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Date:2010-08-20 00:35
Mood: inspired

My advisor assigned to us the following reading as preparation for our first lab meeting tomorrow:

The anti-creativity letters: Advice from a senior tempter to a junior tempter.

Which begins thus:

Note. The letters that follow fell into my hands under remarkable circumstances that I am not at liberty to reveal. The correspondence bears a striking similarity to The Screwtape Letters, edited by C. S. Lewis. In those letters, a senior devil advises a junior devil about how to win the soul of a human being for Satan. The senior devil is very knowledgeable about human psychology and is a clever student of human frailties and how to make the worst of them. Similarly, in the letters reproduced here, a senior "tempter," as he calls himself, working on behalf of an underworld figure he calls the "Anti-Muse," counsels a junior tempter about how to prevent a young psychologist from being a productive and original scientist. I think the letters constitute an interesting set of hypotheses about how to stimulate, and how to prevent, creative work in psychology. I have edited the letters very lightly, noting one or two obvious errors of fact and making educated guesses about some words that were obscured on singed portions of the manuscript. Phoebe Ellsworth, Susan L. Nisbett, and Lee Ross made comments that were helpful to me.

I think I have chosen wisely, if I do say so myself.

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Date:2010-06-19 14:56
Subject:And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Mood: jubilant

Today is a Yes day.

Yes to getting up early, but also yes to sleeping in a little longer than I planned. Yes to the thoughts that fill my head and yes to letting them stay long enough to go where they haven't been before. Yes to delays, and yes to being on time anyway.

Yes to the smell of jasmine on the way to BART and yes to the smell of the man with the warm face who sat beside me, with me, quietly and comfortably: vanilla, honey, and clove cigarettes—I could have smelled that smell all day.

Yes to honesty, to gentleness, to generosity. Yes to music that fills you up and yes to sharing visions—yes to listening to them and yes to giving voice to my own. Yes to play, and yes to direction. Yes to breathing, to breathing, to breathing ... and yes to walking; Yes to giving things the time and space and answers they deserve.


Yes to observations and yes to enjoying the act of observing. Yes to remembering, and yes to re-imagining. Yes to movement, yes to intention, yes to action, and yes (Yes) to gay rights.


Yes, Yes—a resounding, enduring Yes—to honest but not unkind communication; Yes to taking ownership of my own responsibilities, and Yes to asking others to do the same.

Today is a beautiful day, a day full of grace and answers and a brilliant and easy unfolding. Today is a Yes day, and the baffled king is amazed to find himself composing Hallelujah.

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Date:2010-05-08 10:59
Subject:Almost a FB-post
Mood: amused

Stayed up until 6 am reading The Hunger Games; that hasn't happened in a long time.

Fingers are crossed that the library has the sequel on hold for me today or tomorrow as I'm heading out on a road-trip on Monday. Of course, the last book in the trilogy won't be out until this August, so practicing a little patience wouldn't be a bad thing. [Update: it's here, it's here!! Fortunately, I have plans for the evening, so I'll have to let HG settle for at least a day before I indulge in the conclusion to the first story (and the beginning, middle, and mostly-end of the second).]

(This started as a facebook post as it's so short, but FB's lack of html-friendliness changed my mind. I never did become very proficient at FB, but popular opinion seems to be in turmoil at the moment, so I'm not feeling any pressure to remedy that.)

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Date:2010-02-13 08:40
Subject:Fog in the East Bay?

Walked to BART through a clear, sunny morning. Re-emerged a few miles away to this...
2010-02-13 08.37.08.jpg

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Date:2009-11-21 17:55
Subject:It's Official!

AscenDance is presenting its first Home Season, arriving in a Berkeley near you this coming March!

You can even buy tickets now. (Is that crazy, or what?)

(Pretty pictures advertising said event are still in the making. In the meantime, I have lots of other things (also known as applications) to work on, so back to work for me!)

