As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
One of those communities is the on-line gaming (as in computer games) environment. Because of its nature with participants being so widely dispersed, the members of the community are more or less anonymous and less constrained or inhibited about expressing behavior that is less acceptable in polite company.
In some of the on-line games, such as LucasArts' Jedi Knight II, the action is so fast and furious that no has any time to do anything other than to run around and try to stay alive. Even No One Lives Forever (think female James Bond) with its deathmatch (everyone out for themselves) or cooperative play (two opposing teams), there's no room or time for expressing individual personalities.
Sierra Online's Team Fortress (comes with the game Half-Life) offers a better study in human behavior where the action is slower and offers opportunities for people to talk to, or talk down to, their opponents (or their teammates). A clear key to players' personalities has to be their choice of "classes" to play, such as the big bad Hardware Guy with the rapid-fire gatling gun (must be compensating for *something*), the Sniper who fights from a distance, the Soldier who just wants to blow everything up with his bazooka, or even the Medic who runs around healing his injured teammates. Whether they're a "lone wolf" or a team player, it opens a window into their personalities, as does the player who finds fun in deliberately killing his own teammates. The voice capability even allows you to hear the players voices (like the 10-year-old boy who calls himself "Mistress Death") which reveals even more information.
However, it is within the Blizzard game, Diablo II, where detailed observations can be obtained and definitive classifications can be made. This game allows lengthy (typed) conversations between players in the game and offers more personal interaction between players.
For example, I'm "friends" with someone somewhere in Ohio in this game. This person has gone out of his way to give me "free stuff" without my asking and to support me as a team member to fight the bad guys in the game. He trusts me to watch or hold his stuff without worrying about whether or not I'll keep it. I do the same for him. If we pick up items in the game, we know it's going to be shared with the other party members instead of being cashed in.
On the other hand, I've observed people who have no other purpose than to get ahead at the expense of others. Upon entering a on-line game their first words are "give me free stuff" without any hint of the word "please". Some players are fond of "dueling" (fighting one-on-one), even when their opponents are totally outclassed. A fair fight is not on their minds; they just want to beat someone up and gloat (and take their "cash"). Several of them have resorted to taunts and insults to goad me into fighting them. I suspect that they're either bullies or their victims who want to take it out on someone else.
On-line gaming is an interesting way to learn how to interact with new people. Those who take advantage of others soon learn that no one wants to play with them, or worse, everyone gangs up on them (even their teammates!). Those who "play well with others" learn the benefits of working together towards common goals and those people are typically more successful than those who go at it alone.
P.S.: As a side note, I don't believe that computer games cause violent kids. At that point, it's too late and the real cause is that parents didn't teach their kids that hitting another kid is a bad way to resolve meaningless conflicts.
Over the course of the 11 years of dancing, I've met a lot of people, both nice people and bad people. As I was so excited about joining in this wonderful activity (dancing) and I was meeting so many nice people (introvert that I am), I wasn't paying attention to all the signs that should have clued me into the real personalities of some of the people whom I was meeting. The dancing environment distracted my attention from the people around me.
As was my habit, I assumed that everyone was okay until proven guilty, sometimes even past the point of redemption. As I gained more insight to the different personalities and different "viewpoints", I realized that not everyone was as nice as they seemed. Some even had quite the non-benevolent intents. I just had to learn their individual styles and then interpret them. Last week's Soapbox talked about paying attention to people's non-stressful behavior as clues to how they'll react (to you) in moments of a crisis. With the numbers of people we meet on the dance floor, I think that this is very important.
An example for you.
There is a certain individual for whom I have some distaste (now which one could it be?) :-) ). He knew I didn't like him, but he pretended that there was nothing wrong and acted as if he were a friend (conveniently forgetting what he did to me years before). Then I caught him doing something in public.
There was this second person (let's call him Luigi) that I encountered at some event and this person came up close, stuck out his hand to shake mine (at waist level), and greeted me warmly. The greeting was quiet and personal.
The first person (let's call him...Hans. Ya, ya, "Hans") was behind Luigi and wanted to greet me too (kinda had to, I think, since this website has caused me to be a "somebody"). He yelled out "Hi there!" and stuck out his hand a foot in front of him (at chest level), with his elbow up and hand aimed down.
Normally, I wouldn't have paid it any mind, but this time I had something against which to compare. Luigi had given me a friendly welcome, up close and personal. He wasn't trying to attract attention. The handshake was hidden between our bodies and we didn't need to share it with anyone else. If we had actually hated each other, no one needed to know that and no one would have known that we weren't saying nice things to each other and that we didn't shake hands. The meeting was honest, pleasant, and personal.
