Tuesday, July 29, 2008

flashback to may 2007

once upon a time, jesse took me to the five loaves cafe in charleston to see a really fun little band called the v tones. it was one of his last nights in town before he moved to albany, and we had a blast.

today, biffle over at baxter sez put up a post about a band he's playing with that sounds like my sort of thing. i took it as an opportunity to check and see if other towns uphold the knoxville rule that most of the super-fun bands in town overlap by at least one player. (it was always entertaining to watch, for example, jon whitlock, christabel's drummer, on local music fest nights... i can remember one where he had three different gigs with three different bands.) as a matter of fact, biffle's violinist IS listed as one of the frequent guest v tones. certainly no proof, but the evidence continues to mount. and i'm sending word to the charleston dancers that they may want to check these guys out.

the real shock, though, was to find myself on the v tones' myspace page! quite possibly the only video in existence of me dancing bal, and the first i've seen of jesse and me dancing together where we're clearly visible. good times, and i can remember being totally terrified that we were going to kick one of the little kids who were roaming around -- later that evening, i danced with a couple of the little girls, too. so much fun.

Find more videos like this on The V Tones

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the personals

if you happen to be sort of beginnerish at mandarin chinese but wanting to practice listening, you can't do much better than the movie the personals (征婚启事). in it, a young doctor places a personal ad looking for a husband, and the bulk of the movie consists of the meetings that result -- lots and lots of "getting to know you" speech, precisely the topics where i have some vocabulary.

the boyfriend is incommunicado for work from work from yesterday morning to tomorrow evening, so i've been spending more quality time than usual with my netflix queue. this one was actually up on their instant viewing list -- since i have no tv and watch everything on my laptop anyhow, that's a super-nice feature.


google knol, apparently designed to compete with wikipedia, is open for business. i just found out, haven't explored much yet, and it seems mostly empty thus far... but it seems an awful lot like everything2, concept-wise. guess it's time to start analyzing what shape i want the public's sum knowledge to take... any opinions on the strengths/weaknesses of the different models?


a few minutes later... actually, i don't think knol's likely to compete with wikipedia at all... more complement. with wikipedia, you wind up with the consensus on anything or everything -- the schoolbook version. knol, i imagine evolving into the sort of place where you go read the original texts, listen to the voices behind them, get some perspective via the ratings and credentials, make up your own mind. not good for getting acquainted with a subject quickly, but rich. my favorite history class in college had two textbooks... one was a standard textbook, and the other had sets of three essays on various problems in american history. it gave us a basic structure, but also a way to go in depth in places where there were snarls and where things really weren't that simple. history's a lot more fun when it's about finding the story rather than memorizing dates. i hope that kind of system is what evolves out of having both, rather than one website killing the other.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


the job offers still aren't exactly knocking down my door, so i'm still at home a lot... which means i drink a lot of hot tea at home.

a couple months ago, my mom gave me a french press. she'd previously given me quite a bit of loose tea. the combo is lovely -- i can brew about two big cups of tea to just the strength i like, then smash down the leaves... the second cup stays at that strength while i drink the first, and it's easy to clean (those would be my main problems with teapots).

only now, i'm running out of oolong (my favorite!) and darjeeling, and i haven't found anyplace local that sells loose tea. there's no earthfare; i checked trader joe's -- lots of good deals on coffee and beer, no specialty teas... plenty of tearooms in the further reaches of hampton roads, but past experience says those only very rarely have more than a casual relation to actual tea. any other suggestions? otherwise, methinks i may put in an order at stash tea...

*update* a closer look at farm fresh revealed some bulk tea hiding in amongst the coffee... but no oolong, just english and irish breakfast representing the relatively plain black teas. so i won't go without, but ordering directly from stash is still looking like a pretty good option...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

not even raining yet

now that i'm in hurricane territory, my mom sends me news stories any time anything's remotely possibly heading for virginia. which is probably good, since mom alert does tend to come in via channels (e-mail and phone) that get my attention a lot faster than anything in the media.

the current threat, though, tropical storm cristobal... every single time, never fails, the shape of the word is close enough that my head trips on it and gets a little disappointed when the context makes it clear that it's not a story about local knoxville dancer favorites christabel and the jons. i miss them. however, checking the calendar, they'll be in richmond for a show august 15!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


i was reading this article about china's reaction to the movie kung fu panda. it mentions the movie's title in chinese, 功夫熊猫... i was curious how the word for panda was pronounced, so i ran it through adsotrans - xiongmao. "mao" as in cat? check. and it turns out the first character means "bear." so, literally, we have bearcat.

