Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Language Subtleties

I'm creeped out by the fact that we use "put down" to talk about
starting a baby's nap AND euthanizing our pets.

Interface Question

Under what circumstances would it make sense to create a control that
reads: "Off - High - Medium - Low" instead of "Off - Low - Medium -

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dear Google

Please stop showing me ads for push-up bras. I was looking for pushup bars.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quote of the Day 20090628

"You're going to have a magical life.  Because no matter where you go, it'll be better than Tucson."  - Hamlet 2

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Line of the Night 20090626

"Check out the Rolls Royce."
"Oh wow.  It's like they put it in a wind-tunnel, stepped back, and said, 'Nah, fuck it.  Never mind.'"

Food Run

Quick trip to Little Tokyo for Orochon Ramen (I think we should try Daikokuya one of these days; It's open 'til 1am). Miso #4.  The bowl is giant.  Can't finish it.  After time I realize I'm not a fan of the green peppers or the mass of bean sprouts.  Remember to say that next time.  Adding the chasu gets a single giant slice of pork yumminess.

Naturally, the next step would be to find a place to go to dessert.  Naturally, Diddy Riese in Westwood.  Chocolate chip with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  Wow.

Atomic Ballroom at 1am for swing dancing.  Dance 'til close.  But not with Trisha because she never comes out. :-P

Home.  Either sleep or work out?  Not sure yet.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dancing Highs

Had a fun dance with a follow I hadn't seen in a few months on Friday.  Later on, she told me it was the best dance she'd had in months.  "You've become an amazing dancer!"

Aw shucks!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Conversation

[Author's note:  I have numerous advisers, mentors, and even peers I bounce ideas off of.  I also have a dance mentor who lives inside my head.  The advice he gives is a synthesis of all the advice I've gotten from real conversations, arguments, and "ah ha!" moments.  This is one of those discussions.  If you recognize your words, that's because I probably absorbed your lesson.]

"So what is it that you want out of Lindy Hop," he asked me.

"I want to be an advanced dancer," I replied.

"Where are you now?"

"I think I'm solidly intermediate."

"And what does becoming an advanced dancer mean to you?"

"That's tough to say.  I'm not worried about flash. Or performing.  Or competing.  But I am worried about making a dance fun for my partner.  I'd like to be able to dance with a beginner or a visiting pro and have that person walk away thinking, 'Now that was a fun dance.'"

"That's a good goal.  What do you think you need to do to achieve it?"

"Well, I feel like I'm solid in what I can do now.  But that I need more moves, more vocabulary..."  I stopped as he shook his head.

"No.  What you need is basics."

"I'm ... not sure what you mean 'you need basics,'" I replied, trying not to be offended.  I mean, I knew my basics.

"Well, you said you needed more vocabulary, right?  You chose that metaphor, and one of the old tropes you hear instructors use feeds right into it: 'Dancing is a conversation.'"


"Well, have you ever read a technical journal outside of your field?  Or 'The Canterbury Tales' in their original Old English?  Have you ever thought to yourself, 'I need to learn some of this vocabulary so I can have better conversations with my friends!'  Of course not.  You have better conversations by mastering your basic vocabulary then using it to maximum effect.  Ever seen a poetry slam?  Or a 'spoken word' showcase?  Or an actor doing a one person show show with multiple characters, accents, and points of view?  Or a great stand-up comedian with the audience in the palm of his hand?  Or a an effective political orator swaying the feelings of an audience?  Those people don't use words you don't know.  They have mastery of basic vocabulary."

"That can't be all they have."

"Of course not.  They've also mastered the artistic use of their words, the effective timing, the ability to read a crowd.  The way they _use_ vocabulary might be different from yours."

"But I see advanced dancers doing moves I don't know all the time."

"You're forgetting that this is about having a conversation.  Can you conceive a thought, begin it, and complete it with clarity and directness?   Can you construct a thesis statement and supporting points?"

"The first step is working on your basics.  Variations and new moves come after that.  I'm sure you can probably think of local dancers who have tons of moves, but they don't seem ... quite right.  Or lots of people will complain after dancing with them.  About clarity.  Or harshness.  Or injuries."

"Yeah, I can, now that you mention it.  So you're saying I need to learn how to express my feelings..."

"Feelings?!  No, not your feelings.  I'm saying you should learn how to have the Lindy Hop equivalent of a polite, clear, superficial, conversation with no nuance.  Feelings?!  Feelings are a whole other conversation!!!"

Are there any conversations or observations that you can remember which changed your dancing?   What is the metaphor for dancing that you use most often to express basic concepts?  Has anyone ever told you that you needed more work on your basics when you felt they were already very good?  How did you take it?

Random Administrative Thoughts

I've liked Blogger since I started blogging.  Very easy to use. 

Some things I've changed over time:

In-line comment form.  After turning on Layouts, I was able to have commenting right in the post, not a special page.

star-ratings: possibly more useful if I had more readers

reactions: cool, meh, or lame.  again possibly more useful if I had more readers.

More readers: Possibly have more readers if I posted more. :-/

Embedding voicemail

The first voicemail I left myself at my new number.

Let's see if that works.

Oh, it doesn't embed the transcript.

this is a test this is a test the transcript i'm wondering how well the transcription services court work especially with mark background noise and especially and until call me 21 other or in other words or also to talk alright bye

Google Voice

Caltech buddy, DB asked if anyone was interested in a Google Voice invite.  I responded "hell yeah!"  A couple months later, the invite has been processed and they let me in.

Oh my god.  I got bogged down in choosing a phone number.  Pop-up asked me to search by area code or word or both.

Wait, word?

Yes, like, 1800-dentist or whatever thing companies use to help people remember their numbers.

is there a "john" in 714?  Yes!  714-xxx-JOHN!  And it's an orange-county originating exchange, so that's good.

Hmmm... how about ...
714-988-DICK (Brea!)

But in a moment of bad taste, I settled on 714-69-WHITE.

Sorry mom.