I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Smithra

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Some guys have all the luck [Jul. 27th, 2009|12:44 pm]
I've once again won post of the week over at Best Thing Ever

I think I'm the last person to get nothing for it, rather than the first person to get something. But if I do end up profiting, I feel like I should probably share with Josh. So, Josh, you may just be 2.5 dollars richer today than you were yesterday.

Mexico & other stories will be forthcoming. Maybe even this week. I've got a lot of half-finished projects, though, so that might end up going on a back-burner.
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Tipped off of the table, you watched as it started to fall. Glass popped, shattered and splattered [Jun. 8th, 2009|10:58 pm]
Robert Fulghum has an essay somewhere where he talks about small miracles. The little things we don't often properly appreciate. Things like the time you drop a glass and it bounces three times and doesn't break. Or the lady that rear-ends you, but doesn't damage either vehicle. When your deposit clears right before the check it has to cover. When the rain waits until you're safely home before just really letting rip. That sort of thing.

Last night, I couldn't sleep. I decide to punch something up on Hulu. I got a big glass of water, set it on the end table which I use as a coffee table. I start clearing off the the couch, so I'll have a place to sit/lie down. Clean laundry goes in the basket, dance bag goes on the...crap. I've just knocked my water glass off the table and...into the into the saucepan which had earlier held the spaghetti I had for dinner. The miracle is not that the glass didn't shatter. The glass shattered. The miracle is not that landing in the saucepan stopped it from making a mess. Turns out that dropping 24 ounces of water from 2 feet up into a 2 quart pan can throw a lot of rehydrated spaghetti sauce all over your floor. No, the miracle is that despite being barefoot at the time and wandering around the area barefoot many times since then, I've yet to cut myself or find any stray glass shards. So, here's hoping that all the glass really did stay in the pan and I'm not in for a rude awakening later in the week.
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If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to [May. 2nd, 2009|02:31 am]
"Do not speak unless you can improve upon the silence" is a saying I stole from Lindsey. Google says it's a Quaker saying.

A friend is beginning a creative exercise. He'll be writing fiction in the form of a blog. I critiqued a draft of the first few for him and it got me thinking in a couple of directions. One is all the projects I think about starting, but never actually start. Another is about the things that I do, but which I never show anyone else.

A recent hobby of mine has been writing Contra Dances. In a conversation with a friend, I mentioned that I'd written one that turned into a triple-reverse-progression (not even a Becket). Her reply was "You've written a dance we haven't seen yet?" and my response was something like "Duuuh!" It was probably more polite, but it reminded me that in our post-twitter (ok, can't really blame everything on twitter, but it's more fun that way) society that any idea you have can be published immediately, and often is. This isn't always a bad thing, but it produces a lot of noise to wade through looking for the good stuff.

I won't claim that my writing, photos, videos, dances are all great or have passed a stringent weeding-out process, but I try to at least give them a first-cut, sparing my lovely audience from the worst of the batch. But of course some things slip through. For example, this entry is really just an excuse to tell you all something I always expected but hadn't bothered to look up.

NaNoWriMo has 125,596 registered authors, 21,731 of whom actually wrote 50,000+ words.
NaNoEdMo has 363 registered editors, 9 of whom didn't even log half an hour of editing the whole month.
Clearly, the desire to create far outpaces the desire to create quality.

Randomness followsCollapse )
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Who needs a house out in Hackensack? Is that all you get for your money? [Apr. 4th, 2009|12:33 pm]
I lent Chris a cd at last year's Dance Trance. I got it back this week. 9 months in a glove compartment adds character to a CD. I threw it in the CD player in the car, just to make sure that its newfound character didn't adversely affect audio quality. So, all this week I've been listening to Counting Crows' "Hard Candy" going to & from work. It's been a good week for that CD. There's a tone to a lot of the songs that's somewhere between "this is frustrating and I'm just going to make the best of it" and "I'm just going to get out."

