Thursday, January 31, 2008

Remember Last Year

Silly Boston. Why is it that people are so quick to overreact?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sense and Sensibility

It's been a long time since I read the book refrenced in this post's title, but the big theme of the novel is something that I seem to find worth contemplating today. That theme is the contrast between "sense" (logic, reason, level-headedness, rationality) and "sensibility" (emotion, feeling, sentimentality) in matters, mostly, of love. If I recall correctly, the two sisters start out each demonstrating one of the two qualities and throughout the course of the novel learn to find a balance between the two. The Sensible one becomes more sentimental and vice versa.

I wonder if re-reading the book would help me find that balance. I like to think I tend to be fairly sensible about things, but today I suddenly noticed that my affections have assigned themselves in the most irrational way possible.

Single as ever, I have a definite interest in two guys (we will call them Thing 1 and Thing 2), neither of which are at all realistic possibilities. I will try to expound without revealing too much. I don't want either of them to read this (which could easily happen because they are both friends and are therefore likely to be directed to and/or stumble on this blog, if they haven't already. Times like this I wish I knew exactly who reads me and how often) and figure out who I'm talking about. That would be really embarrassing.

Thing 1 is wonderful. He has just the kind of personality I like - he's well rounded, funny, flirtatious, outgoing, and just a little bit of a geek (sorry, but I'm a sucker for the dorks, mostly because I am one myself). I swear, I don't put him up on a pedestal, but gee-golly I sure do like him an awful lot. The problem (that makes me say, "why did you let yourself fall for him?") is that he has a girlfriend. Worse, he seems rather fond of her.

Thing 2 is actually mostly all wrong for me. He has two very attractive qualities; he's witty and he's flirtatious (I love to flirt, you kids who know me know that). I know that on any non-superficial level it would never ever work out with him. Still I find myself very flattered by his attention and I go out of my way to flirt with him. It's fun. Of course, when you flirt enough with a person, it's hard not to develop something related to romantic interest; the chemistry can be overwhelming sometimes. He is, to mix my Austen references, my Mr. Wickham; I am toying with the idea of falling in love with him, but it is really no more than a flirtation. Although, he's not a total skeeze like Wickham is. Thing 2 is actually very decent, just not at all right for me.

I guess Thing 1 would be sort of like Edmund Bertram from Mansfield park. But with more the personality of Mr Tilney. Sorry, unnecessary literary references, and thinking too much about my analogies. Moving on.

It's all very silly. But perhaps, because I recognise the futility of both my little "crushes" (I never liked that term, not sure why), I'm closer to having a balance of sense and sensibility than I originally thought. Not that it will help me find a better situation, but hopefully it will keep me from pining away after Thing 1 and taking the flirtation too far with Thing 2.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gold Dust On My Feet On The Sunny Side of the Street

I am so tired. I swear, if I weren't sitting at my desk, I would be running into walls as I try to walk around.

My feet have a few sore spots (no full blown blisters though, which is good but surprising). I have several sore muscles.

I had an amazing weekend. Let me tell you about it.

Thursday, as I mentioned, was sort of the kick off. The Big Band Bash pales in comparison to the rest of the weekend. The band was quite good (Nate Anderson Band).

Friday was when the party really got started, so to speak. The Friday evening dance was at the Apollo Ballroom in American Fork. They have a great floor that is "sprung" as they say. And by that they really mean sprung- like if you just stand still and don't dance you run the risk of getting motion sickness from all the bouncing. The band was decent. They were more of a dixieland jazz band and the pieces they played seemed to be either hyperspeed or catatonic. Still it was good music. It would probably be worth going to these dances just for the music.

The dancers though! Omigod the dancers. I was completely intimidated after watching just a few songs. Remember those videos I posted? The kids who came out for the exchange really are that good. I sat out at least as much as I actually danced on Friday and just watched. I was really completely blown away.

