Once you've got the cheek, you're pretty much in God's country. Some people watch porn. I ..."

Guide: "You watch men chopping pork."

Tony: "Yes... I do."

--- --- ---

[Tony is served]

Tony: "Oh man, look at that, I'm just swooning at this."
Guide: "Looks like there's pork in the beans too."
Tony: "Yes, there must be. A bean without pork is like an orphaned child."

[Tony cuts pork]
Tony: "Oh look at that, it's just moist and tender. It's a gorgeous mosaic of pork. They don't mess it up with sauce."
Guide: "They rub it with garlic and sofrito.... And you just get under the skin, rub the meat with it. They give it a massage."
Tony: "Well that's the way I want to go. Before you put me on the spit, at least give me a fucking massage."

[Tony takes a bite]
Tony: "I want to die with a big mouthful of this."

--- --- ---

Guide: "Did they do it right?"
Tony: "They do it better than right. This is..."
Guide: "We have to kiss Carmen on the way out."
Tony: "Any part of her body she wants."
Truly amazing food porn.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Awkward Part 3

Like the Giant Tortoises of the Galapagos, time swims inevitably on.

Part 1
Part 2

I'm theoretically having lunch tomorrow with my disappeared friend. It's an anniversary of sorts, and I'm trying to re-connect with the buddies I hung out with all last summer (that means RyanH and GF too).

Hadn't thought of, or revisited this issue for a while, which I guess is a good thing. Embarrassing to see I wasn't comfortable enough with my blogging "confessional" to admit to my own attraction to this gal, and that I had brought this up with her three or four months before the disappearance. I guess that changes the context of the story a lot. Seems silly now to have thought that it was a non-issue. Whatever, it's such a waste of time to speculate about other people's motivations.

About a month ago I realized that I hadn't even thought of the issue for close to six months, since I chatted for a bit with her mother. Hmmm... this requires some explanation. I had some books this friend lent me which were a bit irritating to have around. I'd be feeling disconnected from the whole issue, then trip over this stack of books which would remind me. So I asked her about a good time to return them (email). Didn't hear back for 24 hours, so arranged to drop them off at her mother's place. Her mother, by the way, was very cool about the whole thing.
Me: I'm so sorry to do this to you. I feel very awkward.
Her: Oh John, don't worry about it. So... Do you want to talk about it?
Me: Er. I don't know what to say. Probably not.
Not cool to complain about your friends to their mother when you're over 30, right? And I'm very sensitive to sounding like a "spurned lover" as CraigH puts it. But we did chat about books, which is always cool.

Briefly traded emails with her sister when looking for a partner to take swing dance lessons with at Imperial Ballroom. That fell through, but it was still nice to chat and re-connect.

Does it sound horrible that after 7 months of silence, I assumed that I'd get ignored or get the polite brush-off? Hmmm... I'd even forgotten that I'd essentially decided not to reach out, going so far as sending an email stating this intention. Well, it seems a little petty to not try to reconnect in order to keep making a point.

RyanH tells me that I must have wanted to see her again, or I wouldn't have reached out. That's clearly true. I do feel some trepidation, though. Having gotten out from under the pain, I'd prefer not to subject myself to it again.

So what's my strategy? Be polite, charming, funny, but don't re-start the friendship? Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?


Chatting with D, at Atomic on Friday night.
A boy asked me to dinner. It's the first time that's happened!

Yikes. Ever? Really?

Yeah, really. I've asked guys out, but never the other way around. Part of me is excited because [jumping clapping] a boy likes me!

Too funny! Dating is a good way to figure out what kind of people and relationships you're looking for. If you manage not to get bogged down in any single person.

Yeah, I guess so.

Maybe we should talk about it over dinner.



I was sensitive and encouraging, though. But every other sentence from that point on out of my mouth was, "And after that, do you want to get some dinner?"

Ok, that's not that sensitive. But it was hilarious. Trust me. Ok, maybe I'm the only one who thought so. But not even I thought so after she told me I made the joke in front of the guy who asked her.

