On Ballet (sort of)! – The Importance of Counting

All jokes about dancers not being able to count higher than eight aside, there are some very good reasons to count things.

Like, for example, alcoholic beverages.

Historically, I have been one of those people who have a couple of drinks perhaps six times a year (mostly on trips to visit family and friends, who — I am convinced — enjoy plying our naive systems with alcohol and watching us get tipsy). Various influences (read: somehow, we have suddenly developed a non-bike related, non-ballet related Social Life o.O) have conspired to knock out three of those drinking occasions in the past three weekends.

Friday night we went out for dinner with Kelly. It was the best kind of dinner: grazing at table for something like three hours without overeating, then enjoying coffee and affogati by a really cool fire pit.

Not content to stop there, we dropped in on ironically-named Bardstown Road hot spot “Big Bar,” which is really a lovely little venue, after which we went dancing at NoWhere, another Bardstown Road venue with lasers, DJs, and enough room on their dance floor for me to actually dance! …Which is to say that I danced for like 2.5 hours while Kelly and Denis intermittently danced and chatted. We packed it back home at 12:30 and were in bed by roughly 1 AM.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, I made a serious mistake: I completely failed to count how many alcoholic beverages I had enjoyed. I’m still not really sure. That’s not a good thing. If you can’t account for all of it, you have definitely had way too much.

Needless to say, I remain quite a lightweight. I don’t think I went Full FratBoy on this excursion, but I do know I more than found my limit. I wasn’t exactly incoherent, but I was hammered and I knew it.

I wasn’t “drinking to get drunk,” either — just kept trying different things because they tasted good, and quickly lost track of how many good-tasting things I’d tried. So, evidently, it is quite easy to vastly overdo it without trying. It was very much like the, “Petit fours? Don’t mind if I do!” sort of thing that can happen at catered events where endless plates of new and different little hors d’ouevres and desserts circulate.

The end result was a jammed left knee, one heck of an abdominal workout (derived from about two hours of early-morning hurling), a wickedly sore throat that persists to some extent today (cinnamon infused whiskey is lovely going down and hellish coming back up), and no ballet class on Saturday. I think I probably would’ve forced myself to get up and go if it weren’t for the knee thing, but the knee was definitely a problem. I am guessing I jammed it on the dance floor and failed utterly to notice until I woke up at 5 AM.

So, in all, a distinctly self-punishing experience … and I think maybe I’ve reached a point in my life at which I’m smart enough to learn from my mistakes. At least, this mistake.

The lesson? I can handle two to three drinks in the course of a night out, depending on how long the night out in question is. That’s all. No more. More than that, and I begin making poor decisions, like, “Sure, coffee with creme de cacao sounds delicious!” and “I can have one more shot of that cinnamon stuff, that was delicious!”

In case you’re wondering, “delicious” is not a good reason to miss ballet class.

Ballet class is more important than Trying All The Drinks, even if they’re tasty. Also, it’s hard to enjoy dancing at a club* as much as I normally do when you’re as hammered as I was on Friday ._.

Also, there was some of this.

Also, there was some of this.

It is nice having a kind of straight razor in your life that helps you make decisions.

“Will this interfere with the ballet? Yes? Then I’m not doing it. End of sentence.”

Denis kept telling me this would happen: “Some day you’ll find that one thing that you feel passionate enough about to put everything else down.” I don’t think I quite believed him, but ballet is the only thing that has ever made me willing to change the way I ride my bike and, yes, even give up Strava (at least for now, until I learn how to ride in a way that doesn’t directly conflict with my ballet goals). I am an Endomondo boy for the foreseeable future.

Easter seems as good a day as any for clarity of thought, revelations, and renewals — so I will consider this a lesson and a renewal. The occasional night of wild culinary excess is no big deal because I am skilled in the art of enjoying small portions and tend not to overeat to the point of imminent explosion, but there will be no further nights of wild alcoholic excess. Two or three drinks is my maximum, end of sentence … and I probably ought to stay away from the ones that combine alcohol and coffee, because alcohol + caffeine = 32 flavors of Asher Being Stupid.

So that’s it. Class notes will resume on Monday.

