The Soapbox Archives:
Most repair shops will tell you that whatever they do might wipe out your hard drive and that you should back up your data. Unfortunately that idea usually doesn't hit home until it's too late (like the guy who threw his (running) laptop against the wall when his kid wouldn't stop playing on it). This idea is gets worse if the computer is dead and there's no (obvious) way to take the files off a (dead) computer. Even worse, the stores are on a deadline when you walk into their store; they want to get your job done as fast and as convenient as possible (for them).
The Genius Bar at the Apple store in North Carolina wiped out the hard drive but that didn't seem to help. They suggested getting a new hard drive that they could partition. I sent a new hard drive but they didn't seem to be able to partition it. !?@#$? Somehow they managed to use the *old* hard drive and installed MacOS on it (why couldn't they do that before I bought the new drive?)
Now it turns out that one of the RAM/memory modules was bad. They erased all the data on the hard drive when they didn't need to. Once my friends bought a new RAM module (somewhere else), the laptop worked fine. The only good thing about this is that the laptop now works better since it's been restored to the day it was bought and all the "junk" software was removed.
Lessons to be learned:
My friend's daughter was without the laptop she's crazy over for over two months. That's way too long to resolve a computer problem.
PS: The installation disk for the Ubuntu operating system has a RAM checker that can be used without touching the files on your hard drive.
I can understand if a dancer doesn't want to attend a particular dance, but I don't think it's appropriate to blatantly discourage other people from attending that dance. Actively telling people not to attend a dance and/or deliberately lying about a dance is "anti-community"; this "somebody" is trying to actively hurt the biggest, longest-running, and most successful swing dance in Boston (23 years and still going strong!). I wish this dancer would approach Roger Weiss and tell him what he or she doesn't like about the dance instead of just whining and bad-mouthing the most successful swing dance in Boston.
Looking at the number of people who show up for the beginner dance lesson every month, I would say that the BSDN dance is probably the most beginner-friendly dance (followed by Uptown Swing). Hundreds of "nobodies" flock to this venue every month. This venue creates a great environment for encouraging new dancers to come in *and* stick around. Every dance studio in Boston should be supportive of this dance venue that brings in new blood into the community and drives *new* customers to them. Since the BSDN is run by someone who isn't an active teacher, dance studios can send their students to this venue and not worry about someone trying to steal their students.
Personally, I'm insulted. I'm one of those "nobodies" who attends the monthly "IC dance" along with the other hundreds of people who attend this dance every month. This was the second public dance I ever attended and I've been showing up for the last 19 years. In all that time I've missed, perhaps, 5 dances. I even managed to snag the first United flight out of SFO after 9/11 and made it back to Boston in time to attend that night's dance. While certain other dance venues talk about being "community oriented", this is the one swing dance in Boston where former dancers can come back, find old dance friends, and feel right at home. This is where they come back to if they want to get back into dancing. Some snobby dancers don't like to attend this dance because they don't want to dance "rock-step, step, step" all night long with beginners. There are a lot of good dancers who attend this venue; I think all my favorite dance partners attend this dance regularly. And I know a lot of great local dancers who started dancing at this venue as a beginner; yeah, they have every right to feel insulted too.
Let's face it: this is a good dance and good dancers *do* attend this venue. It also nurtures new dancers. It is certainly a successful dance because bands are always banging on their doors for the chance to play for the BSDN dance. Why are they doing this? Because Roger Weiss pays them well in order to encourage them to play well enough to get invited *back*. You can't just play for the BSDN dance; you gotta play "well". You need enough paying customers to do this and the BSDN dance consistently gets a large number of dancers coming through the doors every month to support this goal.
PS: I thought it noteworthy that a certain dance teacher *demanded* to be admitted to the Boston Swing Dance Network dances for free just because she was a dance teacher. It was later discovered that this same dance teacher *actively* discouraged her friends from attending this same dance. This dance organizer put out her flyers at the BSDN dance to attract more customers and yet, at the same time, was stabbing the BSDN in the back. I find this dishonest and dishonorable. It's generally understood that if you're a dance "somebody" and you get admitted to a dance for free (and that includes teachers and other dance organizers), you agree that you *are* going to support that dance and you'll encourage your friends and students to attend. If you're *not* going to do this, just admit it and have your name removed from the guest list. Just be honest.
PPS: If you have to wonder if I'm talking about *you*, then I probably am.
PPPS: Roger Weiss did *not* suggest the topic of this week's editorial, though I bet he's glad he put me on his guest list 15 years ago. At least he doesn't think I'm a "nobody".
