Life is Pain

Life is Pain
but they say it can't rain all the time

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


So... fellow blogger, La Tanguera, posted this video on her blog:

and it got me thinking... I usually say I don't like performance because you rarely see something you haven't seen before and it just bogs the the night down; energy et all. Watching this - Fabulous - milonga performance, it just dawned on me why I don't like performances: YOU CAN NOT DANCE LIKE THIS IN A MILONGA! Certainly you shouldn't and/or shouldn't be able to.. although there are plenty of hot-shot-jerks who try, and cause havoc - especially on the ankles of innocent followers. Keep this stuff on Broadway.. why dance like this at a milonga-performance when no one can try the same steps once the floor fills up again.

One of the best performances I've ever seen was performed by Christopher and Caroline of San Francisco.. they danced within one 24" x 24" dance parquet square the entire song to demonstrate that one does not need space to dance well.

Kudos to all who can dance like the kid in that video, but it don't do naught for me.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


3-more weeks until Memorial Day festival in Denver and Ms.Spain's arrival. I've been working like a dog last several weeks and miss dancing tango. I've been invited to go to Ann Arbor for no charge (travel fee's still apply, of course), but I just can't afford the travel or lost time at work.
I can do work whilst traveling but sleeping in late and spending 3-6+ hours at a milonga per night takes its toll on my productivity.

Ms.France.. my longtime friend and quasi-training partner often calls me to whine that I don't show up to dance.. she lives 80 miles north in the next town. If I want to dance, period, I'd have to drive up north to her town, where the community milongas are. Sucks to live in a tango vacuum.

Ms.Vegas' friend from Michigan is considering moving to my town/state.. if she does.. that might be a boost to my dancing frequency. It's been limited to dancing during my travels to or with Ms.Spain ever since Ms.Vegas moved to, well, Las Vegas, last year. I feel I'm seriously back-tracking in my dancing abilities not dancing as often as I used to.


Monday, March 17, 2008

DC Tango Marathon, done with

Heads remained surely and solidly lodged up peoples asses.
Attendance on Sunday was about half of Saturday, so there was quite a bit of space to move, but one still had to keep a lookout for the donkey's that possibly shot out towards you from the dark breeches of the floor.

DJ Yulia did a great job at the afternoon milonga but her one and only alternative set was not a very danceable one.. otherwise she did splendidly.

DJ Fredi should crawl under a rock and rot. He played a lot of alternative.. mostly attached to vals and milonga sets thus extending the length of those sets to 5-7. Majority of the alternative was crap. I'm sure he thought his cortina, too, was a cute and smart one as it was about tango, but it was hard as heck trying to figure out what was alternative and what was his cortina, so you ended up standing there for 15 seconds looking dumbfounded whilst trying to figure out whether to embrace or to say "thank you". Later on in the morning, circa 3 am, he started playing his sets in a completely unpredictable manner at one point playing a tango tanda that was 8 song long. You begin with an format; you end with an format. His sucky selections made me leave early.

In the hindsight: Not a festival worth paying $20 per milonga and $45 per class. Certain people will keep making the festival a destination, though. A festival for people who want to do what-the-ever-the-fuck-they-want-when-they-want-to-do-it, though; not a social dance festival.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday ; last day.

Today is the last day of the DC Tango Marathon. Here's my POV and scoop of experiences.

There's a ton of extra women and lack of dancing is causing even good follows to start thinking that they must suck and that they're not good dancers because they're not getting asked for hours - and this time most of the extra women are not women with "extra" or women "without". They're good looking good dancers.. so go figure.

As suspected, the click/clique crowd is alive and well and flourishing. Fortunately they do not have a central hangout place like the do in Portland, but it is clear they only dance with each others and not with others. Since I don't register on the clique radar I found myself sitting, also, for a hour or so in the middle of the milonga - although I have to say I could have been dancing but wasn't feeling like dancing.

The venue. Main ball at the Trinity College in a questionable area of NE D.C. Music is piped through two large sized speakers at an volume that surely damage your hearing if sitting too close to them. The floor mysteriously seems to go from slick to sticky to slick from milonga to milonga and day to day.