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Date:2009-11-12 09:24
Subject:Inspire Me

We're looking for some new music to choreograph to, and it'd be great to widen our search beyond what we already have / know.

So, if you have any favorite songs / musical pieces which have no (English) lyrics, which you really enjoy or which touches you emotionally or challenges you in some way, please leave a comment!

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Date:2009-11-07 13:06
Mood: inspired

Oh, Pilobolus, I love your ability to distinguish between taking yourselves seriously and taking your art (and innovation therein) seriously!!

Another fabulous show last night at the Marin Civic Center, including a wonderfully whimsical shadow piece (Dog * ID), some incredible assisted tumbling (Redline), a bevy of fascinating means of human locomotion (Day Two), a study in topology (albeit, with some uber-discrete cheating; Duet Not Yet Titled), and a host of the smoothest, most fluid weight transitions I've seen (Gnomen) wrapped up in a story of humanity, including how dark but also how beautiful it can be.

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Date:2009-11-04 22:49
Subject:Teaching & Dancing

(Halloween redux on the way.)

More lastingly, teaching AscenDance classes has been and continues to be a wonderful experience. It's exciting to introduce students to the various aspects of the wall, and it's been a great pleasure to create a 5 week curriculum which (hopefully) gives the students a chance to both expand upon what they've already learned as well as focus on something new each week, without being overwhelming, rushed, or overly physically demanding.

It's interesting, too, to see the various styles that people come in with. We have some dancers-non-climbers, some climbers-non-dancers, and even a climber-yoga-teacher-non-dancer. They each move, imagine, and use their bodies in different ways. It's easy to point out ways for them to step beyond their comfort zones, but challenging to keep them there.

Two more weeks, but I already wish we had more time. Some of the students do, too, so who knows. :)

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Date:2009-10-29 11:21
Subject:Halloween Help!

I love Halloween, particularly because it appeals to my maker side so heavily. However, sometimes it can be hard to find the specialized info one is looking for...

So, my dear lazyweb, a couple of questions:

1) I need to paint a significant portion of my body (including hands and arms) a fairly opaque white color, preferably without leaving white trails everywhere I go. What kind of paint / product should I use and where can I find out where to get it?

2) How can I take off said white make-up at the end of the night?

3) Where does one get an actual (very long) piece of butcher paper? Do art supply stores have rolls of paper where you can buy paper by the foot / meter?


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Date:2009-09-17 16:32
Subject:Dip your hands in colours ... and finger paint me pictures of all you see
Mood: grateful

Ursula Le Guin, in the introduction to "Left Hand of Darkness," made a comment to the effect of "we [authors] write novels to try to express things which cannot be expressed in words."

It's hard for me to understand and expound upon why I like dancing so much and why I seem to gravitate toward the period dancing that (thank goodness) is available in my area, but I think this quote manages to describe it fairly well:

The Auctioneer’s Woo:

First up is a mint, a classic:
May I have this dance: a phrase for thy empire
waisted who know the finickeries and fineries
of a pearl, small and mottled as a current.
A fetish for yore, when ladies sat by
wayside while side burned men in frippery
whispered an ear-shaped shall. Gay buyers,
This is a proper woo, a very proper woo, with
societal promises of velvet crushed cossets
and a lock of Anglophine hair as keepside,
when joy, now ineluctable as waltz, was
momentary surrender and not a holiday
reminder. Here here, for those who pang
for manners, who will by code fan gnats
from a sylph’s bosom, yet dare not touch
Her pomegranate lips&emdash;use it sparingly,
this phrase’s hoary delicacy may fray with
slattern use: Come all, for this mint:
May I have this dance!
The bidding will start at once.

From Cathy Park Hong, Dance Dance Revolution (2007) (p. 90)

Tip o' the hat to thistleingrey for the quote and then, more recently, the link to the quote.

Subject line from Faithfully Dangerous by Over the Rhine.

