As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
I was following behind one of the San Jose county buses and couldn't help but notice the public safety ad on the back:
I thought that last line got the message through.
Wearing a windshield
Now, that's gotta hurt.
Remember...or be remembered
I had an encounter with an example of California road rage the other day.
When I was coming off Route 85 in Mountain View onto El Camino Real ("The King's Way", a city street that goes all the way from San Jose to San Francisco), I had the audacity to to stop at the end of the ramp to look out for on-coming cars. The guy behind me immediately leaned on his horn in anger. He was driving one of those old boats that never got around to rusting away.
He drove around me, then swerved at me to force me out of his way, and then continued to yell at me through his mirror. As I pulled up alongside I could hear him yelling and screaming through his window. I pretended that I just got off the boat and didn't understand English.
In Boston, we encounter stupid drivers all the time (typically in either a BMW or a Volvo), but we usually focused on the *important* task at hand which is getting to our destination. The average reaction is giving that person the Universal Boston Driver Greeting and then driving off. We tend not to waste our time on the offending driver because they're just not important, at least not more important than where we're going. And, as they said in the movie Gumball Rally, "What's behind me is not important".
This person who cut me off thought he was more important than everyone else, which I could see with his car (like the old Thunderbirds that had a engine compartment longer than the rest of the car and got about 8 miles per gallon). He took it as a personal insult that someone got in his way.
I probably shouldn't have given him the Universal Boston Driver Greeting as he was gesturing in his mirror. :-)
I was in California for a friend's wedding and I went from the airport to the department store to buy a wedding present for them. Since I was on the road, I decided to have the gift-wrapping done at the store. I struck up a conversation with the person doing the gift-wrapping and after a while she said that she could tell that I was from "elsewhere".
I asked her why she thought that...
She said that, besides the accent (I don't *have* an accent, I think), she said that I was *friendly*. That took me back by surprised. I have friends in California who bailed out of Boston because they thought Bostonians were cold and unfriendly so I wasn't ready to be characterized as someone who was friendlier than an average Californian.
P.S.: Guys, have a present professionally wrapped at a store once in a while and pay attention to how it's done. You can learn some interesting techniques that way.
It's interesting to see how many people send me requests for the weekly newsletter without including the word "please" anywhere in their notes.
"I went to your web site and think you do a great job. But, I am writing my DANCE NEWSLETTER and wished to include the USABDA event in Providence. The phone # you show is 401-353-980 - so, I said okay, go to the next month, but it appears you copy and just change a few items. Could you correct there number and send me what that number is? I appreciate your time and effort.
"So....are you telling me that you're creating your dance newsletter by plagarizing my website?I should have added "I don't work for you" and "you forgot to say 'please' " but it was late and I was tired.
Furthermore, the link to the RI USABDA website is on the calendar...
"My partner and I love to dance. We will be moving to the Williamstown, MA., Bennington, VT. area soon, and visit often. Where in this area can we find swing lessons and places to dance. Thank you."
I hope you will excuse my confusion because I don't understand why you might think that I might know of dance information that isn't already on my website.
Please go to http://www.havetodance.com/ Click on the links for Massachusetts and Vermont. There are also additional resources listed on those pages. If the information does *not* exist on those pages, then that means I don't know anything about it.
From last week's soapbox: "It's interesting to see how many people send me requests for the weekly newsletter without including the word "please" anywhere in their notes."
A reader said:
"Bite Me!If it were ten years ago, I would have said something about "the pot calling the kettle black..." but I suppose his wife has had a nice calming effect on him during the intervening years. I've actually come to like the guy after initially thinking that he was...well, never mind.
You're getting so grumpy in your old age!"
Another great mini-camp of meeting and dancing with old friends and new dancers at a new location in Smithsfield, Rhode Island brought visitors from around the *world* to this annual event. A *huge* contingent from France showed up (having been one of the people roped into chauffering some of them from the airport).
What happened? Way too much fun for our own good! There was so much great dancing to be done and in some ways, it was more of a reunion of friends than a weekend of dancing. Many of us sat at different tables during the meals to make sure we could meet and talk with everyone. The food offered by the campus had even more variety than at the old location (and I think it was better). The annual Mix/Match contest was hilarious and entertaining and once again, a French team won it again with their outrageous antics. The regional qualifier for the American Lindy Hop Championships included a couple (from California!) where the follower had her arm in a brace...and they were doing aerials! Very impressive. As usual, the comtests were kept to a minimum so we could focus on the dancing. Some of us managed o drag outselves out of the Saturday dance at 3:00 am...only to get locked out of our dorm. :^) I've since learned from previous events that it's no shame to miss breakfast or even the first class on Sunday. It was definitely convenient that Sylvia Sykes' Balboa class was in the lobby of my dorm right before lunch! One big surprise for everyone: the "housekeeping" staff at the college came in to make our beds! The beds and linens weren't much to speak of but it was a nice touch. I hope everyone remembered to leave them a tip (just like at regular hotels).
Considering that this was a new adventure between Hop To The Beat and Bryant College, things went rather smoothly. We found out that the college was very security conscious (locking way too many doors when we needed them open) while the college found out that Beantown was really a 24/7 event. While every room was air-conditioned, the number of bodies overpowered the cooling systems in normally empty halls. AND some of us had rooms on the opposite ends of a building from their corresponding restrooms (except for the closest one to my room which mysteriously switched from a Ladies Room to a Mens Room at the start of the event :-) ).
Unlike some other weekend events, it was nice to be walking outside between classes and going to and from the meals and we didn't have to drive anywhere to find food. It was certainly a downer to have to leave on Sunday, but it was also nice to find so many dancers I've never met before who actually lived in the Boston area so I hope I won't need to wait until next year to dance with them again. It was a lot of fun and I, for one, didn't want it to stop. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'll be there next year!
12 years after meeting her, I finally got to dance with the lovely Sylvia Sykes. On occasion I had talked to her about her impending website and other mundane subjects but never got around to asking her to dance. Finally, towards the end of the evening on Friday at Beantown, I told her that I've always wanted to dance with her so she said we had to do it on Saturday since I was leaving Sunday. Sometime during that evening she went around asking people if they had seen me. :-) I think she even sent out people to find me. :-) She finally caught up to me while I had my face in a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream (at the late night Ice Cream Party) and wouldn't leave until I finally got my dance with her. What a class act she is. :-)
Was it worth the wait? You bet!
On a somewhat different subject, I got the following note today:
"Hi, I need info' on dancing for people age 50+. Thanks"
I answered with
"Could you possibly be more specific [please]?
I just came from a dance weekend where I danced with women from age 20 to 70+. I'm sure you'll understand why I'm confused about why you'd want to limit yourself to dancing with only certain people."
For the second year in a row, I am confused why so many guys were enthusiastically assembling very heavy 5'x5' sections of dance floor while several women, including the Gaudet twins (i.e., pretty French brunettes in ponytails), needed help in the Beantown Cafe. I just gotta wonder about their priorities. :-)
P.S.: If Tony Tye comes over during the beginning of Beantown and checks out your biceps and says "Hmmm....you look like a strong person...", assume a dance floor needs to be assembled and just run...:-P