Notes
*I realize this is the opposite of how many people feel. For me, alcohol-induced clumsiness interferes with freedom of movement, and the high you get from dancing itself is much better without alcohol.

On Ballet! – As the Pique Turns

I shall try to keep this brief.

We had a good class tonight even though Denis and I were held hostage by Steak-n-Shake and ran in as the barre segment was beginning. There were only four of us, so we all received close scrutiny. Many questions were asked and many corrections received, especially by me. I was particularly in need of corrections tonight, but they were all good and useful ones.

My core still wasn’t great. I think I’m going to have to put some dedicated time into that. The past couple of weeks I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off collecting data and so forth, and consequently not putting much time in at home for strength training (which, in my case, generally involves calisthenics and fooling around on an exercise ball, because it’s fun), barre practice, or riding-of-the-bike.

Today we launched a raft of piqué turns. There were only four of us, so the rate of collision remained low … mostly.

Line graph of a bunch of beginners doing pique turns.

Figure 1. Line graph of one ballet class’s progress across the floor. (“NO” is for “PiaNO.” As for “DANGER?” Seriously, Denis and I nearly collided in that one spot like three times.)

If I were making my usual bulleted lists of strengths and weaknesses, the pique turns would be on both. When I put my brain on hold and went with the flow, it was All Good(or well, kinda good, anyway). When I started thinking, I did crazy stuff with my arms, failed to keep my shoulders square, and sort of fumbled my way into and out of turns.

Denis and I also nearly collided in exactly the same spot every time we were heading to the right, which was actually kind of funny.

I actually have no idea if our other two classmates were traveling on nice, straightish lines like I’ve depicted. It’s possible that they were zigging and zagging like a championship football team, just like I did from time to time. Meanwhile, Denis’ brain kept wanting to chainé instead of to piqueé.

A good time was had by all. It was a happy class, for all the crash potential. There was a great deal of smiling. Nobody fell down. Not that anyone has done, at this juncture, but we did lots of turns today, and sometimes people like to fall over when doing turns.

Tomorrow I hand in my data for my independent project and re-hand in the exam for P-342 that Dr. R extended on Thursday. Then I’ll be working on tweaking my project and writing it up as well as writing up my awesome research proposal.

It has just occurred to me that, with any luck, I will graduate this year. Finally. I feel like maybe I should buy one of those obnoxious t-shirts that say SENIORS!!! and CLASS OF THIS VERY CURRENT YEAR OMG! and so forth all over them … except, another part of me feels that’s a little too much like getting your sweetheart’s name tattooed on your person, which never ends well.

Okay, that’s it for now. I think we’ve earned a nice relaxing evening, and I’m going to go read in bed.

On Ballet! – My Core Is Jello

When you were a kid (or, you know, more recently than that, because some of us don’t impose silly restrictions on ourselves about what kinds of pastimes are appropriate for “grown-ups”), did you play that famous game, “The Floor Is Lava?”

Yeah, me too. It was (and remains) one of my favorites (for even more fun, try the “Ballet Moves Only” variation).

Well, yesterday I played a different version during ballet class. Instead of the floor, it was my core muscles … and instead of lava, it was jello.

Must be jelly, because grand battement don't shake like dat.

Seriously, the caption says it all.

I was wiggly. I was jiggly. I was sweating my socks off, because suddenly it was 70+ F and sunny and even though we kept the blinds closed it got quite warm in the studio. I try to be all proper ‘n’ shizzle, but I think I might actually switch to capri-length tights for the summer, because seriously, our studio gets waaaaaaaarm.

On the other hand, much like if you want to ride a hot century, the only way to acclimate yourself is by riding in the heat, if you want to dance under hot lights on a potentially-warm stage someday … yeah. So maybe ignore me, and I’ll just go on wearing my tights, because evidently while it is totally de rigeur for dudes to dance topless whenever modern choreographers are involved, we still gots to wear tights*.