The evening dance ended around midnight and I went to IHOP with a few other people for a bite to eat before the late night dance. The late dance was at Noah's and had three small studios for dancing and a lounge (where most people ended up, I think) with a large couch and a nice TV (for watching a movie and then playing Rock Band). Shortly after arriving I discovered that I was too tired to actually dance at all. Things just weren't connecting, so I left around 2.

I slept in Saturday morning, but as soon as I woke up things started going downhill. I'm not going to tell you about it though because it will take away from the fabulousness of the weekend.

Saturday evening was beyond spectacular. I don't even know where to begin. I guess the band, which I have already raved about, but New Deal Swing really is fantastic! If I had to pick just one dance of the whole weekend to go to, Saturday evening would be it. Actually, there were quite a few people who did it that way. Because I had such a bad start to my Saturday, I was determined to have a fabulous evening. I refused to wait around to be asked to dance. I had an amazing time dancing with guys of every skill level (some of them were still very intimidatingly good) and by the end of the dance I'm pretty sure I was a much better dancer. If nothing else, my confidence level was up and I was enjoying myself immensely.

During the band breaks we were entertained by the (unique to ULX) Polygamy Lindy contest. Contestants start out in groups of three (one lead, two follows). After the first round half the leads are eliminated and their follows are assigned to the leads who are left (so you have groups with one lead and 4 follows). For the final round all but two of the leads are eliminated and the follows are distributed between them. It ended up being 12 follows to each lead. It's quite something.

Saturday's late night dance was a continuation of the fun. There was a blues room, a lindy room and two gigantic sandwiches and a room full of deliciously comfortable cushions. Officially though, we were all just hanging out, not dancing. Why? Because Salt Lake has a rule: No dancing after 2am. Because, you know, dancing is a gateway activity that always leads to debaucheries like Sex, Drugs and Drinking. Unofficially though, the energy level stayed up, for the most part, and the dancing went on into the night. Having the blues room was nice because it provided an opportunity to mellow out a little but still keep dancing.

I imagine some of you are wondering what I mean by blues dancing. It's honestly kind of hard to explain and I'm certainly no expert (having never done it before Saturday night). There is no basic step really, it's mostly about just getting into the music. It tends to be kind of slow and sort of sensual. Look it up on youtube, I'm sure you'll find something.

I left around 4:30am and crashed almost the second I walked in my door, completely exhausted, but in the best way possible.

Sunday night was the final dance of the weekend. Not very many people showed up compared to the other dances. I actually talked to some of the guys that I had been dancing with all weekend. It was a nice, relaxing note to end on.

I think I shall have to do it all again sometime.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oh Frabjous Day! Callooh, Callay!

I have been looking forward to this weekend for months. Included in the weekend is tonight (I know, it's cheating a little) because that when the unofficial kick-off of the fun starts.

What is so special about this weekend? I'm so glad you asked! This weekend it the Utah Lindy Exchange. What this means is there is lots of dancing all weekend. I am especially excited about Saturday night- New Deal Swing is the band at that dance. New Deal was founded by the Utah Symphony's principal clarinetist and is comprised of Utah Symphony members. Just going on that, it can be assumed that they would be pretty darn good. I've heard them play a couple times and I have to say they rock... er... swing... jive.... they are quite awesome.

ULX doesn't officially start until Friday, but tonight is the UofU Swing Club's Big Band Bash. It's a big pre-exchange hoopla (and by hoopla I mean dance). So tonight is the night to dust off my dancing shoes (figuratively. I actually will probably just wear chucks as they are pretty easy to dance in. I do have dancing shoes that have been sitting in shoe box for a while but might still be a little dusty. They're not very comfortable though. Maybe I'll wear them sometime this weekend. I also have saddle shoes that should be danced in, yeah? I might drag those out on Saturday. Note to self: your parenthetical asides are WAY TOO FREEKING LONG) and get this party started.

For those of you who are perhaps still scratching your head about what Lindy-Hop is (or are wondering how truly awesome it actually is), chizzeck the shizzle outta this:

Of course, those kids are pros. And champs. Here's a video from a Chicago exchange, it's pretty good (I covet the tall blonde's skirt):

It's a little weird with the four guys there, but hey, it's still good dancing. And finally, if you've never seen the movie Swing Kids, you should. I mean, really, it's got Christian Bale, great dancing, and great music. What more could you want? Oh yeah, it's a good story too.