Who am I kidding, I still think it's hilarious!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 2007 Dancing Week 3

I meet up with Amantha before classes to try to get her some of the choreography she's missed over the past two weeks. We're doing the California Routine in the Harlem Styling series class, Big John's Special, and The Atomic Routine.

California Routine
Add the "jump-tuck turn" after the mini-lift. Rock-step, jump-tuck, jump-turn. Neat.

Big John's Special
I'm finally getting the over-rotating circle, which I totally blocked on last week. I was really frustrated last week. Get to the solos section, and I'm the only one who really continues dancing, which makes it a With-An-H solo. I blow a raspberry at my classmates, as we were all supposed to keep dancing. Mark tells me later that it was the classic case of everyone else taking a step back while I stayed in place with my partner!

The Atomic Routine
We do the first tap section again, and I get really frustrated again. I'm already tired, and I don't ask for Jenny to slow down the hop-switch f'lap-step. I do manage to write out all the steps later on for personal review.

I preemptively take off chunks of time during the evening's social dancing, and come out feeling tired, but ok at the end of the evening. Didn't stay to the end, but I was still there after midnight.

Classes earlier in the evening:
Jenny teaches some random stuff for 6:15. Foot styling for 20's Charleston, then Shag (wait, is Chris teaching?!). 20's Charleston foot styling for Shag, transition from closed to open two-handed, then single-handed, then falling-off-the-log. Back to open, back to closed, then double-kick.

Jenny says I made her Sunday, but says she'll tell me why later. I never did get the story.

Jerry teaches the club dance class, trying to sell us all on club dance transitions.

Ending choreography is:

Hustle send-out
Hustle come-back
Hustle send-out with inside turn
Hustle come-back
Hustle send-out
Sugar Push
Sugar Push
Walk Through
Walk Through
Swing-Out (double-time, Harlem)
Charleston basic
Jig Kicks (6 count)
Rock-step, Cross Behind & Turn, Break on 5-6, cheat weight to downstage foot (1-2 & 3)
Step-drag, Step-drag, hop & slide to closed
Salsa Basic
Cross-body Lead
Salsa Basic
Cross-body lead
Balboa basic

Tandem Charleston
Darren organizes the class really well, getting us into the groove with some easier stuff early on, and saving the crazy entrance to be the last thing he teaches.

We learn:
Follow Turn variation (cross arms and out-in on 5-6)
Lead-Follow Turn variation (lead left-to-right hand-off, out-in on 5-6)

Jump-Kick variation in standard Charleston, then in Tandem. Rock-step, hop-switch, hop-switch, hop-switch.

Push-out exit (push-out on 3, anchor with right, turning follow into
side Charleston)

Crazy entrance:
Leads: 1-2-3-step, run-run, down (right crosses behind; optional
touching of ground)

Both: step-kick, step-kick, step-kick (with crazy hand styling,
reconnect in Tandem Charleston)

I try the in-out move during social dancing. I think I freak Laura out doing it.

The original idea was to meet up with the group to work on choreography for teams and Sunday classes. I brought a video camera to do a video and critique, but we never use it. Maybe I'm the only one who's interested in that. Amantha and I get through most of Jeep Jockey Jump. I leave out the non-partner stuff between the A's and B's section. Jerry seems to think that the filming thing is a great idea. Class, anyone? Maybe a private lesson is a better venue for that. We do a tiny bit of review on the tap section. I'm frustrated all over again when I'm told that the f'lap doesn't change weight in the hop-switch-f'lap section. But I'm right. I manage not to say "I told you so."

Bal/Shag Routine (Jenny)
I've been spiking out by releasing and doing a left to left hand connection, when we're supposed to just maintain left to right. Oops.

Shine Patterns (Jenny)
These are the jazz steps that one can do solo, especially when one gets disconnected from one's partner. Boogie Backs, Boogie Forwards, Sit-Backs, Shorty George's, Walk-Arounds, Picking Cherries, Apple Jacks, and whatever that run-run-scuff-ball-change thing is called. Chevon (?), Paul's daughter, joins us for this class. Later, I dance with her, since I dance with all the girls under 12. Wow, that really sounds creepy.