which, as it happens, connects pandas to the blues, for me anyhow. right after big mama thornton's song "hound dog" came out in 1953 (that's right, elvis's was a remake), rufus thomas came back with "bear cat" to approximately the same tune, complete with campy fun sound effects. it was sun records' first hit, and they later lost the lawsuit for plagiarizing. you can hear a sample here.

and so it goes, now you see why my mental pandas are no longer lounging about, munching on bamboo. nor are they waging gravity-defying battles against power hungry ex-con snow leopards. nope, they're scratchin' at the door, purring, and otherwise trying to win their way back in under false pretenses...

another panda-related tidbit i didn't know: firefox is another name for a red panda.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


the lifehacker blog put up a link today to a hundred pushup training program, designed to help even wimps like me work up to 100 consecutive pushups in six weeks. being mostly nocturnal for the moment is wreaking havoc on my running ambitions (going and running laps around the interior of wal-mart's gotten a little tempting...), but i can work on this, even in the middle of the night.

initial test, i can do 17 pushups with sorta ok form -- i stay flat, but i'm aware that the pushups aren't as deep as they ought to be to qualify for actual good form. six weeks, here we go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

reload... reload...

the first act of dr. horrible's sing-along blog, joss whedon's latest project, is supposedly up today... but fan enthusiasm has apparently crashed the website. meanwhile, this site has the teaser. doogie howser vs. captain mal... it's gotta be fun, right?

in other news, i'm awake in the middle of the day because i finally got a call from a company. going in for some talking and some skills testing tomorrow...

Saturday, July 12, 2008


i wasn't exactly meaning to sync up to jesse's current night schedule (his shifts rotate from week to week), but i slept poorly last night and went back to bed for a "nap" this morning when he got home... and woke up around 6 p.m.

and here i am, 11 o'clock at night, not calming down for bed, but digesting "lunch" and trying to organize myself for the time until morning. it's a bit easier to focus with this schedule -- back in school, i often ducked out of the evening and early night for a nap so i could wake up and study from 4 a.m. on, when nobody was interested in socializing. hopefully that'll mean great things for el jobhunt this week.

but i think i miss the sunlight already.

Friday, July 11, 2008

fun with collegiate shag

i don't think anyone here had even tried to lead collegiate shag when dancing with me prior to last weekend.

and now... tah-dah! we have not one, not two, but FOUR different basic steps present in the hampton roads area!

those of us who went down to sugar foot stomp last weekend learned the two basics that joel and alison presented:

joel and alison single shag = quick-quick-slow, quick-quick slow (or L-R-L-L, R-L-R-R lead footwork, if you will.)

joel and alison double shag = slow-slow-quick-quick (L-L-R-R-L-R)

tuesday, i went down to the virginia beach lesson, where they were teaching a single shag, only starting on the slows... not much different, it just changes where the ones are.

jeff and amanda single shag = slow-quick-quick, slow-quick-quick (L-L-R-L, R-R-L-R)

in williamsburg last night, they had a slightly different double shag... the footwork was the same as joel and alison's, but started on 8 instead of one.

mike double shag = ow-slow-quick-quick-sl (L-R-R-L-R-L)

so i'm totally pumped to have so much shagging, but it's a little crazy. today i did some reading up on the dancehistory.org board. our first three basics, anyway, are all pretty common. among the cool things i found out, shag goes back further in the south than it does in the northeast, probably in the form of single shag. one of the earliest references that peter loggins cites is actually from virginia beach, so i might be in the right place to do some local research this time. during WWII, southerners were exposed to double shag and referred to it as "yankee shag". and yes, there were all kinds of local variations, but most people didn't switch basics constantly mid-song... which makes me feel a little better, since i was having a really hard time following people who switched back and forth at sugar foot stomp!

also, i really want to try triple shag -- slow-slow-quick-quick-slow, slow-slow-quick-quick-slow -- but i think it might make my brain explode.

and, um, for all of you who were thoroughly bored reading about shag... have some to watch?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

update - the jobhunt

resume with cover letter #1 is turned in; the worst of the inertia's beaten, i hope! now i just need to repeat that feat once a day or so until somebody thinks i'm interesting.