Of course, I only wish I was half as good as some of the kids in these videos (the movie one cheats, what with being fully choreographed and all). I like to think I'm not bad though, and it's tons-o-fun in any case.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This, That and the Other

Somewhere in the blogosphere (or possibly somewhere else), a friend wrote about the difficulties of putting his ipod on shuffle and subsequently having his pop(etc) music interrupted by classical. Actually, I think it was Dave- I don't think anyone else would really have that problem.... well, except Jeremy...but I think it was Dave*... or somewhere else. Anyway, the point is, rather than put his ipod on shuffle, he would just listen to music in alphabetical order by song name. This way he got a good variety of music without the classical interruptions.

I tried this method. It mostly works for me. There are two places where it the system breaks down: I have multiple versions of one song, or when there are several songs with the same first word.

Example of the first: Swing Life Away (Rise Against), Swing Lover (Indigo Swing), Swingin' Uptown (Jimmie Lunceford), Swingtime in the Rockies (Benny Goodman). Except for the first song, these are all big band, swing songs. So much for variety. Or, another example: America (from West Side Story (I like showtunes, sue me)), America: Fuck Yeah (from Team America World Police), The American (Angie Aparo), American Music (Violent Femmes), American Patrol (Glenn Miller), American Pie (Don McClean), Americano (Brian Setzer). While these songs are pretty varied in type, there is a definite theme going on, and I would prefer things to be a little more randomized.

Example of the second: I have Across the Universe by The Beatles (twice- one from Let It Be and one from Let It Be... Naked), Fiona Apple, and Rufus Wainwright. I have three versions of Sing Sing Sing, Hallelujah, Blue Skies..... several others. And there are plenty of songs I have two different versions of. So, listening straight through by song name doesn't work so well because I would hear the same song 3 different ways right in a row.

So, what's the point? Well, there is none, really. I just thought I'd let you all know that I am going to stick with the simple "shuffle songs" method.

Since I went on for a while with no point, I will end with a little game. I like to call this game Put iTunes on Random and Let It Tell My Readers 10 Songs They Should Make A Major Effort to Listen To**.

1. Space Invaders by Arctic Monkeys
2. Tonight Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins
3. She's Not There by Santana
4. Everywhere by Bran Van 3000
5. My Alcoholic Friends by The Dresden Dolls
6. Story About a Girl by Our Lady Peace
7. Money Money by Billy Idol
8. Taya Tan by Pink Martini (actually, I would pick a differnt song by them. Hey Eugene or Sympathique)
9. Ne Me Quitte Pas by Baronessa
10. Funky Town by Lipps Inc

*If either Dave or Jeremy read this: yes, I am cyber stalking you! Muahahaha. Though I am apparently doing a terrible job as I can't remember what you've written. And by cyber stalking I mean I don't have anything to do at job#1 so I read your blogs.

** I promise I didn't skip any and that these are really the first ten songs itunes came up with. Except for a few that were really embarrassing. No really, I didn't skip any. (or did I?) (seriously, no)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Golly!

There are several things that I've considered blogging about which would be a good use of both my time (as a writer examining these things and putting organising them into readable order) and yours (as readers of such fascinating and important analyses). These topics have included, but are not limited to: my take on the presidential primary race, a review type thing of the Masterpiece Theater airing of Persuasion last Sunday, and/or a few observations about the poetry of William Carlos Williams.

I'm not going to blog about any of those. Why not? Because I am at work at job#1, or, as I like to call it, death. Being here is anti-stimulating. I start writing about something worth wile and within the first paragraph I run out of steam, sigh, and stare out of the window with a queasy feeling in my stomach. So it seems I am stuck with a subject I'm sure you're all tired of reading about. I am completely capable of endlessly complaining about my job.