Music. Thorstein; so-so music.. didn't obey energy of the floor but also his milonga was deserted. Robin; splendid, as always, love this man. Laura; does not know at all how to boost or control energy.. kept playing weak stuff right when you need to build it up.. Shorey; very nice job, but too much of the same stuff, although she was the first to play Fresedo with Ricardo Ruiz - viva!! Upcoming: Yulia and Fredi.

Floorcraft. Abominable. It'd be easier to go find the abominable snowman than to find a working line of dance at this festival. People in the "middle" or "inner lane" absolutely had no respect for the outermost lane and kept pushing in or dancing into the tiniest holes possible. Small and few gaps in the tables cause people to plop up on the dancefloor right in front of you if you were not paying attention like a hawk. The """A-dancers"""... those with any national infamy were absolutely the worst and the donkeys asses. They kept dancing in a slow moving circle assuming an aura of space because constant steps and moves back toward line of dance. Width-wise they were taking two lanes. If they weren't, they were zig-zagging and taking any little space possible.. even those spaces that one would assume caused someone else to run into them, of course thus making the person whose space was stolen look like the criminal. Floorcraft is worse than in Portland during the height of the festivals - at least so I think.. I might think quite the opposite next time in Portland... fleeting thoughts, maybe.

Maybe people will pull their heads from their asses today and matters improve.. we will see.


Friday, March 14, 2008

DC Tango Marathon Day 1, Thursday 13th

Been a while again...

Tonight was the (un-)official opening night of the annual DC Tango Marathon. It was at the Eastern Market in SE DC, not far from the Capitol. There was a lot of strange energy in the air this night and I was not the only one to notice it. I think it had something to do with people not quite knowing their places yet, and so there wasn't an established "clique" crowd yet. I'm sure that by the end of the first alternative milonga tomorrow, clear and definite classes will have borne out of the masses; you'll have your A and B class citizens.

The floor at the Eastern Market was it's typical late fall/winter/early spring quality; it was covered in red dust that made the floor very slippery. But by 12:30am the dust had been absorbed into peoples shoes and it even began to shine in places and got to be super sticky - kind of like in the humidity of the summertime.
Another downfall was the lack of bathrooms. In fact, I believe it to be illegal to put on a public event for which you are charging a covercharge, and then not provide lavatories for all.

I wasn't feeling very energetic nor inspired and ended up sitting quite a few sets down. The clear lack of cabeceo also throws me on a loop. We'll see how this weekend progresses, etc.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This and that

My diet last fall was a blazing disaster. It was clear that I couldn't control my intake well enough to lose weight the way you gain it quickest...
So I've broken down and bought an E900 Horizon elliptical trainer.
I also bought a new tv - first in 6 years- a 42-inch LCD Phillips that I've hung on the wall. The plan is to watch movies/tv/netflix while exercising.

I tried connecting my old laptop to the tv, but kept getting the blue screen of death. I had bought a new (old style) video card for the laptop docking station that had an DVI port and not just an VGA port. I was able to only find a DVI-to-HDMI adapter cable; not VGA-to-HDMI. There was S-video connection possibilities too, but I really didn't catch on to that, and the fact I would have had such a cable, until too late. I then tried my new laptop that comes with an DVI port, but after I log onto windows it seazed showing stuff on the tv.

The I hauled my desktop over and it's working like charm. Already managed to watch a movie through it too from netflix-online: "A Simple Curve".
I didn't get the sounds to work adequately, though, so I hauled over my DJ equipment and plugged in the 300 Watt amp and 2 foot tall speakers. No remote but at least it sounds good.

I then decided to move the old laptop back and make that the new HUB for printers and peripherals - in the midst of installing drivers for them and stuff, I tried re-installing the docking station drivers, as the VGA port in the back of the docking station that I had plugged in the old LCD monitor didn't seem to work....
WHABAMM.. fucked Windows irrecoverably.. I'm now reinstalling Win XP from scratch after having formatted the hard drive. In a way, that gives me a fresh start on a very software-plagued computer, but I feel I may have permanentally lost pictures, files, drawings that I may not have had backed up last year when I was moving them to my new laptop... oh well...