I do believe that some people did miss the point, though. Some people concentrated on the part about dancing with beginners. That's an interesting factoid, but the real issue is that there are dancers who have drawn up some erroneous conclusions about some long-time dances, based on malicious information or ignorant assumptions, and passed that on as the gospel of the dance community.
There are dance venues run by people who have been in the business for a long time. They've survived by working hard, being honest, and dealing fairly with their customers. I've watched them suffer through bad times in the business and I've seen their dedication in surviving periods when business was down, in spite of a dance audience that seems to turn over every three or four years. These hardy dance organizers *are* the reason we've had good swing dancing in the Boston area continuously alll these years. They could have thrown in the towel a long time ago and went on to do something else with their lives. I've been lucky to know these people. Everyone else should want these venues to be successful because they continue to support the entire dance community in spite of the effort of keeping their own venues alive.
I've heard a lot of dance venue organizers talk about "community", but I only know of a few that assume the term refers to working with the *other* venues to create an environment that supports *all* dance venues. Some other dance organizers seem to think that their circle of dance friends constitutes the whole "community" and that everyone else should want to join *their* community.
I hang out with the former.
In Chinatown, you'll always see people double parked in the streets. These are usually restaurant workers either picking up supplies or waiting to drive workers to their jobs at not-so-near Chinese restaurants (I used to work at South Seas in West Hartford, Connecticut, during the summer when I was in college).
I went into Chinatown for dim sum for my dad's birthday. It was a pain trying to find a parking space there at any time. And there was an empty spot at a meter. And some dumbass van was double-parked in front of that empty space (that was the *only* empty parking spot on Lincoln Street).
At the risk of beating a dead horse about the topics from September 12 and September 19, I wanted to offer my longer-term view of the situation. I did find out one name from the group of "snobs" who think that "nobody goes to" the monthly BSDN dances (and similarly, the Uptown Swing dances), but it wasn't the person I expected. As such, there's no point is revealing that name and I'm sure there's more than one, but it's not hard to see who stays away and ignores the two biggest swing dances in Boston that are run by some very hard-working people. It's clear that they meant nobody *that they like to dance with* goes to those dances.
As someone who's been on the local scene and survived newer people on the scene who thought swing dancing didn't exist in Boston before they showed up, I have to say that I've seen it before. The people who championed "Hollywood-style" swing seem to have completely disappeared. Most of the idiots who thought doing aerials on the social dance floor was a great idea are no longer wreaking havoc on the Boston scene. We outlasted them. I even outlasted the jerk who almost caused me to stop dancing completely (long before I ever started this website). This whole cycle seems to repeat itself every three or four years.
The very nature of the people who think that "nobody goes dancing" at the BSDN and Uptown Swing demonstrate that they turn a blind idea to the reality that these two long-running dances each have more *individual* regular customers than the dances favored by the snobs. I'm pretty good at math and I can see the numbers. These two dances are going to be around for a while. And they have a plan.
A "community" of snobs that tries very hard to ignore the existence of other people and other dances isn't going to be very inclusive. They're not going to be very welcoming to new dancers and not very tolerant to people who don't dance exactly like them. Those kinds of groups tend to die out because they want everyone to dance like them and aren't encouraging to newcomers who aren't very experienced yet (though they're very happy to accept their money at the door).
Swing dancing is very social. It means dancing with a lot of different people. Often times it means learning how to have fun while dancing with someone who's not quite as good as you are. It might mean dancing with someone who doesn't dance *exactly* the way you do. It always means doing it with a smile. It might involve learning patience and sometimes that patience pays off when a beginning dancer suddenly becomes a fantastic dancer. Those kinds of dancers somehow seem to remember which dancers were nice to them and which ones totally wrote them off.
On a different note, I try to encourage new women dancers by telling them that it's *okay* to ask someone to dance.
When I started dancing, there were more women at dances than guys and if they wanted to dance, they learned to be aggressive about asking someone to dance (I once had three women ask me to dance at the same time!); otherwise, they're going to sit out a lot and I can tell you that's not much fun. Beginner dancers aren't going to get any better by sitting on the sidelines all the time and they're not going to come back if they don't get a chance to dance. I'd like to see a few songs at each dance reserved for women to ask a guy to dance.
Since I know how hard it is to ask a total stranger to dance, I try to always say yes when asked to dance, particularly with beginners. Similarly, when a guy does the asking all the time, he's going to feel better about his own dancing when a woman likes his dancing enough to ask him to dance (psst! Thanks, Rachelle. :-) )