Tuesday, February 26, 2008

winamp remote

i don't use winamp a lot. it's mostly my previewing-while-DJing software.

still, i updated it the other day. and while updating, it mentioned a little innovation: as long as your home computer is internet-connected, you can get password-protected streaming access to your music library from the interwebs at large. left my laptop on at home today, and i'm trying it out.

thus far it's pretty sweet. fewer interruptions than most web radio i've tried (um, make that "none" so far), and you can even dictate a streaming speed. (i told it to stick to 125 Kb/s so as not to get too spikey on the internet hogging charts here.) my only big issue thus far is that i don't see a "play something random" button and i forgot to port over any long randomized playlists, so i'm having to actually pick what i want to hear -- less awesome for background soundtracking, but easily remedied.

'k, back to being overwhelmed by all the stuff that didn't magically get done while i was out sick yesterday.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

plato clock

continuing to milk my cold for all it's worth by avoiding anything vaguely resembling physical activity, i'm spending the afternoon watching a french new wave film, ascenseur pour l'├ęchafaud. however, every time the camera goes into the office set, i keep getting fixated on the groovy clock the protagonist keeps on his desk. actually, it seems like the characters all do too -- they keep picking it up, turning it in their hands, etc. bingo, finally found it: it's a plato clock, aka a flip leaf clock or a ticket clock. and as far as i can tell, they stopped being produced around 1910 and the antique ones are pricey. bah. here's hoping for a cheap reproduction sometime soon... not that i need a desk clock, but it's pretty.

bumper car pavilion

for fans of the d.c. lindy exchange... i'm pretty sure that the photo featured here, from 1924, is of the same bumper car pavilion where they hold dances now. the new orleans jazz vipers will be playing there friday evening this year. and yes, i'm registered to go. not 100% certain i can get there, but registered.

*cough* *hack* *watch videos*

this morning, yesterday's teensy little sore throat blossomed into a big, icky chest cough. i was supposed to go see intimate apparel at UT's clarence brown theater tonight with some friends, but after getting back from an ill-advised trip to the gym, i realized that (a) i'm tiring out a lot more easily than i normally would (as in getting winded walking down the hall... why was i even at the gym?!?) and (b) nobody wants to sit next to the cougher. so the plan is go to bed super-early.

before making it to bed, though, i popped onto the internet to look up the virginia beach dance venue where the boyfriend's headed tonight... and while i was there, kept looking for itchy videos. didn't find any yet, but i found one i hadn't seen of al minns (yes? leon's the one with the tiny, sharp arm/hand motions, yeah?) demonstrating the camel walk with a pretty different style than i've seen:

Friday, February 22, 2008

jazz dance! online!

the stearns' classic jazz dance: the story of american vernacular dance is partially up on google books. this book gets referenced A LOT among those who're interested in vintage jazz dance; whether they're citing it or arguing with it, those who research tend to mention it. it's missing lots of pages (including the chapter on the savoy ballroom, alas), but that leaves big swaths of the book present. dance geek joy.

i owe my running across it to emily, one of our up-and-comers, for asking a good question during the practice session last night. the idea was for students to show up and get mini-privates and individual attention from the local instructors. the crowd wound up being two students to six teachers, so we all worked on each other, and it was awesome. (hopefully, next time we'll get the word out better.) around the time we adjourned to a nearby bar and grill, emily asked, "what's with itches? where do they come from?" (itches = a "move" in which one mimics scratching oneself, usually changing into different contortions with the rhythm.) the teacher-folk were all perfectly sure it is a vintage move, passed down with all the historical authority it takes to convince new dancers to do something that looks pretty silly, but nobody could think of a vintage clip showing them. i still haven't found an appropriate video, but searching on the internet turned up this page from stearns discussing itches and their persistence through years and years of vernacular dancing.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

teaching solo charleston

way back last monday night, davenne and i taught a little solo charleston routine for the intermediate class. i've been meaning to post something up here about it ever since. it was my first time (co-!)choreographing anything, and it was amazingly fun.

however, there's a video that ought to go with the blog entry. i was surprised and really, really happy when the class was up for taking the routine into the gym (where we have our monday night dances after lessons) to show everybody. and since youtube and i haven't been getting along during the few times this week that i've been at home and at the computer (and, er, not obsessing over making audiobooks from the public library work with my mp3 player), the video of them performing the routine isn't up. bah. i'll try again this weekend.

first off, i'm a huge fan of solo dancing. people have even mentioned that it's the easiest way to tell strangers how to find me at a dance -- i'm the one in the corner doing solo charleston. it's great for working on body movement without having to have a partner, and taking a song or two to play by myself usually makes me feel more centered and creative. more than that, though, it gives me a little more control of my happiness at a dance. if i'm not getting asked to dance much (frequent lately -- we've been pretty follow-heavy here in knoxville) and/or if i'm feeling a little shy about hunting people down to ask THEM to dance, it's easy to retreat into a grumpy huddle in the corner... which makes getting asked that much more unlikely. if i stay on the floor, though, and involved with the music, it's much easier to get back out there. and every now and then it coalesces into a full circle of people jamming out solo with me, which is all the cooler. (future goal for keeping myself on the floor -- learn to lead better!)

rambling about why choreography's neat, how much i prefer smaller rooms to gyms for teaching, etc. to be continued sometime when it's not the end of my lunchbreak...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

grocery bags

ever since reading about how ireland's basically eliminated plastic bags there, the sleepy environmentalist/idealist in me has been yawning, stretching, and mulling it over... the example of a government actually enacting large-scale positive change without too much pain is the exciting part, but the little mental voice that says couldn't i? is back. (watch out, next thing you know i'll be back to my old vegetarian hippie ways...)

these aren't the cheapest, but they look neat. anybody have any experience habitually using cloth shopping bags? recommendations on features that wouldn't be apparent to a newbie but become awfully apparent after a few weeks hauling the things around?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


one more super-quick item! it turns out that scientific study says that bicycles, one of the company trainer's favorite forms of torture, are indeed one of the more effective ab exercises out there. good thing, because they freakin' hurt.

i voted!

alas, there was no second lining at the elementary school that serves as my voting station.

i almost skipped it, since i'm still not very attached to the outcome in my primary. but, as much as i lean towards social libertarianism, a part of my brain likes the idea of herding everyone into the polls with a red rope. so i participated. and they let me vote even after i admitted that i moved back in 2005 and never got around to updating the address on my voter registration.

i'm a little disappointed that the gentleman who was campaigning for county trustee with citizen kane signs wasn't on my ballot. really, i don't vote on entertainment value alone, but i'm not above being influenced by it. he has nifty fonts, too.

mardi gras

because neither my calendar nor the blogosphere informed me (yay for friends who know to inquire about the state of my coffee consumption): tomorrow, besides being super tuesday, is also fat tuesday.

do i want to go for my fifth annual lenten caffeine purge? suppose i might as well... i've been drinking mostly green tea lately instead of coffee, so the physical withdrawal symptoms ought to be mild compared to most years. and having a solid excuse to keep away from the valentine's day chocolate certainly wouldn't hurt the quest for a less fluffy physique... besides, five years kinda feels like a tradition.