Work's been trying of late. Mostly it's my own fault. Never admit to having ideas. Ideas usually amount to extra work for you. My first inclination was to whine, but then a voice in my head said I probably shouldn't. For one thing, the things I'm frustrated by wouldn't even be that bad in a better economy. My job is a cakewalk compared to other jobs I've held, and I'm sure there are a lot of lousy jobs I never had that other people are just as grateful to have now as I was then. I'm taking advantage of the longer days to appreciate the shorter days.

In a lot of ways, I think I have Jenny to thank for that benefit of perspective. When I was fresh out of college, mailing resumes during the day and removing staples at night, she had an internship with a tech company in RTP. She used to complain all the time about the work she was given and about the meetings she had to attend. I would've gladly sat in meetings for $20/hr. Heck, I'd do it for $10. I was pretty critical of her attitude then, and later when she had to work from home due to an injury. I'd still like to be able to work from home, not all the time, but it'd be nice on occasion. Ever since then, I do my best not to complain. I've got it pretty damn good.

I know that, at the moment, I'm doing better than a lot of people. My job's relatively secure, I have savings, and I'm not retiring any day soon, so hopefully my 401K will have recovered by the time I do. But even people I know who have lost jobs, hours, pay, etc. are really not doing that bad. They're still living indoors, drinking clean water and eating multiple warm meals every day.

The Peng & I were having a discussion at one point where he said that it really didn't matter what your job was or if you had a girlfriend or a nice house or a lousy house or anything. He told me that we just get used to whatever we have, and we learn to be happy with that. Everything else is normalized to that. Anything better is great and anything less is horrible. If we get great for long enough, it becomes normal and the old normal becomes terrible, and the same is true for moving the other direction.

I think it is all summed up by this video this video.
I also highly recommend this radio piece.
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(no subject) [Mar. 31st, 2009|08:32 am]
At dinner on Sunday, it somehow came up that I enjoyed washing dishes as a child. And because I was dancing 17 of the past 48 hours, with 3 hours dedicated to calling & choreography, dance was even more on my mind than usual. I compared it to a balance & swing, and everyone laughed and said I was crazy. Because I'd only had 12 hours of sleep in that 48 hours, I couldn't articulate what I meant. Even people who claimed to see how it made sense, didn't really get it. This morning, I realized my mistake was being in a room with people who weren't choreographers.

It's still not a perfect analogy, but few are. For anyone tuning in late, I'm the second oldest of 6 kids. For a large portion of my younger years, I also had 2 foster siblings with autism. Our house was usually pretty happening. Even now, I sometimes have trouble concentrating on things without something in the background to tune out. When I did the dishes (no dish washer mind you, uphill both ways and the whole bit) everyone else was off in other corners of the house, and I could turn on my music and just take my time. Washing dishes doesn't require a lot of thought or physical exertion. I could take a deep breath and not worry about what came before or after and just be in the moment.

From a dance writing standpoint, a balance and swing can serve the same purpose. How many times, have you been dancing a complicated dance and heard the caller say out over the crowd: "balance & swing your partner. Wherever you are, find your partner, swing, just swing. Swing now." For both the caller & the dancers, it's 16 counts of music where they don't have to worry. Even if you screwed up the 48 counts between your last swing & now, you now have a lot of time to breathe, collect yourself and get ready to try it again. If you were behind, you have plenty of time to catch up. If you were on-time, you still get a nice stretch of time to recenter and get ready for whatever weird formation your Physicist or Geologist or Computer Science choreographer planned for you.