The Shizzle (Jerry)
Alan and Jeremy (Brock's brother) join the class. Awesome to see those guys. The class is named after a random Jerry move: lead swivel prep's the end of a sugar push (two-hand connection and push in with right, slightly winding-up the follow counter-clockwise), and release the left hand. Open up the follow in a clockwise rock-step. Bring follow counter-clockwise on the triple, wrapping almost into a cuddle with the lead behind the follow (lead's left hand gives a slight reference tap on the shoulder at the end). Unwind into a double turn.

Following the Shizzle move with a move that starts with the same opening rock-step. Turn the follow, while giving direction towards oneself. Hand on the back for the end of a reverse swing-out.

Social Dancing:
I take frequent breaks. :-) Not a jam packed night, but there are lots of partners to dance with. OC Swing crew is there later on, doing they're thing. I dance a cool, bluesy song with Francis. She's got tons of cool footwork variations, so I do tons of swing-outs. Oh, and I remember to lead switches, which works out really well. I really need to bring it to dance with her.

Amantha and I do a Jill and Jack (she leads, I follow) dance. Awesome! Nicole says "hi" to me on her way out. Am I off her no-dance list? Not bothering to find out. Audrey tells me she's auditioning tomorrow morning for Teams. Good for her. It'll super-charge her dancing.
Good dance with cute Chelsea. She remembers me and says she was hoping I'd ask her to dance. She doesn't bring her boyfriend tonight, as he's tired from doing country, salsa, and jazz dancing on successive nights. Yikes. Which reminds me that I didn't get to do my "is that your boyfriend," then dance at arms length joke tonight. Damn! Hey, where's Liz tonight? One of the best dances of the night was with Stacia, who I vaguely recognize, I think. Maybe. Cool Bal practice with Tammy. Always cool dances with Michelle.

Best follows I danced with were Francis, Stacia, and Akiko.

Team Practice
Aubri says that AB Practice is going to be pure technique from here on out, with Swing 1 doing routines. Cool. We take the crouch, slide-open off of the swing-out and practice. Hey, Tim is back! I show him the swing-out footwork, and recognize the confusion that a single unfamiliar thing will create in his swing-out. Scott's back too.
Swing 1 practice is new choreography to a Boogie Woogie song by Elvis (but I dont't know the title. Could it be Boogie Woogie?). Lots of formation work.

Lunch after is awesome as usual, but the Shrimp Pad Thai from Spicy Thai is kind of a rip-off. I needs more protein! Chicken satay from here on out.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

July 2007 Dancing Week 2

Harlem Styling
Less drilling before the class on what up-holds are. More work on reminding people of the choreography, then speeding the choreography up. Lots of repetition. Add in the "frog" jump.

I get really blocked on a section of Big John's Special. We do an over-rotated Lindy Circle, adding in 90 degrees and 45 more, all with Harlem styling. I'm just not getting around far enough. Over and over again, partner after partner. I see Mike doing it seemingly effortlessly, which shows me it can be done. Sucks to not get it.

Atomic Routine is still just review.

Dance Slower
Darren teaches us west-coast moves, but I don't remember much of it. Charles, Michelle, and Fred are now regulars at the Atomic classes.

Sugar Pie
Plural of sugar pushes, not choreography to "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch." I meet Ian's fiancee formally for the first time. What's up with Atomic Ballroom and redheads?

Sugar Push
Sugar Push with triples
Block Turn
Swiveling Sugar Push
something else

GF told me a couple weeks ago that Hightop didn't just do salsa dancing, but swing too! I dropped him a note, and last week we agreed to meet up at Lindy Groove. Since I have a week to plan ahead, Charles, Mark, and Michelle rally at my place, and we carpool. We don't make the classes, but have a full night of dancing. Introduce Michelle and Mark to Hightop. And separately to SL. But do I introduce Hightop and SL to each other? I don't think I do. Funny.

