As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
You know, you've answered a long standing question I've had about DanceNet for me. I always wondered if you had regular people who comment on your soapbox. One of the first things I do Monday morning (and sometimes Tuesday because of the time difference), is check to see what you wrote. God, does this mean I have a Benson addiction :-) heheh. Actually I like reading Soapbox because its topics are all over the map. Rarely are they earth shattering (your previous soapbox excluded), but they are quite entertaining.
It would be interesting to poll readers and find out "why" they read the soapbox. Why someone would read the rest of the site is obvious. Well, keep it up. Regardless of the value to the community, your friends abroad enjoy the updates. Its kind of strange, I feel like I know you more since I moved away than when I lived in Boston!
Jim is the webmaster for Total Swing and was the one who "provoked" last week's question.
Well, for one thing, it's comforting. To know that you're always there and always thinking about what's happening -- it's like a bizarre tradition that keeps me close to the dance world, even when I WAS an active part of it.
You also have a lot of connections so you hear about issues that I would otherwise never know about.
But I think the one thing that has me hooked is the fact that I tore into you for something you wrote before I ever even met you, and we still met and became friendly. For some reason, that has won your written editorials a special place in my heart. You can make some point and I can debate it with you and that makes it fun (even though you NEVER got the point I so eloquently made on that fateful day!!!!! Grrrrrr...I'm still seething over it....).
Name removed to protect the guilty
I read the soap box because, as a developing dancer, it helps explain some of the mysteries of the dance experience, and how music, people and the venues seem to interact.
There are so many great stories and experiences that happen to people who are active in the world, dancers in particular.
Dancing reveals so much about the dancer, and how they approach life, as takers only, receivers only, or sharers (my favorite type to dance with)
Keep up the great work, I really appreciate all that you do and say for the dance community
I just wanted to respond to why I read your soapbox every Monday. First of all, I believe that what you write is exactly how you feel about the situation. I don't always agree (but usually I do), it's nice to read an honest opinion positive or negative, call it how it is. Most of my daily contacts are with people who want to be politically correct, I am surrounded by so much fluff I feel sick, many people just looking out for themselves with no regard for anyone else. So I personally enjoy a little bit of reality. I often have been told that I am to harsh when I tell people it how it is. Much of you write gets right to the point and that's what I like. Whether its people trying to take advantage of all your work on the web site, or individuals on the dance floor moving with no regard for anyone else, to promoters just looking to make a lot of money. But not just the negative, I also recall positive comments, recognizing people, like Susan [Sheppard, a dance teacher], who do things for the dance community because they love dance and seeing people come together to have a good time.
Now where the hell is Roger's two cents?!?!?
On a different note, I stopped hosting the pages for Bill Cameron's events about a year ago because he has his own website now (and his own webmaster) so he can keep those pages updates more often without having to remember to send me information. I changed all the pages and links on this website to point to the new pages. However, *a lot* of people this week (334), for some reason, still went to the pages on this website for that information, even if there's no link on this website going to those pages, and they still had to continue from there to get to their final destination.
How are people getting to those orphan pages? Bookmarks? Some search engines?
This week's musing...
If I had any doubts about talking on cellphones while driving, some idiot pretty much erased them for me this week. I was driving up Galen Street in Watertown and some guy in a van blew through a stop sign from a side street and caused several cars (I was in front of the pack) to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting this idiot. Yes, he was talking on his cellphone. To make matters worse, he *stopped* his van in both south-bound lanes (our lanes) to watch out for the cars coming from the *opposite* direction.
Outside the Target store in Watertown, I saw a bunch of people waiting with their very large boxes for someone to pick them up. These people had their boxes sitting right in front of the door with the big red letters that said "Fire Exit - Do Not Block". I guess they never heard of The Station in Providence.
Just as there are laws about perfectly healthy people not parking in handicap spot, you'd think that some people would figure out that this also means "don't stop there either" because an occupied space *still* can't be used by someone who needs that space. I saw someone who couldn't be bothered with waiting in a legal parking space 10 feet over; they never got out of their car so it's not like they had to walk that extra distance.