So, there.
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When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long [Feb. 20th, 2009|12:42 am]
Everyone knows that times are tough.
But that's just kind of a general thing.
You hear it on the news. One guy in South Carolina
is talking about his struggles with the system.
Congress passed a bill to address the problem,
which delays it for some people, but not for everyone.
It's simply not enough.
Then it hits home. Someone you know is affected.
You look on facebook and see the following update:
[Name] is peeved she can't watch the Simpsons because
she can't afford a damn convertor box.
Please keep in your hearts & prayers those people
affected by the conversion to digital television.
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Some of it's just transcendental. Some of it's just really dumb. [Feb. 17th, 2009|12:34 am]
Backstory is Here

In 2007, I mailed my extra copy of the book & a journal to a friend.
In 2008, I bought a copy of the book and a journal...then procrastinated a bit and lost track of them both. I managed to find them in time for this year, added a second entry, and left them at City Museum in St. Louis. For all I know, they'll be dumped in Lost & Found, never to be looked at again, but maybe not. It just seemed like a good place for it.
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Particle Man, Particle Man, doing the things that a particle can [Dec. 7th, 2008|09:52 pm]
So, a few weeks back I tried calling contras at the 3rd friday thing at the Carlbergs'. I called a couple really simple dances and a more complicated dance. None of the lines disintegrated, so I count it a success. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I'm looking into dances I can try this month.

That's not the exciting thing, though. While I was trying amateur calling for fun, Frank was getting paid to call in Columbus. He called Wave-Particle Duality and one of the more established callers asked for the choreography. She mentioned that she wanted to use it in an upcoming end-effects workshop. So, I'm thinking that she's got some kind of local workshop being planned, no big deal. When I say "no big deal" I don't mean that it wasn't super-exciting, just that I expected the audience to be small-ish and local, so the exciting part was a caller I'm not close-friends with adding a dance of mine to their repertoire even if they didn't call it often and it didn't get danced by many people (it's maybe a teensy bit complicated, both to call and to dance). It wasn't until Frank pointed out the Winter Warmup schedule had a slot labeled "Hot Contras/Great Endings" that it dawned on me she was calling it there. This means that it was being called to half a gymnasium of people, many from out of state.

During the walkthrough, I was helping my set make sense of the choreography. My partner said something like "you've obviously danced this before." I muttered kind of quietly "I wrote it." I got kind of an air of skeptical belief. Kate had asked earlier if she should identify me or not. I said it was up to her. After the walkthrough she told everyone that the caller was from nearby, that he was in the room, that he was not who they thought and that she'd wait to identify him after she saw how the dance turned out. I'm glad she did, not because I was worried (as I think she was) that it would fall apart and people would blame me but because it can be kind of intimidating to dance a dance with the person who wrote it. Also, because people tend to notice more if you screw up your own dance. Really, I shouldn't have told my partner it was mine, but hey. The rest of the weekend, I had strangers telling me they'd liked my dance and acquaintances telling me I needed to keep writing. It was nice to get unbiased feedback from people who weren't required to give feedback. You know, the way you can never quite be sure that your parents/friends are saying they like something you've designed/drawn/whatever because they really do or because they feel obliged to, or if their genuine appreciation is somewhat influenced by knowing you wrote it.

So, yeah, that's the excitement here. I've got all kinds of half-completed projects sitting around. If they ever get completed, maybe I'll tell y'all about them.
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(no subject) [Nov. 24th, 2008|08:24 am]
So, best_thing_ever is a community where every week there's a poll asking you to choose between 2 different things. Over the course of a year, these things are eventually whittled down to a single item which is determined to be the best thing ever. The first year I was watching it, Oxygen won to the disappointment of many.

Every week, one comment is chosen as "post of the week." This week it was me. I don't know why, but that excites me. I probably need bigger goals in life, or something.
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It's all been done...before [Nov. 18th, 2008|10:16 pm]
When people say "I want " I've been fond of replying "It's good to want things." I can't say my girlfriends thought it was as clever as I did. Going through some old papers, I happened upon a stack saved only because I'd written quotes on the reverse. I found the following:

"It's always good to want things"
--Dr. Reed (aka Captain Diggity)

I might have to stop using it now.
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