I agree with most of you who say "so quit." And I will, soon. Yesterday I applied for a job at the library (which I may not actually be allowed to have, as my mother works there in a fairly high up position. She says that it should be ok though, as long as she's not my direct supervisor). Regardless of what might happen with that, I'm going to give my two weeks notice next week. I want to quit on a pay day so that my last day will be on a pay day. That way I can walk away from this place with money in my pocket and never look back.

In the mean time, I feel horribly guilty about quitting this time of year. I know the admin department is swamped what with all the getting ready for taxes stuff. I tried to get next Friday (25th) off for the ULX and was told that they absolutely could not spare anyone to cover the front desk. Incidentally, that will be the day I give notice. The point is, they're really busy down there (heaven forbid they let me do something to help out, I'm not at all incompetent, which I would think they would know by now). Adding to their plate the task of finding a new receptionist certainly isn't going to help them any.

I wouldn't care, but it's my job that I hate, not the company or anyone I work with (with one exception). I'd rather not leave under a cloud of resentment. However, I've become so listless about my job, that I have very little motivation to do it well. One would think that it would be impossible to mess up my job. What do I do? I answer the phones, I sort the mail, I receive packages.... what is there to mess up? Somehow I am finding little things to not do (perhaps I need to take back my previous statement about being competent. I'm certainly not making a good case for myself right now) and I can see that I'm sabotaging myself, but I absolutely Do Not Care. Shit, if I get fired, I don't have to work those last two weeks. I don't want to get fired, of course, but it certainly wouldn't be the end of the world.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Dance Party

Cincinnati knows how to rock the party.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Concerning Books

The other day in the middle of an extremely pleasant conversation, someone asked me what my favorite books are. That question (and others similar to it) always stumps me. I find myself mentally scrolling through the list of books I've read and enjoyed and getting overwhelmed at the prospect of picking just a few or, even worse, just one.

The problem is that I love many different books for many different reasons. Also, if I settle on one that will work well as an answer to the query, it immediately reminds me of another book that I loved equally as well. Don't get me started on books, it will only lead to me rambling though my entire library telling you what I liked and why.

The book I'm most fascinated with at the moment is Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. It's a very strange piece of fiction. The story is, perhaps, sometimes hard to follow and it makes very little sense most of the time. But it's beautifully written and has been imprinted on my mind. It's one of those books that I find myself considering whenever I have a quiet moment to consider. I very much want to read it again. It's not a book I would recommend to many people though. I would say it is for serious readers who are up for a head trip.

For non-serious reading, I would recommend Blessed are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch. It's a very funny, very absurd novel that has a similar feel to Chocolat (the movie. It is a book too, but I haven't read it yet. Still, I bet more of you have seen the movie (Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche) than have read the book). If you're not up for a silly cheese book, I would recommend anything by Christopher Moore, especially A Dirty Job or Bloodsucking Fiends, a Love Story.

Along the lines of A Dirty Job, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is incredibly brilliant. And each of those authors individually is worth reading too. Pratchett's Disc-World series is mostly very good, thought I hear his latest is not quite up to par. The most obvious Gaiman to read would be Stardust, which is not quite like the movie, but very good none the less. It puts one in mind of The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Read the book, really, you'll be glad you did. The movie is actually very true to the source material, making this one of the rare cases where the film is on par with the book.

I'm going to stop myself there. I could easily go on for pages more. And for every book I've mentioned, there are four or five others that I thought of at the same time. You see how this is a problem when someone asks about my favorite book? I've barely scratched the surface here. I haven't even mentioned The Book Thief, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Clockwork Orange, Douglas Adams, the Thursday Next series, Michael Malone (Foolscap is my favorite by him), any of the plays that I love, or classic literature (which I devour just as hungrily as anything else). It's exhausting discussing my favorite books, but I half feel like I should continue because the smattering above doesn't even begin to cover what I love to read.

*sigh* I guess that's what librarything is for. But, to be fair, my catalog there seems terribly disorganised. I should probably take the time to review/rate more of my books. I'd much rather spend that time reading.