As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
A stressful situation that occurs all the time is having to bring your car in for servicing. If you're probably not very knowledgeable about cars, you place yourself at the mercy of people who can easily take advantage of your naivety. A couple of years ago, I had a problem with my driver's power window and I took it into the dealership for servicing. The dealership told me it would cost $600 to replace the entire window motor assembly (parts only). Since it was only a minor annoyance, I declined to fix it right away.
Forward to today when I bought my car into a small shop in Allston where I've known the guy from the third grade. I was told that a part on the window frame rusted away and would be replaced (as opposed to the entire motor assemble). Estimated cost? $50 plus labor. Oh yes, they would also replace all the clips in the door that seem to be missing.
With previous cars I've owned, I've managed to strike up a rapport with the service staff at the various garages who seemed to have more interest in solving my problems than did the dealerships' service departments.
One interesting note: one guy told me that you don't need to have your oil changes done at the dealership to keep your warranty valid. Good to know.
I've been encountering a particular notion from more and more people that seems rather disturbing to me.
With the existance of DSL and cable broadband and the introduction of wireless routers, it's not uncommon to find out that there are nearby wireless network users who don't know enough to set up some sort of encryption to prevent people from using the service that they paid for. Every time I set up someone's wireless router, I always find other people in the neighborhood who have open networks that can be used by other people without their permission.
That doesn't bother me so much. What does bother me is the attitude of *other* people who feel that it's okay to just piggy-back on top of someone else's wireless network and use the Internet without the permission of the person paying for the service.
It seems to me that there is only one word to describe the act of using something that belongs to someone else without their permission: "Stealing".
Some people somehow manage to justify their motives which comes down to "why pay for it when I can get it for free?" However they rationalize it, it's still stealing, not to mention dishonest and inconsiderate. What's wrong with asking the owner of the wireless network for permission to access their network? What's wrong with offering to split the cost of the Internet access? (yes, the wireless owner's agreement with ISP typically prohibits that, but that's a separate issue).
The argument of "Geez, other people are doing it!" doesn't fly here, just like the practice of downloading music on the Internet without compensating the artists. "But it's not hurting anyone" doesn't cut it. Neither does "No one's going to know!" That's just juvenile and dishonest, and it's immature to come up with a such lame excuse for doing it. We, as adults, are suppose to *know* the difference and be an example to the kids. If we want the kids to grow up to be good honest citizens, we have to lead by example. If we rationalize lying and stealing, we have no right to expect otherwise from the next generation.
One thing that bugs me is the attempts by some promoters to circumvent the rules I have regarding the posting of events on this website.
One venue wanted me to post announcements on *all* the calendars on this website....that's 9 different announcements. However, that event was a workshop. It is my feeling that there is a limit to the distance that people will drive for a workshop, regardless of the popularity of a teacher. Workshops that seem worthy, however, will get posted to the Special Classes page, even if they're on the opposite side of New England.
I generally post announcements for major weekend (or longer) events on all the calendars because I know that people *will* drive that far for those kinds of events where they *know* that a lot of people are going to show up and they're going to be staying over. Those types of events are generally not going to move elsewhere and they're usually in a hotel where it's assumed people are going to stay overnight.
Workshops by nationally-aclaimed teachers are different. They're usually not limited to one locale so they might show up in a closer venue at another time. Generally, there are no provisions for people to stay overnight for the second day's classes. The local dancers tend to go home and eat after the workshops and not return in evening unless there is also a dance after the workshops.
At some point, I have to draw the line. If some of these venues had their way, I'd be listing everything in the Boston calendar and that'd make the webpage too clumbersome to use. This website is organized to make it easier to separate events that are local to particular areas.
Oh, there *is* one exception. I will list dances for all of this website's sponsors on the Boston calendar *if* they offer live music, even if they're by the New York border. I think that people who are covering the costs of this website should be entitled to some special consideration.
I see some obsessive people as those who like to do somethings in a certain way all the time. I assume part of it has to do with wanting a perfectly ordered world because it helps them recognize when something is wrong with their environment. Some of it might also have to do with either having ADHD (Attention Deficiency and Hyperactivity Disorder) or just being forgetful. For some, acting "obsessive" is just a survival mechanism to make it through the day. Always putting the house keys on a hook at the front door means you'll always find them; always packing a suitcase a certain way guarantees that it'll be done quickly and you'll have room for everything.