Anyway. There was a another new gentleman in class yesterday, which was pretty cool. He’s a newer dancer, but usually does a different class with his wife. She wasn’t dancing due to an injury (I think?) so instead he joined our class, which was surprisingly full, given that it was the morning of Thunder Over Louisville, which is the kickoff event for our several-weeks-long bacchanalia of horse race-worship known as “Derby Festival.” There were something like eight of us. This resulted in a varying degrees of hilarity as we went across-the-floor doing jetes and turned into a game of human pachinko at either end.

Nonetheless, during barre, my core was like a six-pack … of Jello snacks. This might be because I went dancing on Friday night, slept five hours, crawled out of bed, and hauled my bacon to ballet class. I don’t do the rock-’em-sock-’em when I go dancing. I engage every muscle I can find. I use the tools I’ve learned in ballet and modern dance. Sometimes the result is a more jello-y me a few hours later.

So, needless to say, even my strengths were a little weak. I’m not going to bullet-point things this time: basically, it was all pretty mediocre, except for leaps and port de bras, which took place at the end of class and benefited from an hour of trying to remember to hold it together.

My arabesques were high but weak, my barre work as a whole left a lot to be desired, and let’s not even talk about grand battement (for what it’s worth, the leg part looked great, as long as I ignored the fact that my body was kind of all over the place … which, of course, one cannot do in ballet: the core is everything; without it, beautiful legs are meaningless).

On the other hand, evidently my leaps looked pretty awesome. I let the legs take care of themselves (which they do pretty well) and focused on not getting all Freddie Mercury with the arms. Three separate people complimented me on my jetes and sautes arabesques, which was super awesome.

I also felt pretty happy with the port de bras exercise we did: I probably wasn’t awesome at it, but at least I was following along and didn’t look like a Giant Elbow Monster. Seriously, I seem to be so constructed that I really have to work hard to look like I don’t have giant pointy elbows when I’m dancing. Likewise, my arms weren’t tired when we finished, which evidently indicates that I’m using the right muscles to do the exercise in question.

Our teacher, The Divine Ms. Margie, describes it as “hanging” the arms off the back muscles, basically. That’s certainly how it feels when I’m doing port de bras, so I think it’s a good analogy.

In other news, I have basically finished data collection for my research project … though last night, as we stood atop the Cressman Center parking garage watching crowds of people on foot streaming back to their homes and buses and cars after Thunder, I really wished I’d designed an experiment to see how many people would look up if I shouted, for example, “John!” or “Nice hat!” from the top of a building. That would’ve made data collection so much easier.

But, anyway, my research project is basically done, and I’ve sent the preliminary version of my poster to my professor, so it’s too late now (THE DATA IS LAVA! IT’S LAAAAAAVAAAAAAAAAAAA!). Next up, I need to make some revisions to my Research Methods and Statistics exam and write up a research proposal (for a project that will probably never happen, so I get to make it as elaborate as I want to).

And, of course, moar ballet. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s class. With any luck, my core will be a wee bit more stable.

Notes
*Seriously, go see a modern ballet production: as often as not, if you combine the wardrobe for the ladies and the gents, half the dancers could have a full outfit. Of course, they other half would have to dance naked, but that would be even more modern … right?

Thursday Nerding Quickie

Denis just texted an offer to come pick me up at school — either half an hour from now or four hours from now.

What did I say?

Basically, “Sweet! I’ll hang around here until 7 PM and cruise for data.”

And I did, in fact, use the phrase “cruise for data.”

Here’s the thing: I am Doing Science (kind of) and it’s exciting (very)! My sample is pathetically small, and yet I am seeing interesting trends — trends that are related to the predictions I made, but perhaps a wee bit more complicated. I want MOAR DATA so I can get a better sense of whether these trends might actually be real or whether my study is suffering from that bane of all researchers, Sampling Error.

I can haz moar data pls?  Kthxbai.

Moar Daytah Cat was shamelessly stolen from the Innertubes, unlike my data set, which was shamelessly schmoozed from IUS peeps.

I will admit that data gathering has been hard, y’all. I mean, not the process itself: it is really easy to set up a few hoops and make people jump through them (well, not literally hoops, but you take my point). The hard part has been buttonholing random people and convincing them that they really do want to participate, For Science!

It would probably help if I wore normal nerdy clothes or something instead of showing up in bike kit. I think there might be something about a dude in skintight lycra with a stack of papers and some hand-eye coordination tasks that sort of intimidates people.