I compared that against "Hans'" greeting. With the loud greeting, everyone within 10 feet heard it and turned to look. He held his hand way out in front so that everyone could see that he was a nice guy trying to shake hands with me. If I didn't want to shake his hand and didn't, everyone would have seen that and would have thought I was a jerk. As I thought about it more, I realized that he held his elbow high and hand low so that I would have to reach "up" (from an "inferior" position) to shake his hand (that was in a "superior" position). Considering his line of work, I realized that he knew what he was doing and he forced the handshake (on his terms). He was playing mindgames. All these years, I had never noticed that. Now I *really* don't like him.
Was this example too wordy? Then how about this:
Supposing you're (a woman) dancing with a guy who continues to jerk your arm out of its socket. Do you think he'll be nicer to you off the dance floor if he's not nice to you *on* the dance floor?
The reference to personality analysis in on-line games was just an example of how everyone can pay attention to the little things, the personality quirks that come through in spite of their hardest efforts, and get a lot of information. I wish I had been more aware of them earlier.
However, there is a happy side to this story. I've come to appreciate the personality quirks of the people I do like. Some of my closest friends came through dancing, some of whom I've been friends with for a quarter of my life. Sometimes you just have to dig through a lot of weeds and thorns to get to the roses.
Thoughts for this winter day...
Some of you know that I got laid off on September 13 (Friday the 13th, no less!) and I've taken the time to think about things that weren't really necessary in my life. Many of those things include subscriptions to magazines (I'm going to escape National Geographic!) that are a nice addition to my life, but just give one more thing to worry about. It's a good time to cancel all those catalogs that I never signed up for. It's also a good excuse to give to telemarketers who call at inopportune times. When I start working again, my life should be simpler. However, I still send out too many Christmas cards...
I think that with the economy as it is, some companies' services are highlighted as we turn to value for the products and services we buy. Smaller businesses, in particular, work harder to attract customers from their bigger competitors. I thought I'd take a moment to mention Watertown Pontiac & Buick. I used to go to the dealership in Arlington where I bought my car but I wasn't satisfied with their attention to my business (the old service manager had left). At the new dealership (which is actually closer), they have a smaller service department (smaller property) so I think they work harder and faster to get the same throughput. But it was the little things that impressed me, like the time I was scheduled to rotate my tires and when they put the car on the lift (for the oil change), they realized I didn't need the rotation so they saved me that cost. They also washed and vacuumed my car which is a very nice touch during these winter months. I feel like they know me and my car and I feel that they appreciate my business.
I may have mentioned this before, but I can never remember and I'm too lazy to look it up. A couple of years ago, local dancer Patricia Keresey passed away and I think I got depressed thinking about the fact that the urn of ashes at the wake used to be a warm breathing human being that I used to hold in my arms. A good friend noticed this and gave me a book, Tuesdays with Morrie, that encouraged me to appreciate life while we still have it. During the winter months when we have less sunlight and our moods change due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), we need the reminder that every sunrise is a gift and that we should enjoy every second of our lives.
Isn't a "dance host" another name for a gigolo? :-) Yes, I know I've mentioned it but I was in the mood and I just have to laugh at ballroom venues who promote their dances as having "dance hosts".
The newer versions of antivirus software also checks your email on the way OUT so that will help people figure out if they're infected. Note that some viruses will disable the antivirus software or delete those files.
As I dumped the cards in the bin, I yelled out, "I'm FREE! I'm FREE!". Yes, everyone laughed.
I'm surprised at the number of dancing events for New Year's Eve. Lindy and WCS dancers even have their own places to go this year. A couple of venues are new ones. I wonder if anyone is going to run a Christmas night dance.
Here it is, Christmas week, and I thought I was going to catch a break this week. However, life isn't that simple. I'm used to things balancing out, like when I get bumped up into First Class, I'm almost sure that the airline is going to lose my luggage.
Last week, I got a nice complement from a woman who felt guilty for using my website and not having to pay anything for it (did I tell you that I accept donations? :-) ) I should have realized that someone would come along and ruin my day.
...aw, never mind. I'm not going to let some twit ruin this week for me.
Merry Christmas to everyone (even if you don't specifically celebrate *that* holiday; you know what I mean).
It's probably a bit early, but I figured that the books will be closed this week so I'll be able to donate the excess monies from the sponsorships of this website to charity. I had said all year long that I was going to donate the money to Vista Care, a hospice that helps people spend their remaining days on this Earth comfortably at home in the presence of their loved ones (instead of a hospital or a nursing home).
I've seen people who could have been the examples used in the movie, Cocoon,
where the residents of a nursing just wanted to "escape". They just want to be at
home in the end and not die in a nursing home. Organizations like Vista Care help
those people spent their last days in peace and comfort. I was able to see how
this organization helped the mother of a very good friend go home to her family
in the end. This year's contribution goes out in memory of Lillian Abbott.