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Date:2009-09-14 13:45
Subject:Henna and Pride and Prejudice
Mood: accomplished

I had so much fun playing with henna and communing with my fellow henna-players at the recent wedding of a dear friend (I should say two dear friends!) that I decided to throw a henna party just for fun.

In addition, I'd been meaning to watch the 5-hour-long A&E miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice for months with a girl friend, and the long wait time on the henna (3 hours undisturbed) seemed to lend itself to sitting still to watch a long movie, so a joint party was born.

It was a pretty small affair, only four of us, but it was just about perfect in terms of what I was hoping for: lots of talking and laughing, very low-key and intimate socializing, with all the henna designs working out beautifully. To top it all off, we had delicious homemade scones with double cream as a starter, and fabulous cucumber sandwiches with fresh dill for lunch.

And while it's possible that none of us have anything to recommend us but being excellent walkers, I present some little tokens in favor of our being at least somewhat accomplished, though we have yet to net a purse or cover a screen:

More photos behind the cutCollapse )

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Date:2009-09-13 08:22
Subject:A _more_ positive note would be "Yay, Zudini!!!"
Mood: anxious

Yay, dancing!

(In totally unrelated news: boo, shops that don't have a simple informational recording (including hours of operation) when they aren't open.)

And, to end on a positive note: yay, Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin.

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Date:2009-08-17 22:56
Subject:Aerial Dance Festival 2009
Mood: accomplished

The long: World Dance Reviews' review of AscenDance's performance in Boulder

The short: AscenDance was very well received in Boulder's Aerial Dance Festival; the classes filled up and we had so many people show up for our performance that we sold out the show and ended up performing a second show immediately after the first in order to accommodate the overflow crowd. Also, some of my fellow AscenDancers rocked it in the student repertory show, particularly in the Bounceology performance! I'm already excited about heading to Boulder next year to participate in actual classes in addition to any possible AscenDance performances.

We have several versions of AscenDance's complete performance on "tape" this time, so I am very hopeful that I'll be able to post a link to actual videos at some point in the near future. However, as in many things, the videos are not as good as being there live and in person, so I'll try to keep you posted on any upcoming shows.

In the meantime, I am flying across the country in the very near future for a wedding, so if you don't hear from me in the next week, Don't Panic.

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Date:2009-08-09 23:22
Subject:For Your Listening Pleasure...

May I present Rupa and the April Fishes (press the play button in the upper right hand corner):

With musical influences that include French chanson, Gypsy swing, tango, Latin alternative, Indian music and beyond, Rupa & the April Fishes create music that is lively, romantic and instantaneously appealing. [Also, a great opportunity to practice your French and/or Spanish!]

In a very different vein, Adam and I finally attended the Friday Night Waltz in Oakland this past Saturday night, soon to be a more appropriately named East Bay Waltz. I really enjoyed it, and wished we could have stayed longer. We took Tom Hill's class in Cross-Step Waltz and participated in the Cross-Step Mixer, a simple but beautiful dance that fills a ballroom admirably. I was impressed at how smooth and pretty the whole room seemed to be during that dance given how many of us had been in the introductory class not long before. Of course, it's entirely possible that an outside observer would have had a very different opinion on the matter. ;) Regardless, the Cross-Step Mixer was set to an edited version of "The Clock Stopped" by Contra group KGB, which played very nicely in the ballroom and had a lovely moderate pace for the dance.

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Date:2009-08-02 00:59
Subject:In Other News...

AscenDance performed admirably at the Outdoor Retailer Expo, and we seemed to be of interest to the local media. We even made it to the cover of the Expo's Daily magazine! You can find some photographs here: (flickr), (facebook), all taken by Melissa Lipani. As beautiful as many of these pictures are, I hope (and believe) that the actual performance is only barely captured in these still images.