And then there is the part where I am fantastic at standing up in front of a huge group of perfect strangers and doing anything, but ask me to talk to an individual person and I come all undone and forget how to function. I have begun to suspect that this is a function of being a control freak. It’s easy to control the direction of the conversation when you’re the only one talking, or when you have a badge that says, “Ohai! I r en ottority figure.”

Nutria 8. F. FOTO-ARDEIDAS
Respect mah ottoritah.

Individual humans in undefined contexts, on the other hand, are slippery (see what I did there? Okay, so it’s a slow puns day here at the central office.). And I think I make them even more nervous than they make me. So basically finding participants to fill out the staff/faculty side of the sample is a huge pain in the neck (students were easy; you can bag whole groups of students by asking their professors if you can drop in on intro classes; it’s like parametrically measuring fish in a barrel). So maybe I will really actually cruise for more data and maybe I will just hunker in my bunker and analyze the data I’ve got.

So, yeah. This is all really the long way ’round to say, “Life has reminded me once again that I am a nerd, and I’m okay with that.”

And now?

Off to (maybe) cruise for data.

Keep the bottom side down, whichever side it is.

On Ballet! – The Definition of Madness…

Is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

I realized yesterday that I’ve been committing this exact folly in class.  As a kid, my weakest point was remembering choreography – but it never occurred to me to try different strategies.  I just struggled along and got it eventually.

So this time, with ‘adult’ (ha!) wisdom and free access to the Inner Google at my fingertips, I decided to find out what methods other people – people who are better dancers than I am – use to remember choreography.

I found a few, and I plan to try them out, starting with these two:
1. Stop following the dancer in front of me, because that makes learning take longer.
2.  Recite the combination in rhythm,  then do it again while marking the combination.  I’ve used this one to sort out Monday’s combo.  I’m hoping to try it again on Saturday.

Anyway, that’s it for now.   More to come!

On Ballet! – Monday Class Notes

Last night we had an insane adventure while transporting a 32-foot ladder after class, so I didn’t get my notes posted.  D’oh!

Anyway, it was an interesting class.   Three guys and two ladies this time, in a reversal of the usual pattern, and we got our petit allegro on.   I was about as graceful as a gator on rollerskates, at times, but you know.   We all have our off days (especially after days off).

As always, there were some strengths and some (many) weaknesses:

Strengths
Grand Battement:
I always think this looks pretty good, though.

Balance:
This is really improving.

Arabesques:
These felt good.

Weaknesses
Strength:
For some reason, I was a bit on the weakish side last night.   While my arabesques held together, I really felt my effort.   Likewise, I experienced trembling thigh muscles at a few points.

Arms:
Seriously, arms, we’ve talked about this.   (To be fair, they are improving.  They were just a wee bit, um,  enthusiastic: like, repeat to yourself, this is not modern dance ).

Ooh! I know! I know! Pick me! Pick me! TEEEEEEACHER!

“You do, ‘FOSSE! FOSSE! FOSSE! … but you keep it all inside.”
Also, I was a ballet ninja yesterday, because I got locked out of the changing room and didn’t have time to change my socks.

Oh, FFS, the combination:
While we were learning the combo for our petit allegro, I started too far over and ran into the window, so then I had to try to remember it without having properly marked it in the first place.  I was fine up to the point where I ran out of room, but couldn’t remember the rest to save my life.

I am perpetually afraid of being that moron in class who takes forever to get the choreography straight anyway (I would love to see more about this study from Duke University in 2010), so this did not help my confidence.  I hid on the back line doing the watch-n-pray the whole time.

At one point our teacher told us (me?) to stop thinking.   I suspect that would help.  Thinking only gets me in trouble.

As always,  got some useful corrections (including the universal “stop being lazy and point that toe” tap while we were stretching at the barre).  I felt almost ridiculously flexible.  I didn’t want to stop when we were done, but I never do.  

I want to stop when I fall down.

I guess that’s a good sign ^-^

Not About Anything: Am I Weird?

Before I begin: the answer, my friends, is a resounding, “YES!”

