The Soapbox Archives:
"Also, why is Boston area [calendar] only up to [Route] 128? Iím curious. When I lived in the Chicago suburbs, we had one big dance calendar for the entire Chicagoland area. People from the suburbs regularly went into the city for dances, and city folks came out to the suburbs. Living in Haverhill, MA, I feel a little ostracized from the swing community because I canít make it to Brookline or Watertown very often and no one ever comes up here :( Itís not really that far for people who live in Somerville or Medford."I'm sure other people have similar questions.
For the *most* part, I separate the different venues into different regional listings and calendars to make it easier for my readers to find the information they want. I believe that my readers would like to be able to click on a link and quickly find dancing information for their immediate area. I don't think they want to a more complicated or sophisticated user interface that requires typing in search criteria or an interface that requires more interaction with a keyboard (or more mouse clicks).
Likewise, if I live in Boston and only went to Boston dances, I won't want to sift through a long calendar and have to weed out the venues in other parts of the state or of New England just to find the venues I'm interested. If I'm interested in venues in the rest of New England, it's not that much trouble to click to those pages.
Route 128 is a reasonable physical boundary to delineate the Greater Boston region from the rest of the state, just like the 413 area code clearly defines a specific geographical area; that is, "western Massachusetts". Things get fuzzy when trying to decide whether something is close and could belong to Northern Massachusetts or "West of Boston"; it all depends on how I feel that day. Of course, it's not like a physical wall separating this reader from the rest of Massachusetts. Driving from Shaumburg to Chicago (for a dance, for example) take about as much time as going from Sturbridge or Worcester to Boston, not much different from driving to Boston from Haverhill.
In general, the people who live outside of Boston are used to driving around and don't think twice about driving all the way into Boston to go dancing. Unfortunately, the opposite is not true. Those in Boston have dancing possiblities pretty much every night of the week; they're spoiled and don't feel the need to drive all the way out to the 'burbs to find dancing. Also, some Bostonians probably don't have a car, either. [Note from the Editor: the writer doesn't say if he or she was one of those people in the Chicago area who was willing to drive a long distance to go dancing. I used to live in Dracut and driving into Boston three nights a week to dance was a serious pain in the butt. That's why I'm back in the area.]
What about some events that get listed in the Boston calendar anyways?
Club JoEllen, alias the Longfellow Dance Club in Wayland, is technically outside Route 128, but just barely. It's been a major and popular West Coast Swing venue for a long time and people *do* drive out from Boston to dancing there. Also, they're a sponsor of this website; at the time, I considered them to be *the* West Coast Swing venue in the Boston area. Dance2Swing in Leominster is a weekly live music venue that I might drive out for and I certainly want to encourage their use of live music; note, though, I don't list them in the Boston calendar for the nights on which they only have a dj.
Other venues that are sponsors of this website *AND* offer live music will also get listed in the Boston calendar (it's nice to get on my good side. That's a hint). Sometimes people will make a road trip just to check out a new band. Note that I'll list a live music venue like Hartford Swing *Dance* in the Boston calendar, but I won't do the same for Hartford Swing *Jam* because it's only a DJ dance (even though they're both run by the same organization).
Those are the general policies regarding the different sections of this website. Note that the "rules" can change at any time and they can also change *back*. I'm pretty much winging it as I go along. That's why there's no one else working on this website; I don't have to argue about the consistency of the policies with anyone.
Late addendum: I think we overlooked the obvious as to why people don't drive up north for swing dancing: there isn't much swing dancing up north. I was just noticing that Larry & Heidi teach West Coast Swing in Danvers, but they hold their dances in *Wakefield*. I guess they know where the dancing customers are.
I made a vague reference to why it was a good idea to get "on my good side". Chris "Laptop" Stacy suggested that I clarify that thought; he knows that I *never* ask for free admission to dances (nor for classes) nor do I expect it.
To get on my "good side", venues shall:
I do this website for fun; don't turn it into work.
PS: Scheduling a local swing/lindy hop (but not West Coast Swing or ballroom) dance event against the monthly Boston Swing Dance Network and/or Uptown Swing is not a good way to endear yourselves to me (not to mention being "antisocial"), because...
An interesting quedstion came up. Someone asked me to offer a "forum" on this website.
At one point, the Speakeasy was the place to go. A wide cross section of the community used it. However, with the arrival of Facebook, the novelty and attractiveness of forums has died down. Swing Monkey's Jam Board was shut down this year. It's All Swing!'s forum is still around, but I'm not even sure who maintains it now. I think Boston Swing Central had a forum but it went away fairly quickly. There's one on Swing City's website but it's really associated with just the one venue.