See Phil there. It's a lot closer to his place, and he's now a regular at Lindy Groove.

Finally understand what SL wants to do musically during dances, but I'm a few years behind in my skill-set and knowledge of the songs. At the very least, I'd like to get someone to teach the lead for a half-time walkthrough

We get back to Brea pretty late, but trek to Dennys for a meal. Note to self: don't do that next time! :-)

Social dancing: Wow, I was tired at this point. Took off big blocks of time. My shirt dried off and everything. 40 minute vacation at one point! Left around midnight, exhausted. Should have left earlier. My dancing was suffering, my footwork was lazy, and I was probably pretty uninspiring to dance with from about 10pm on. Sad. I wonder if I can really do two nights of social dancing in a row without this happening. Same thing happened when I went to the Firehouse a few weeks ago...

People asked if the place was hotter than normal. I don't think it was, though it might have been more humid. It's a real problem for them. Along with the decision to not size up the water purifier (which leads to a lack of free, filtered water).


Bal/Shag Routine (Jenny)
I keep forgetting to release for the spike-out. Yeesh. We do the choreography all the way to the drags, so perhaps this month we'll get to the end of the song. Well, maybe not, but perhaps we'll get farther than we've ever gotten before.

10-30 Count Moves (Aubri)
As usual, Aubri comes prepared with choreography.
Free Spin
from open, two handed hold, tuck left on rock-step, right on the first triple, spin left on the second, releasing left hand.
Spin to closed
rock-step, opening up, leading a rotational rock-step, flick towards lead, triple-cross-in-front, triple-closed
Tuck turn
switch hands and end in no-looky position (facing away)
Around the world
Double-tucking action, rock-step-tuck, triple-tuck, flicking triple (and lead half-turn)

Hijacks (Aubri)
A hijack is when the follow takes over the move from the lead. Aubri's husband, Michael, rotates through as a follow, so I get to do the hijacks as a follow with him (we switch off half-way through).

Tuck turn
On the 4, the follow step-preps for the turn, adding a forearm hold on the lead, and turns counter-clockwise on 5-and-6 (opposite of a normal tuck-turn).
Walk-through #1
On 3-and-4, the follow holds the lead's left hand like an axe, turns the move into 8 counts by bringing him around the left side on 5-6-7-and-8. So a slightly rotated chopping motion.
Walk-through #2
On 4, the follow signals a swing with the connected hand, and leads a lead-turn by swinging the hand in a clockwise (to her) "O" shape.
Circle Lead Change
On 5-6, the follow crosses the front of the lead, assuming the lead positioning, and over-rotating to get into the lead's starting position.

What was awesome was repeating the sequence as a follow once the follow had hijacked the lead on the circle lead change.

Jerry and Katie were around, but left some time during the hijacks class.

Team Practice

Aubri is instructing, and we work on technique again: Traveling swing-outs, paying attention to lines, formations, etc. Jerry, Katie, and Delilah come towards the end of practice, and Jerry talks to us for a bit about their future vision for the teams.

Later start time with socializing/meals afterwards
This idea makes sense since a lot of the staff are around at 2:30am, then need to be back before 10am for practice. Unfortunately, they float the idea of starting at 4pm and finishing at 7. My guess is that they're going to get push-back on this issue. Not much time for a social life outside of Atomic if Friday and Saturday evenings are consumed by teams. I wouldn't mind starting at 1pm. I just realized that I have no idea how long the Swing 2 team practices go.

"Re-formulating" Levels
Choreography Class where one just learns team choreography plus the level classes. AB would be for technique, Swing 1 to clean up the choreography, Swing 2 to clean up the next level of choreography (I think).

Return of the Pro Team
I assume this means a competition level team

Friday, July 20, 2007

July 2007 Dancing Week 1

Since I've let so much time go by since writing about dancing classes, the memories have started to fade. Hence, the compressed format.