I am weird. It is fair to say that we are all weird, some of probably more than others and “weird” is an identity that I had accepted and embraced by the time I was 7 years old to such an extent that I once tried to teach my fellow summer school arts program kids how to be weird, too. They tagged along for a while, presumably ’til it got too … you know. Weird. To each his, her, its*, or their** own.

At the time, I think I felt as if my weirdness was my best selling point — the thing that made me interesting.

That being established, however, what I’m driving at today requires a slightly different sense of the word “weird.”

What I’m asking is, “Is there some way in which I am fundamentally unlike the people who are supposed to be most like me?”

So here’s the thing. I am by nature deeply monogamous. I always have been. I rather expect always to be, barring one of those personality-altering brain injuries. I can look at and appreciate the attractiveness of people who are not my mate, but I have no interest in acting upon that appreciation — much in the sense that people who are happy with their bicycles might notice other nice bikes at club rides, and might even comment on them, but won’t automatically feel an itch to replace their own perfectly-satisfactory bikes.

Okay, so this is actually not a very good analogy: as cyclists, we routinely cheat on our beloved machines and we even keep veritable harems of bikes, sometimes including multiple iterations of one flavor of bike. Also, I am sure there are people who will get all huffy about me comparing my husband to a bicycle; to them, I say, “Try a really great road bike some time, and you will understand — and, no, you can’t try my husband. You’ll just have to take my word on that part.” :D That said, I’m sure you get my point. At least, I hope you do.

Like me, Denis is also innately monogamous. We do not have massive circles of gay friends (indeed, we do not have massive friendship-circles, period); we know two other gay couples, both of whom are (as far as we know) also happily monogamous. We used to know three other happy gay couples, but both members of the third couple have died in the past few years.

So, basically, if my immediate experience took place in a vaccuum, I would conclude that the norm is for gay men to occupy happy, monogamous, and (to include the whole picture) inter-generational**** relationships.

Yet when I hear reports from the field, as it were — be it in the form of stories about the queer friends and/or siblings of non-queer friends of ours or from Big Gay Media or from Little Gay Media (the blogosphere!) — there is this current of, you know, swingy-ness … and still, even now, this assumption that because we’re queer we should reject heteronormative norms like monogamy.

For me, this creates a significant cognitive dissonance. My lived experience is not only different, but very different, from the one I read about — and, in this case, I’m not sure that’s actually because the one I read about is total crap

Like, if you watch those teen soap-opera shows on prime time TV, you will think that high school is basically all about backstabbing social intrigues, hooking up, and people being really bitchy to each-other, when in fact my experience was that it is, for almost everyone, a hellish period of feeling akward, trying to figure s**t out, and actually not having as bad a relationship with your parents as all those TV shows suggest — and, sure, there’s some social intrigue and whatevs, but also a lot less sex and back-stabbing: sex mostly comes later, and as for the back-stabbing? That’s so middle school, bra.

But this isn’t like that. I mean, like, people who purport to be more or less members of the same community to which I belong actually really do seem, in statistically-significant numbers, to be living very differently from the way I’m living … but they’re, you know, basically invisible to me in my own daily life.

I realize some of this is that my own daily life has its own weird structure. I ride my bike. I go to school. I ride my bike. I go to ballet class. I go home and make dinner and mark the stuff I struggled with in ballet class and I do my homework and I go to bed. We go to the ballet. We go to the opera. We live like members of a generation older than Denis’ own generation, or like people from another time. Once in a while, Denis lets me off my chain and I go own the dance floor at a club, where I don’t meet anyone, presumably because people don’t want to get close enough to collide with a jete or a saute or that one move that I totally stole from some Broadway show I saw one time. Needless to say, this does not increase the dimensions of my sphere of queer acquaintances.

But I wonder: is the swingy-ness of modern queer culture over-reported? Are we still stuck in a kind of adolescent obsession with it? Is the norm really, as some people report, to be part of a nonmonogamous couple, or is it just that the nonmonogamous thing is kind of having a heyday right now, with the heterosexual community owning up to the fact that it, too, does a bunch of that polyamory thing?