It's difficult to convey the strangeness and, I suppose, wonderfulness of interacting with an audience (audience members) that has (have) just watched you perform. Suffice it to say that our second performance in Salt Lake City very much made up for the long, hot day of physical labor that went into constructing the wall the day of the show (and tearing it down again as soon as it was over). 10 hours of labor for 2 hours of performance? Count me in.

August 14th we'll be performing at the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, CO. I expect it to go well, and we're all quite excited about it. If any of you happen to be in the area at that time, I offer my warmest invitation to join us!

Not too long ago someone I hadn't met before asked me (somewhat accusingly, though light-heartedly) if I was a dancer. It's funny that, at 28, the answer to that is finally "Yes, I suppose I am."

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Date:2009-08-02 00:59
Subject:Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily...
Mood: thoughtful

I can't help noticing that the fictional media I've been consuming all seems to end in a Happily Ever After sort of way. I can see the appeal of the wish fulfillment ending; after all, it's probably far easier to gain repeat customers from a happy ending than from a more muddled, possibly more realistic one. And yet, part of me has trouble with the over-abundance of it. The idea that if you just work hard, remain true to yourself, and be the best person you can be, providence/the universe will conspire to reward you with the perfect match and the happiest employment possible just seems so... ordered, and simple, and simplistic. Far more so than what I've observed our universe to be, anyway. Of course, working hard and staying true to yourself and striving for constant improvement are all very admirable. But in such a muddied, uncontrolled, whimsical universe of particles and men, it seems unfair to those who {struggle all their lives in such matters but still find no magical rainbows or fairy godmothers or perfect partners} to suppose, to imply that they must be lacking in some virtue or other for things not to have turned out golden for them.

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Date:2009-04-05 09:47
Subject:Performance Recap

Our first performances went quite well! We got lots of positive feedback from the audiences as well as feedback in general on how the whole set of performances felt and what worked best for the audience and what didn't work as well. If any of you have further comments, please let me know! Anything from "here's some music you might like to use" to "it would be great if you could incorporate more X" to "I really liked / didn't like this particular move"; all of it will be helpful to us!

I was really touched by the support so many of my friends showed by coming out to see the performance. (Sometimes more than once!) Thanks to all of you who made time to come check out the gym and our show in particular. We're still gathering up the raw materials (photos and videos), but I'll let you know when those go up so those of you who missed it can get a flavor for the performance.

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Date:2009-03-23 10:39
Subject:AscenDance Performances March 28th, 29th
Mood: excited

If you enjoy climbing, dancing, slacklining, supporting local artists, or watching incredibly strong people perform beautiful and inspiring feats, please come join us this weekend at the Bridges Rock Gym Grand Opening!

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Date:2009-03-11 23:07
Subject:Little Star

p.s. The other day, zudini and I had an opportunity to eat at Little Star Pizza in SF, hailed by friends as "even better than Zachary's" (which would ordinarily be considered blasphemy).

The food was fabulous. The self-service garlic bread was divine (a roasted head of garlic, warm soft butter, and a sliced baguette) and the pizza itself was wonderful. 5 stars for the food (and the beverage selection).

But only 2 stars for the restaurant experience: it was clean and well-dressed, the service was fine, but the restaurant itself was crowded and incredibly noisy; definitely not a place for conversation or lingering.

Okay, on to collapsing.

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Date:2009-03-11 22:41
Mood: sore


Up, email, LJ-check, shower, dress, head off to the climbing gym at 12:45.
Climb routes for a little while, get through a couple of bouldering problems, take a walk.
Hit Trader Joe's for some food, race to the studio for choreography and rehearsal.
Rehearse / Choreograph 4:15 to 6:15. (AWESOME!)
Strength class at the studio 6:30 - 7:30. (OW!)
Home, home, home! (Long enough to feed the cat.)
Browse web briefly for costumes.
Post to LJ: first performances are March 28th and 29th for the grand opening of a new bouldering gym in El Cerrito!

Tomorrow is a rest day, Friday and Saturday will be more rehearsals during the day, and then again Sunday night.

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