(have to admit, though, that even though they're in williamsburg and i think i've decided i'd rather work between here and norfolk, i really hope this first company likes me. it's non-profit, interesting job functions, and generally looks like a super-neat place to work.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

my scuff muscles hurt

sugarfoot stomp was fantastic. collegiate shag--both single and double, texas tommy, peabody, flea hop, pony trot, blackbottom, charleston... i love my obscure vintage dances, and for once i got my fill. plus i got to see my old southeast crowd (and some fun non-southeasterners!), hung out in asheville, danced to crazy fun music, competed in a solo charleston comp (despite the fact that i knew i was WAY outclassed and would've almost preferred to watch from the front!), and generally had a super-great sweaty time.

i've decided to declare my dance scene as hampton roads. because i live too far away from virginia beach, none of the dancing actually goes on in hampton, and i can't seem to pronounce norfolk properly. (naw-fuhk. yeah.) people will get used to it and figure out that i'm talking about all of the above. or they won't. either way, sticking to it.

on to convincing everyone i know that they want to go to san francisco shag jam in october, so we can really get collegiate shag planted around here...

(and shoot. all dressed to go running, had picked out a brand new route from mapmyrun.com, and now it looks like a storm's moving in. grr.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

where do electric companies get their information?

despite a few halfhearted attempts to get it changed, my electric bill in knoxville always always came addressed to "Kate P" rather than "Kait T". i'm not one to throw a fit over my middle initial as long as it doesn't cause any real billing problems, and so it goes.

however, moving in here, i figured i'd moved on to a phase of my life where my electric bill would come properly addressed... and yet, here it is, first name spelled right this time, P for a middle initial.

does this mean that somewhere out there, my credit history is linked to a universe where my middle name is patricia or penelope? or is dominion power calling up the good old KUB just to ensure they have something to throw on the bill? i'm pretty sure they never asked for my middle name when i called to get service started.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

situation downgraded to funny story

i mentioned already how our apartment maintenance staff is awesome, yeah?

they just busted us out. the golf cart showed up just as jesse was messing with ways to make a climbing harness from bungee cords. door open, no boyfriend splat on sidewalk, all's right with the world.

we're getting out of here!


nytimes has an article on the new style of milk jugs that we've been seeing at costco.

i didn't know they were better for the environment. i'll cease grumbling over the awkward spilly-ness and work on getting used to them now.

stuck inside

we're stuck inside today. literally. well, at least for the moment.

jesse, in an effort to improve our energy efficiency, put some silicone sealant around the front door frame last night. before it dried, we got distracted cooking dinner and forgot to open the door again.

sometime around 1 a.m., he realized that we couldn't open the door anymore. much tugging and trying to break the sealing stuff with knives ensued, all to no avail.

while there are some noisier measures to try today, it may come down to needing somebody to work from outside. i'd like to get this solved before jesse decides to weave a bunch of bungees into a rope to adventure his way down from our second story balcony, though. preferably without destroying the door. i'd call apartment maintenance, but i'm a little afraid that gluing your own front door shut has to be a violation of the lease. somehow.

so much for going running this morning. any and all suggestions are welcome!

iran story update

today's fresh air was an interview with seymour hersh, author of the new yorker article i linked yesterday. it's probably a little more accessible than the article itself, since terry gross is good like that. (plus, you can take the podcast driving/running/housecleaning/whatever. npr helps make our kitchen a cleaner place.)

dancing and distance running

do i want to start this again?

jesse and i have been dancing considerably less than i was in knoxville. there, i was doing 2-3 nights a week for a fairly solid 2-3 hours each time. here, it's usually one night of dancing (thursdays at the attucks in norfolk... or in williamsburg once every six weeks) where we have to leave early if jesse's on days, plus maybe the william and mary club on wednesdays, and maybe a little bit of dancing at one of the live shows at one of the parks in the area across the rest of the week.

on the one hand, less dancing = less practice = not so good for the skill level. and less exercise from dancing = not so good for my body fat level or cardiac health. we're sort of hoping we can get a venue going a little closer to home one night a week to up that, and sort of hoping we can find some like-minded dancers who want to jam out to trad jazz/classic swing frequently so we can offer something a little different than what we're getting at the already established venues, but that's all fairly theoretical at this point.

on the upside, though, not dancing as much opens up the opportunity to partake in other activities. for the moment, cheap activities are highly preferable. running = ultra-cheap. i've been doing 3ish miles every few days anyway, but i'm thinking that maybe i should find a race to work towards. jesse took me along to the langley air force base's gym (which is quite swanky) today so we could work out together without my slow and steady approach impeding him, and i saw a poster for the air force marathon. unfortunately, el internet tells me that it's in dayton, ohio, but there's a half-marathon in norfolk in mid-october. too soon to finish fast, but i think i could at least finish.

maybe? guess i'll start stepping it up a little and see what my knees will let me get away with at this level of dance activity -- previously, i could never seem to recover from weekly long runs of 8 miles or more without skipping more dancing than i wanted to. if anybody has any tips on training for distance running while continuing to participate in other relatively high-impact activities, i'll take 'em!