At one point I also plugged in my old Pentium II desktop that's been collecting dust for the last 6 years, hoping to find that it might be strong enough to double as a server/hub, but to no avail. I need to take it to the dump along with an even older 386DX/16 I've got in the basement... I guess I'm a tech-packrat.

Let's hope that I don't have to redo everything I'm doing now when I go try to re-install the docking station drivers after XP finishes.. it shouldn't, though. Maybe this fresh install will let my network to work as intended - it never has. The old laptop was always able to access the other two computers, but to the other two it was as good as not there. Probably had somethign to do with the fact that the ethernet connected to the docking station and not to the laptop directly. Essentially I always had two LAN ports of which one didn't "work", as per Win.

Ok.. it's starting the XP up now.. ta ta!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Airport, Deja Vu

Okey, then. Here I am again, at the Springs airport waiting to fly out. The was a last minute urgent development with a job that I did in Delaware in October of 2006. Some very expensive highly custom low-voltage lighting burnt out and has to be replaced at the cost of me and that of the manufacturers. Honestly majority of the cost is and should be absorbed by me vs. the lighting manufacturer, as I had apparently failed to relay to him how high the ambient temperatures were going to be where the lights where going to be installed. The 5W bulbs laid flat over the electrical wire and had an aluminum "heat sink" shield plate between the socket and the bulbs to protect the wire from the heat of the bulbs. What that shield ended up doing, though, was to concentrate the ambient temperature from the room to the spot where the socket was soldered to the electrical wire and managed to burn themselves off the wire. The new lighting has the sockets standing upright without heat sinks, so I should be safe now. The problem is, the system is now one inch taller than before and is no longer hidden behind the custom wood valance I had created to hide it. I will have to take all the valances off (8- 8foot runs) and create a 5/8" wide groove by one inch deep so make the lighting sit in the material so it doesn't stick past the valance. I got the airline tickets using up 25,000 frequent flier miles out of my 54,000 mile balance. I am now 25,000 short to gualify for an ticket to Finland or Buenos Aires next summer. Taxes to the ticket came to $60, +$50 for over-weight luggage, +1-2 nights in Delaware, $500 for the Xenon light bulbs (old ones were incandescent), rental car, and replacement lumber of $100-200 and the shipping of it $250. In essence, this warranty trip is going to cost exactly whatever profit I managed to make on the project year and a half ago. Oh well.. oh well oh well. Live and learn. Any low-voltage lighting I use from henceforth, though, is sure to work fine and not to fail, as we know what to look out for.

The one bonus to this trip is that I get to go hang out with Ms.Spain for the long MLK weekend before hitting the road to DE. We had somewhat considered meeting-in-the-middle in Houston next weekeend during the Tango Festival there, but honestly, the DJ list for the festival didn't look very exciting. There is a festival in Ann Arbor this weekend with pretty good DJ's, but it was too close to Ms.Spain's trip to see me over New Year's, and now this extra trip came about. Next time I'll travel will be for the DC Tango Marathon in March.

With all the hastle I had at the ticketing desk with my big, overweight, bags, messing with name tags on the new bag I had to buy for this trip, etc, she selected me to go through additional security measures - probably as an payback for the time and effort I made her go through to check me in. Although I do have to say they did a poor job with the additional check, which was mainly to check for bomb residue. Because my second bag also got to be a little over #50 lbs, I transferred a Home Depot bag full of various junk and tool to my carry-on that has the low-voltage lighting, bulbs, and breakers. The bag also included a brand new 1" wide chisel that they didn't notice during the x-ray. Not that I will or would no anything funky with it, but that's beside the point. Last June they found a utility knife inside one of my shoes in my carry-on. I had last minute transferred some items from checked to carry-on to keep the second checked bag under #50 lbs.

I also had the written (LEAB) test for the CSPD this morning. I went through it in record speed because I was tight on time, spending only 45 minutes out of my allowed 2:30. I felt and thought that I did very well though.. I had no problematic questions.. but regardless I only got an 6 out of 10. 5 is a passing grade, but anything below 8 is wasting time to continue in the process..
My section is boarding.. got to go..