It was suggested a forum on a "neutral" venue might be in order. I'm somewhat reluctant to host a forum, mostly because I don't feel like babysitting it all the time, though it might be useful when someone asks a question about a venue and someone (else) can quickly provide a link to a page on this website.
On the other hand, with all the new methods for communicating these days, including Facebook, Buzz, and Twitter, it doesn't seem to be worth the effort to run a forum these days, though a local forum does have some merit.
What do you think? Should we have a forum on this website? Would it encourage more participation by dancers who don't want to be seen as being affiliated with a particular dance venue? Would you participate? Would you use it? Or is it a waste of time and an idea whose time has passed?
I, on the other hand, have Verizon FIOS and have had no complaints, other than the fact that my favorite stations aren't bunched together as they were on Comcast and their onsite techs need to be better taught why WEP wireless encryption is almost as useless as no encryption. My friend with the Comcast problems had Verizon FIOS at her old place and was pretty upset about not having Verizon again. She owes me big time; that Tiramisu Martini at Bertucci's is going to taste pretty good.
They also *shred* your hard drives for free if you take them out of the computer. I forgot to take along the bag of 10 hard drives I needed to destroy.
For those of you up north, check out ACT Secured E-Recycling in Lawrence. They *might* make you pay to drop off stuff, though I "got away" with paying nothing and they took 4 CRT monitors plus 10 computers. It might be a ploy to get you to think that they're doing you a special favor by not charging you if you drop off the equipment. Even if you have to play (a little), it might be worth not having to drive down to Brockton to unload a carload for free.
Having a place I can drive to is easier than waiting for Watertown to have their annual computer trash day where they'll pick up obsolete electronics for free or to have friends in other towns deal with calling their towns for free disposal of old electronics. That carload of electronics I just dropped off was probably worth about $80 in disposal fees at Staples.
Now I just need to find a good place to recycle batteries. It's suppose to be safe to throw away alkaline batteries in the trash but I don't like doing that. The rechargeables and the lithium cells should never be thrown away in the trash. Unfortunately, I haven't found anyone who could to tell me what to do with them (all).
Someone made a racial remark to me the other night.
"...Chinese [guys] are smooth dancers."
And she pointed out Stan Yen of BostonBalboa.org and David (from Texas?) as well as a couple of other people. Another damn Chinese stereotype we're gonna have to live up to. :D
I looked up "Boylston, MA" on Google to see what part of the state it was in and I got the following thumbnail of the Google Maps:
My first thought was, "Like Atlantis, Boylston sank beneath the seas...."
I had a (nice) two-seat couch in my garage because a neighbor moved out and couldn't fit it in their, uh, car, so they were going to store it in my garage for a day or two or three. After a few days, they decided that they weren't going to keep it and said that it was okay to leave it at the curb for the scavengers. That probably would have been a good idea.
Instead, I thought it'd be nice to offer it on Craig's List for $10. (I wasn't going to accept the $10; I was just told that if you ask for money, they might think that it's actually in good condition and show up; the couch was in *great* condition).
After a couple of days, I got no bites and I thought people might have been turned off by the $10 price. Then I got one person (local to me) ask me about the couch. I then didn't hear from him. Then someone else asked about it. I told them to come and get it *now* before the first person showed up. I didn't hear from them. On Saturday afternoon (at least a day or two since I heard from anyone), I sent both responders that I had a window of a few hours before I had to leave for the evening.
The second person called at 6:00 pm and said that they were in Beverly and would be here in 30 minutes. Yeah, right, like I ever got to Beantown Camp in Beverly in less than 50 minutes and I have 260 horses under the hood. However, I had a lot of leeway and could stick around for a while.
People showed up to pick up the couch at 7:00 pm and they hauled away the couch.
Then the people who had called at 6:00 showed up at 7:15. Whoops. I did say in the beginning that the couch would go to the first person who showed up to take it away, but I didn't realize that two parties would show up at the same time like that. The people in Beverly were justifably upset about making the drive and I felt bad for them, but they let 24 hours pass after I answered their note. I had to send out the email telling them that I had a time limit before they (both parties) got into their cars.
It's amazing that it's so much work to get rid of free stuff ($10 for a loveseat in great condition is the same as free and I didn't take the money anyways). Last time I had 20 people respond for free snow tires and I put them all on a waiting list. I gave each one a day to show up before I went to the next one on the list. I got halfway down the list before the first person finally responded and said she wanted the tires and she still didn't show up.
Next time I'm just going to do a "Curb Alert!". I'll just put it on the curb and put a note on Craig's List and tell them that the first person with any initiative to show up will get it. No more having to be nice in offering it to people who aren't going to be polite enough to say they weren't interested anymore.