Being anal-retentive means that little things are an overwhelming nuisance that must be eradicated. It means noticing minor mistakes that 99% of the world will completely ignore because they have much more important things to worry about...such as making a living, worrying about life, the universe and everything, or just remembering to buy chocolates for that significant other on Valentine's Day. Being "anal" means making others do extra work so you will feel better, ignoring how it makes *others* feel.
As I work on this website, I should point out that I am the *only* one who types information into these HTML files. I get *a lot* of information every week and as I type up to probably 120 words per minute, I *will* make typos. Naturally, some of you out there will help me by letting me know about such mistakes.
For those of you notice a problem, please consider using these guidelines:
If you see some minor mistake, such as substituting "it's" for "its" (extra apostrophe), then I'm pretty sure that the sky will not come crashing down. None of the readers will think less of you (if its your venue involved). But, if you insist of giving me extra work by getting me to fix it (and remember, I don't work for you), rest assured that, lest ye have any lingering doubts, you *are* "anal".
Friday night was, of course, the lecture by the legendary Frankie Manning and Cynthia Millman. The room was packed and everyone was riveted to their seats for two and a half hours. I feel sorry for anyone couldn't make it and even worse for those who have *never* heard Frankie speak before.
I had a tap dance class Saturday morning, 9:00 am. Geez...only crazy people wake up that early.
All afternoon was devoted to the Hop To The Beat workshops where Frankie Manning was the headliner. We didn't get out for dinner until at least 7 pm. That last workshop had us all working hard. I don't think there was a dry shirt in the entire room...except for Frankie's, that is.
The nice thing about attending the dance that night was all the new faces we don't normal see on the local scene. I saw friends from Maine, New Hamphire, and Connecticut and I got to dance with a lot of people I don't see regularly. All in all, it was a very satisfying weekend.
I was thinking of something Mark had mentioned to me a while ago. He had a chance to see Count Basie years ago...and he decided that he'd catch the Count the next time he passed through town. And you can probably guess, Count Basie passed away before he ever came back.
To be honest, that was going through my mind when I decided to sign up for Frankie's lecture on his lindy hop life.
I got another great example of why it's important to be nice to *everyone* on the dance floor....
For this long weekend, the regular tap teacher took off for a holiday and we had a substitute teacher. We found out that she had tried out swing dancing once at some venue.
The interesting part is that she remembered dancing with *me*. I hope I was nice enough to her on the dance floor. :^)
Just encounted an interesting file that came across email. My email's antivirus software didn't flag it, but at the same time, I didn't run the full antivirus program on it. Sometimes, my antivirus software's email checker won't catch an incoming virus while a full system scan afterwards will.
The file in question had the name of
"checkuesc.jpg .exe"At first glance, in Windows Explorer, it looked like a JPG image file. The filename had a lot of extra blanks in it so the ".exe" suffix wasn't visible. It would not be unreasonable for people to not notice the unusual filename and just click on the "image" to see what the graphic images was (I almost did) and they would end up running some program on their computer. Even the trick of making all known suffices visible would not have helped in this case because they made the file name long enough with blank characters to hide the application suffix.
Be careful of tricks like this.
The installation of great antivirus and anti-spyware programs is fairly useless if you don't update them and run them regularly. I had to check out a friend's computer recently where I had installed Norton Utilities and Ad-Aware...two years ago. And the owner had not updated those programs in all that intervening time, much less run the programs. I only found out about it because I got called to check out some problem.
Not only that, some of the anti-spyware programs *don't* find everything. I had some problems with some computers where I was working and I couldn't figure out why the computers kept running too slow until I loaded a second anti-spyware program and cleaned out a lot of problems the first program missed. Therefore, I recommend using *two* anti-spyware programs on your computer.
My favorites? For antivirus, I use mostly Norton Antivirus or Norton Utilities. I like the extra features in Norton Utilities over the applications that come with Norton Internet Security. For anti-spyware, I prefer Ad-Aware by Lavasoft USA and Spybot Search & Destroy. That is, I use *both*. Each catches stuff the other misses.
Again, the best detection programs won't do you any good if you don't update them and don't use them.
I suppose I should talk about dancing at some point.
I attended Julia Boynton's monthly "Tap Jam" at the Brookline Community Center for the Arts. There are lessons at the beginning with different teachers but the "jam" itself is a treat to watch. They invite people to join them on the floor and it's truly inspiring to watch them improvish to the live jazz band. And I must repeat something I've already said...it's opens up a new world when you watch (and listen) to a group of tap dancers when you realize they're making *music*.
If you're even slightly interested in learning Tap dancing, I would highly recommend attending the monthly Tap Jam (last Saturday of the month, every month) to see what you could be doing.