I am not, by the way, asking heterosexuals. No offense to people outside the queer universe, but just as some of my basic assumptions about what’s really the norm for heterosexuals have proven to be incorrect, I suspect that non-queer people probably don’t really have any better a finger on the pulse of queer reality than I do. Which is weird, because that means I’m almost, like, not queer.

Except, that’s not weird, because that’s just me. Weird. I am never entirely a member of any collective group. I am queer, but I don’t really belong to the queer community in any real sense (though sometimes I wish I did, because it would be cool to really be part of something). I am usually too busy pursuing my interests, which are really kind of off the radar even in the queer world. Serious cyclists and serious dancers don’t seem to get out much, and I don’t know how to do things without becoming Serious about them, because that’s just how I am. Either I bury myself in my interests, or I let them drift away.

So I guess I am saying this: I am functionally queer (even triple-queer, since being in an inter-generational relationship and being intersexed shuttles me two minority boxes deeper) and in many ways I live a life that many people, straight or queer, would label as very, very queer — almost laughably, stereotypically so. Seriously: my extracurricular life currently revolves around ballet, dining, opera, and a hobby that involves men in brightly-colored lycra, though cyclists in groups are, in my experience, pretty much asexual*****; we are brothers and sisters in arms, battling together against wind and hills.

Yet, in a deeper sense, I am out of touch with Queer Experience, if there even is anything that could be called “Queer Experience.” I suspect that’s actually like trying to sum up everything that disparate groups of black people do and say and live through as “black experience,” or simply labeling all those striving, disparate patches of ethnicity in Eastern Europe “the Former Soviet Union.” Yet there are, undoubtedly, common threads about whose existence I am starkly blind.

So, you know. What’s up out there in the world, guys and gals? Am I really failing to observe some kind of huge, important phenomenon, or what? Some day, am I going to look up from yanking my ballet shoes onto my feet and realize, “Oh, whoa — it really is like that?”

Or is it really just kind of hyperbole, the navel-gazing flavor of the moment?

Let me know. That’s what Comments are for, people.

And keep whichever side down. Don’t fall over. That’s awkward.

Notes
*In addition to just basically changing my entire perception of what it means to be this androgynous intersex thing that I am, I would like to thank Clive Barker for teaching me to embrace the word “it” where appropriate and not feel all dehumanized about it.

**Turns out, as I’ve probably mentioned before, that there’s perfectly fine linguistic precedent for using “their” and its various declensions to refer to individual entities of unknown, indeterminate, or irrelevant gender. We’ll talk about this another time, after I dig up all the scholarly junk on that. Just don’t be that annoying guy, gurl, or entity that gets tangled up in his, her, its,*** or their own attempts to use Inclusive Language and instead akwardly mixes things, like, “Make sure your child brings their ballet slippers and his/her dance clothes.” That’s just awkward, peoples.

***(O NOES! RECURSIVE FOOTNOTES!!!!) …And for safety’s sake, definitely try the Oxford comma. You might enjoy it!

****It so happens that all four of the happy gay couples in question, including Denis and I, are also what people might term “inter-generational,” which is something I sometimes sit down and think about. I don’t know any happy gay couples that aren’t inter-generational, but that’s only because my Circle O’ Fabulous Friends is very small, and does not include any further gay couples.

*****We even reproduce asexually, by infecting non-cyclists with our spores, or something. I haven’t figured out exactly how it happens, yet. When I do, I will certainly write some kind of Nobel Prize for Science or Medicine-worthy paper about it. Or not.

Blogs I Hate To Love

There are a lot of great blogs out there on the Innertubes that deal with a whole bunch of interesting topics, including quite a few I compulsively read whenever I accidentally open WordPress Reader (during the school year, OMG, do I ever try not to), which always results in a clicking cascade and a four-thousand-tab browser session and huge black rings under my eyes and a huge drop in my GPA and — wait, no, that last one hasn’t actually happened yet.

Since I have essentially nothing of my own to write about this week, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to write a little about what other people are writing about*. As such, here’s a very short list of a few of my favorite blogs, in no particular order: not, by any means, all of my favorite blogs. That would take too long. Just a few. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do, and come to hate loving them because you lose hours and hours of your life reading them, just like me.