And still on the notion of inconsiderate drivers, I was at the International Bicycle store in Newton buying a bike for my nephew's birthday. I'm trying to figure out why one selfish driver just *had* to park his nice new SUV at the entrance of the store with his bumper right up against the bike stand. You'd think that a bike rider might actually be healthy and could walk from the parking lot to the store entrance. I suppose he figured that no one would have to park their bicycle at a *bicycle* store.
While the DVD presentation was very impressive, that was *not* the hottest topic of discussion. What interested people most, I think, was the fact that my trip from Boston to NYC (and back) cost me only $20 (twenty dollars)!
There are several bus services that provide express bus services between the Chinatowns in Boston and New York City. They operate every day with buses rolling at 7:00 am and the last bus leaving each city at 10:00 pm (they used to have a last bus at 11:30 pm). While known to some as the "Chinese Buses", they are open to the general public (and I didn't see all that many Asians on the buses). Some rumors indicated that these services originally transported workers to their jobs at restaurants (I used to work at one of those restaurants in West Hartford) and eventually expanded to offer inexpensive bus service to others.
There are at least 3 different companies providing this service, though at the common mid-way stop for all of them (at the food and gas stops near Exit 35 on I-95 in Connecticut), I saw *four* different buses, including one smaller airport-shuttle-type bus.
With the competition for business, all the services offer $10 one-way tickets between the two cities. In Boston, you'll see these air-conditioned coach buses waiting on Harrison Avenue (between Essex and Beach Streets) every day and their ticket agents screaming out "New York? $10! New York? $10!" (way too loud for 7:00 am, in my opinion). I was going to take the bus operated by Travel Pack (my father used them the week before), but I first walked by the bus operated by Lucky Star and decided that I didn't need to walk any further.
Service? I couldn't tell the difference between these services and the traditional bus trips offered by the big commercial lines. I made the trip in the same kind of large air-conditioned buses you see in the much larger commercial bus services. I got on the 7:00 am bus in Boston and got off onto Canal Street in NYC at 11:15 am. That included the midway stop in Connecticut (I had to laugh at an earlier Mass Pike stop for gas). On the way home, the bus had to fight the afternoon exodus from New York; I caught the Sunday 5:00 pm bus and got off the bus at 9:40 pm. Even with the MBTA's Sunday schedule, I managed to walk in my door at 11:00 pm, extremely acceptable (missed the #73 bus by 30 seconds). The outbound trip was pretty full while the return trip had some empty rows; in both trips, I managed to get a row to myself.
Well, no one's perfect. Our outbound driver was wearing just a sports jacket and had his cellphone plugged into his ear for the entire trip. I would have been more impressed with their professionalism if he had been wearing a shirt and tie; it actually turned out that most of their drivers did wear shirts and ties. The driver was probably in a hurry that morning, but dressing up might have gotten him better service at the "bus drivers only" line at the rest stop. The outbound trip had the heat turned up which I thought was not conducive to sleeping on the bus. In either trip, I didn't feel that there was any difference between these buses and their drivers and those of the commercial services. I didn't see power outlets so I suppose I won't be bringing my laptop on these trips. I wish there were seat belts for the passengers, but I don't think any of these buses (commercial or chartered) have seat belts (allowable under law).
What a deal! $20 roung trip? The gasoline for the trip would cost more than that! The tolls between Boston and New York is about that much. Parking? My last trip to NYC with my car cost me $65 for the weekend and that's without taking the car out of the garage for anything. The subway and bus system in NYC is fairly extensive (though somewhat confusing) and it's surprisingly easy to walk around. From 57th Street & 7th Avenue, I walked to 63rd & York in about 35 minutes while dragging my luggage through the streets. I might get around to attending one of the New York Swing Dance Society's first Sunday swing dances at Irving Plaza one of these days. Using these bus services would make it worth staying overnight at a hotel instead of driving home to Boston that night.