The Sunday classes this month are all series (progressive), and all taught by Jenny, who's a big-time taskmistress when she's set loose. I'll have to remind myself to ask her who's she's channeling when she cracks the whip.

5:30pm Harlem Swing
Harlem styling refers to doing up-holds (also known as a scoot-step) instead of a triple-step. This is standard for Atomic Swing Teams choreography to faster music. We practice the variation with swing-outs and various East Coast Swing moves, then work on speeding up our swing-outs with the styling. Faster, faster, faster. I'm left gasping for breath, and soaked through with sweat. Taskmistress indeed.
Jenny has worked on the choreography for Frankie Manning's California Routine for us to work on during the series, so we learn the first chunk and work on speed.

Big John's Special
Another Teams choreography class. Preston is here to join us in learning. It'll be good for him! More choreography learning, and speed work, again with Harlem styling.

The Atomic Routine
This is tough on the people new to Teams, as we've been working on it for a month already. Just one? I guess I'm learning choreography faster than I was before. Fred and Michelle are the newbies there working hard to catch up. I remember being in that same position with See Ya Later Alligator when I first joined. Still haven't learned that, but it's a Swing 2 routine.

Don't remember anything about the first two classes, but the Bal Swing-outs class at 7:45 was pretty darn cool. Really got to work on the Bal swing-out we do in The Atomic Routine (spike on 7, come-around, re-connect, finish swing-out or circle). We learn another one where instead of connecting lead's left-hand to follow's left, the leads release both hands after 5, slight the right hand down the follow's left and spike with leader's right hand to follow's left. Do we do another one? I don't remember.

Social dancing is a blur.

Bal/Shag Routine
Again, I've been doing this for three months, and we have new people joining for the first time. So we go slow. Charles is here too, now?
Flying Lindy
Just refers to Harlem styling again. No real memories, though.

Team Practice
First practice with a new cohort of people joining. Michelle ("my" recruit) and Fred had auditioned and joined earlier (along with taking classes). Amantha (another recruit of mine) auditions right before the practice. Several of these people are joining Swing 1 as well.

Aubri runs the practice, and it's completely technique. Two footwork variations.

Leaders: kick-ball-change, ball-change-step, step-step, crouch-slide open
Harlem styling (up-holds on 3 and 7)

Then traveling swing-outs. Then practice traveling while staying in lines. Tough, team-oriented stuff.

Lunch after. Amantha doesn't come. Michelle, Fred, and Charles are the new members who do. Krysia comes as well (she's not on the Swing 2 team, I'm surprised to find out). Lots of good bonding. We're there 'til after 3pm, over two hours! Nice people.

Back in the evening for swing dancing (first Saturday of the month). Live band! The Fabulous Esquires truely are fabulous. one odd moment when in the middle of the song, the band leader warns everyone that the song switches to 3/4 timing for a bit. It was strange to dance to, but I'm not clear why. Lots of beginners, and one of the cute follows really gushes every time we dance. I find that awkward. Still need to learn to take a complement. The band plays Jeep Jockey Jump! The teams people who know it do it in a circle. Awesome! I think my partner is Liz, and I manage to screw up the B section the first time through. Damn! Rest of the night is a blur, but so much fun.

Sprint Ahead

Have you seen the Sprint Ahead campain "moving lights" commercial? Pretty cool.

Making of:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Colbert & Me

Thanks for reminding me of this stuff, RyanH! And, you know, actually doing it.

Getting Physical

Worked out at the gym for the first time in a number of weeks. Switched to an evening session with my trainer, as mornings just weren't working. I asked to focus on our basic balance-ball routine:
15lb tricep extension
25lb chest press
20lb bicep curl
15lb shoulder press

(and repeat)

Then some core/abdominal work:
Prone iso ab
Side iso ab

(you need to search down a bit for the pictures of these exercises)

Crunches (left, middle, right) 15 reps (that is, left-middle-right counts as a single rep; 45 crunches total)