  • Adult Beginner:

    The best little Adult Beginner Ballet Blog right here on WordPress, Adult Beginner tells the tale of a courageous costume designer who made her first foray (or perhaps her first chassé) into the ballet studio as a grown-up. She’s a talented, funny writer and apparently also pretty good with a pen and some Prismacolors, so check her out!
  • Cycling in the South Bay:

    Wanky is a gem. He rides and writes, as perhaps you might have guessed, primarily in that fabled land known as The South Bag, far away on the Left Coast. The scope of his oeuvre ranges from the sarcastic to the sublime … mostly the sarcastic, but if he’s as good at riding bikes as he is at sarcasm, I hope I never go toe-to-toe with him in a bike race — because, seriously, if there was a Sarcasm wing the the Louvre, I am pretty sure Wanky’s work would be hanging in it.
  • Steve and Jon’s Best Things:

    Steve and Jon are pretty funny guys and they write a pretty funny blog. Their blog is irreverent and far-ranging and … um, did I mention funny? Oh, and manages to be at once broad and topical … because it’s about, you know, best things. Like it says. And it’s a pretty great blog about best things. Maybe even the best blog about best things, and certainly the best blog about Steve and Jon’s best things.

So that’s it for this episode of My Beautiful Machine: Blog Roundup Edition. Maybe I’ll make this a regular feature, but since when am I that organized?

In the meanwhile, give these folks a shot. They’re pretty great, and much more content-rich than my blog is this week.

Notes
*…HOW FAR DOWN DOES THE RABBIT HOLE GOOOOOOO????

No Bad Weather … Okay, Except Lightning and Tornadoes

This morning, I kitted up the Karakoram for a nice rainy ride.

I made it about one mile before the lightning that had been playing a little way off started streaking across the sky right on top of me.

I was reminded of a maxim of cycling life in the United States’ midwestern tornado zone: there is no bad weather — except for lightning and tornadoes. You really can’t dress for tornadoes.

Now, lightning by itself isn’t a huge problem, as long as you don’t get struck (thus far, I never have). I still prefer not to ride when it’s right on top of me, in an effort to avoid becoming a Bike Crispy.

Tornadoes, on the other hand, are just not acceptable riding weather. Winds that can suck you up like a giant Hoover, clobber the snot out of you with debris, and deposit your broken body G-d only knows where just don’t really make me want to ride.

Needless to say, I stopped and picked up the #6 TARC bus (which was, conveniently, due in a minute or so anyway) and rode it downtown. I am immensely grateful both for the existence of our bus system and for my bus pass, which allows me to do things like fail to bring any small change and still ride the bus.

In other news, though I probably won’t get to go see any of them because we are booked solid through the next two weekends, if you’re in the LouTown metro and you’d like to see some creative theater, consider checking out the Alley Theater’s Superhuman:a Festival of alternative new plays (a companion, or perhaps a send-up, to the better-known . With offerings like “Bat-Hamlet,” the Superhuman:a Festival… looks like a good time.

We, meanwhile, will be enjoying dinner and dancing with friends from out of town; the Met Live in HD’s broadcast of La Bohème; the Louisville Ballet’s final offering for its 2013 – 2014 season, the contemporary Complementary Voices; and the wedding of our good friends Dave and Diane, at which I will be playing the organ and hopefully not screwing everything up too badly. The following weekend is equally insane, but I can’t remember what exactly is going on.

Okay, I need to go catch the next bus up to school. Keep the rubber side down, and remember: tornadoes are not your friends.

Spring Break

So last week was academic spring break and this week is ballet spring break.   Fortunately, the Ballet 101 video we ordered for Denis should arrive tomorrow, so we’ll be able to get our ballet fix (and I’ll be able to write a review, if I somehow manage to wrestle a few free moments from what is guaranteed to be an insanely hectic academic week).

I got out on the bike yesterday briefly and am looking forward to riding a wee bit tomorrow.  Today, battling some kind of really nasty gastro-bug or possibly a bad food decision, I stayed in bed, more or less.

That’s it for now.  Nothing further to report.   Keep the rubber side down.

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