As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
Words of Wisdom:
Fun Games to Play:
I'm excited about this because I've been trying to get them to be sponsors for a while now since, as a member-run organization, their charter includes supporting swing dancing for their members and the general community.
This means that the four major non-profit member-run swing dance club organizations in New England are directly supporting this website to bring to you, the reader, the dancer, the consumer of dance services, all of the swing dance information for your dancing pleasure. I thank the HOSS board of directors for their support.
Yeah, I should have mentioned this earlier, but I didn't think of it until Boston's first snowfall of the season.
When going dancing during inclement weather, please consider bringing a pair of (dry) shoes to switch into after trudging through the snow. Besides the possibility of tracking water onto nice hardwood floors, water changes the traction of your shoes on the dance floor.
I remember swing dancing on the bandstand in Disney World many eons ago and it was raining out. Since I didn't know about the swing music happening there and I didn't plan on dancing at the park, I only had sneakers on. I would run out into the rain, jump in the puddles to get my sneakers wet, and get back to dancing on whatever floor it was (vinyl tile?) with the water making my sneakers slide enough to dance in.
The Love Dogs at the monthly BSDN dance? It's a beautiful thing.
How can anyone not dance when the Love Dogs are playing?
High energy, high enthusiasm, people who understand dancers. They're a favorite band at the BSDN in December because the Love Dogs are a local band and can always make it through snow in Boston. Doesn't matter. I like them because they're a great band and always give it their all for the local dancers.
I was at Dance Technics' Christmas party which was a class outting at Rockingham Ballroom in Newmarket, NH. We ended up being the largest contingent in what appeared to be the "singles" section. I thought it was neat (and encouraging) to watching these retired senior citizens "cruising for babes". :-)
It was nice to see these people dancing there. The [other] attendees weren't there to go "swing dancing" or "Latin dancing" or whatever. They were there to *dance*.
The band consisted of gentlemen who were probably in their fifties. For some reason, I thought it was hilarious when they started singing "Just a Gigolo".
In the wake of September 11, this country saw an unprecedented outpouring of charity giving, the likes of which we haven't seen since World War II. A lot of money flowed into the various causes in New York to help the victims and survivors of the crashes in NYC and Washington.
Unfortunately, this happened in a time of a slowing economy so many people have started holding back some of their gift giving to other charitable causes. Since September 11th had absorbed quite a bit of cash, many other charities are finding that their normal sources of funds have dried up: the money had gone to NYC.
Please remember that there are other equally benevolent (and local) causes that serve to improve the human condition, including The Pine Street Inn homeless shelter and Rosie's Place. I also support the Boston Latin School Association which I consider an investment in America's future. And one of my favorite charities is the Boston Globe Santa. I used to support The Jimmy Fund but I figure they've already got enough supporters. I do appreciate the mission of The Salvation Army and I've donated to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, The American Diabetic Association, and The American Cancer Assocation. I currently planning to donate the excess DanceNet funds this year to the Visiting Nurses Assocation of Gardner, MA, a favorite charity of Pat Keresey, the local swing dancer who passed away last year.
There are many causes who could use your support at this time. Please don't forget them.
At the same time, it's a good time and reason to reflect on what we have here and why we have so much to believe that we do have a great country, not for the actuality of the situation, but for the ideals for which we strive. We're not perfect, but we know what we want.
We should make the most of the tragedy of September 11 and deny the victory to bad people who wanted to make us feel as hopeless as they do because we have a future and they don't. We work to make our future true while they choose to blame others for their problems. I think that September 11 will help us remember who we are and what we stand for and it will help us stay on the path to where we should go.
In this holiday season, be thankful for what you have and not what you don't have. Think of those in the Armed Forces who are away from home fighting for our rights and our freedom. Give a little prayer for those who aren't with us anymore and to their loved ones who are facing an empty seat at the table at this time of the year. Hold out your hand to a neighbor who needs a little hope.
I want to take this moment to thank all of the DanceNet sponsors who covered the costs of running this website. From a beginning on the webpage that came with my personal ISP account to its own URL, this website is visited by over 4000 unique Internet accounts each week, accounting for over 400 megabytes of information downloaded into web browsers on a weekly basis. I could have gone to a free or cheap service for this website, but I wanted to go to a reliable ISP with 24x7 support. I recently switched to an enterprise-level server so a pretty good server just got better. I want everyone to know that my sponsors make sure that these costs are covered so I don't have to worry about it and that the DanceNet information are provided at no cost to you, the reader. Please thank these sponsors for their support of this website when you see them.
One of things this past year has taught me is that I don't need to tolerate impolite behavior anymore. There's no point in encouraging bad behavior. September 11 should have taught all Americans to be good to our friends and neighbors because we're all in this together. Yet, even in this holiday season, I find that there are still some holdouts.
Drivers ignoring people trying to cross the street; pedestrians walking and forcing drivers to stop nowhere near a crosswalk. Shoppers leaving their carts in the parking lot and blocking other cars (especially mine. :^) ). I saw a woman trying to separate a couple of shopping carts while trying to hold onto her baby; I'm not sure how many people just walked on by (yes, I helped her).
I get requests each week from people looking for information regarding dancing [somewhere]. Just now, I got:
"I'm looking for a place to dance jazz in california. "I replied,
"That's nice. Did you want to ask for something from *me*? "I was hoping that, in forming a question, this person might remember to include the word "please". I think that a little forethought and a little consideration might encourage people (whom we might not know) to take a moment out of their time to help us.
There's a gas station near here where I witnessed the following:
A guy walks by and says to the attendant, "Hey! Where's ...[some place]?" The attendant looks confused and says, "Sorry. Dunno.". When the guy walks away, the attendant says to me, "If he had said, 'Excuse me, sir. I'm lost. Could you help me find some place, please?', I might have helped him."
In the spirit of the holiday season, give of yourself a little bit. Be nice to people in situations where you might not have in other times. You might be surprised in the results of a little investment of politeness and good cheer.
It's a bit late, but I wanted to recommend this year's The Christmas Collection, a compilation available at Williams-Sonoma stores. It's a collection of seasonal music by the usual Big Band and Jazz greats. I did most of my shopping early and only got out to the malls this weekend.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas ('cause that's the holiday I'm celebrating, even if I'm not particularly religious) and a very happy New Year.
I just saw somewhere on someone's website where they declared themselves "Bostonís greatest all-around swing dancer". It's entirely possible that I was asleep for this but was there some sort of competition or public vote that was held and I just didn't notice? What do you think qualifies someone to make that claim? What determines who is the "greatest"? A dance contest or just a vote by their peers or the general public? Should someone even make that claim?
Or is it just the typical exaggerated marketing claim that's hard to disprove? Comments?
As the last hour to a very trying year comes to a close, I have only a few thoughts for you...(well, what are they?)
15 minutes to go...what to say, what to say...
The 80s and early 90s (or even most of the 90s) was what I consider the "me" generation. What's in it for "*me*"? Me, me, me.
I think that September 11th put an end to that era. We have to remember that a whole world exists around our own circles of personal space. What we do and what other people do affect all of us together, for better or for worse.
I'm going to ask each and every one of you to consider making a New Year's resolution by asking yourselves, "What can I do to make the world around me just a little bit happier?" "What could I do that I wouldn't normally do?" Who knows? A tiny act of kindness today could ripple on to make someone smile on the other side of the planet tomorrow.
My New Year's resolution: To dance more often (to avoid resolving to lose weight) and really learn West Coast Swing and/or Tap Dancing.