Ran home to get water, then, inspired by the Tour de France, returned for spin class with Liz. She's a great spin instructor: always on time, always ready with a pre-set play list, and ready with goals for each song. And she remembers my name and the fact that I had last taken her class with a co-worker. So awesome! She doesn't program any off-time into her class, so I have to purposefully do some higher-cadence, lower resistance recovery in the short time she leaves between songs. It's not hard to remember to do as my legs are burning with lactic acid at the end of each song. She's in amazing shape, doing high cadence "runs" out of the saddle during songs while shouting encouragement to the rest of us. My ego is usually a help to me in spin classes, as I want to walk out feeling like there wasn't really anyone there who was putting out more than I except the instructor. This class, I'm working so hard that I barely have time to check out how hard my bike-neighbors are doing.

Liz has an iPod, which I remember I was telling her she should get.
"Honey, this was a Christmas present! Has it really been that long since you were here?!" Oops. Probably. I think it's been morning classes exclusively since the new year. Perhaps I should be doing more evening classes on non-dancing days. Hmmmm....

I'm completely wrung out at the end of class. My shirt is soaked. My shorts are soaked. I've only taken in a liter of fluids during the hour, instead of the 1.5+L that I average, but get in another liter over the next 20 minutes.

Here's a graph of my effort (heartrate):

Wow, that's really interesting to see. You can clearly see a 10 minute warm-up period, after which I really don't really dip below 135 bpm until the warm-down. There are spikes where I tickle 170 bpm, and times where it's clear that I'm spending extended periods of time trying to maintain maximum effort (well, minutes at a time as opposed to 15 second peaks).

Contrasted with a leisurely 45 minute ride I did with Moms and Sis on the 16th:

I barely break 140 bpm during the entire ride. Not surprising, really. It was more about getting out on the bike with the family than doing any kind of strong ride.

Instead of heading straight home, I run by Sears to pick up the mini version of the George Forman grill ($20), then head by the grocery store for pre-marinated chicken thighs ($2.50/lb). Bachelor dinner on the small scale is a bit easier with this appliance. I'm going to try some veg from the Fullerton Farmers Market tomorrow. Grilled tomatoes! Zucchini, perhaps? Oh, and I'll try to remember to get more Heed fluid replacement from Banning's Bikes; Pure water just isn't cutting it during spin).

I'm still literally soaked through with sweat while running these errands. I'm lucky not to be dripping.

I sleep well and feel that nice touch of soreness the next morning. Enough to remind myself I worked, but nothing debilitating. I spend an embarrassing amount of time flexing in the mirror. I'm finally losing enough abdominal fat to see the beginnings of a hint of the abdominal six-pack. Pictures to follow. No, not really.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Richard Simmons

As promised! Krysia gets me the picture of Richard Simmons and I when the Atomic Ballroom Swing Teams visited Slimmons in Beverley Hills.

Helloooo Christmas card!

We had an awesome time visiting Slimmons. It was everything you'd expect, so over-the-top. But fun!

Friday, July 6, 2007

June Dance Wrapup

I guess I neglected to mention earlier that Katie and Jerry (but mostly Katie) had their daughter on Monday night, 20060618. I was holding out for Jayden Jordan, but I doubt that's going to happen.

Upside: Aubri is here and teaching! In Bal/Shag, Jenny's doing the choreography and Aubri's giving us technique tips. The big one is the come-around with a open pose on 7-8: I have to really get the follow around and behind me as I open her up.

Floorcraft is interpreted by Aubri as a tweak of regular moves to move us around on the dance floor. Very cool.

Pirouette's are spins. Finally learn that flashy lead spin: it's at the tail end of a circle, with the prep on 7. I think. I should have written this earlier.

No team practice

Technique and the Atomic Routine taught by Jenny. Technique is always awesome, but we're still slow on the Atomic Routine for the new team members who joined the class. I'll never learn that darn tap section!

Aubri again teaches all the upper level classes. Awesome! But it's all a blur.

Bal/Shag is slowed by new people again. Oh well.

Aubri morphs Savoy Styling class into mini-choreography incorporating the Savoy Kick during Charleston. The class has lots of new moves, which I feel I can use that same night! Especially the Swing Out with Free Spin which doesn't use the left hand at all.

Bombdiggity class: I take it all back. This was all new moves (a barrel roll?!) that weren't socially useful at all! :-)

Aubri is clearly the best swing instructor I've had. She's incredibly prepared, with written choreography for each class and relevant notes. My one critique: she's constantly praising me. That makes me nervous and doesn't feel genuine. I actually work harder for Jenny, who withholds love. I mean love. Praise! Withholds praise!

Isn't there a YouTube clip of Aubri dancing? I think this is her, but am not 100% certain. Well, I'm 100% certain that that's Aubri's dancing styling, body language, and hair.

UPDATE: No, it's not Aubri. Oh well, it's still an awesome clip.

As social dancing winds down on Friday night, I make sure that Trish was going to come out and dance with me. Jenny gave me the "Hey, what about me?!" gesture and vocalizations. I thought she only danced with guys named Chris and Will, and mention that. "You can ask me to dance any time," she replied. That special thrill I got can only be obtained by withholding love. I mean praise.

And later as I leave, "Seriously John, you can ask me to dance any time." Seriously, I'm still totally intimidated, but almost there.

Aubri is running the team practice today, and is a tough taskmistress. We run Jeep Jockey so many times that I'm soaked through with sweat. And I keep screwing up the solos. Damn you canceled practice last week! Might be the fact that I'm an A instead of a B solo too. Aubri has interesting technique observations, and still manages to praise too much (for my taste). I like the Katie/Jerry/Jenny honesty. I'm not a beginner who needs my ego stroked. :-) Well, I do, but I need to fell like it's genuine praise, and hers comes a bit too freely. What a weird thing to be fixating on. Maybe it's because of my talent crush. So I need to find something wrong and work that for all it's worth.

I said talent crush, not actual crush. Crush on the talent, not on the person. Does no one know what the heck I'm talking about?!

Danie is on teams now! Hooray!

Swing 1 team starts out with traveling swing-out practice, then we watch the team Shim-Sham. Then start to learn Big John Special. Find out that See-Saw is a simplified version of Big John, so we're learning two for one.

Lunch with Liz and Gerald after. Wiped out! Thai Spice is a welcome meal.

Live Free And Glom On

I meet up with Ryan in the late afternoon for a meal at Blue Agave. Too much food. We're too late to get good seat for Knocked Up at the Brea Edwards, so we see Live Free or Die Hard. Enjoyable, but I popped out of my suspension of disbelief at the amount of damage Bruce Willis's character takes. And some stunts were just not believable.

I'm looking for dessert, so we check out The Yardhouse. It has cool decor, cool music (just too loud), and cool drinks. But somehow, the combination makes me hate everything about the place. We get seated, but I run into a gal that I've ridden with (and have a tiny crush on), so we move to her table with her friends. I'm introduced to my crushes girlfriend. Did I see that coming? I actually did. They're a cool group, and I'm shameless about glomming on to a group of people who haven't heard my jokes. Wait, that's why I hate The Yardhouse. I can't make it on good looks, so I rely on my humor. And if the music's too loud to hear my jokes...

Damn you Yardhouse!

Cool With The Kids, Rats In The Kitchen

I'm supposed to shadow Betsy today to learn how to open/close the Meetinghouse, but am about 20 minutes late. Oops. I get the gist, and make some notes on the quirky things. I actually thought I was just learning how to open, but no, closing too. As part of opening, I find out that the A/C isn't working in the main meeting room. Yikes. I make the decision to hang out with the kids, as their room is cool. Spend some quality time chatting with Sonia and Kathy.

Off to meet up with the Remys to see Ratatouille. I really enjoy the movie, as they clearly payed attention to the writing as well as the animation. The only part that lags is the conflict between the rat's advice and the love-interest's advice. A bit contrived. Very much a plot device.

Back to the Remy pad for a Remy meal. John Remy, that is. Then I realize I have to leave to dance at Atomic. Next time!