chimerically: (Default)
LJ is having a permanent account sale until June 28 -- and if you get an account in the next few hours (the first 36 of the sale), they'll donate $25 of the $150 to one of four charities.
chimerically: (Default)
My next competition, after a whole quarter with none (thankfully, given how crazily busy I've been), is the regional championships next Saturday, June 9, in the San Jose Civic Auditorium. (This will qualify us for Nationals in August.) The first round of my event is scheduled for 9:35pm, give or take half an hour or so, and with subsequent rounds after that -- I'm guessing there will be at least three (a quarterfinal, semifinal, and final, and possibly an octo-final too).

In addition, the kids I've helped coach in East Palo Alto will be dancing in a special event (listed on the schedule as "Special Junior Rhythm & Smooth Presentations") -- they'll dance American-style waltz, foxtrot, cha cha, and swing. They're scheduled for 3:42pm (again, give or take half an hour). I'm incredibly proud of them, frustrating as they can be at times. (Luckily I remember all too well how cheeky I was around their age and can relate and deal.) Anyway, I'd love for them to get all the support and encouragement they can get, so if you're at all interested in coming, please do!

Spectator tickets are $25 for "adults," $20 for college students, and $12 for anyone under 18 years old.

Also, on Sunday, June 17, a week after the competition, SBDT is hosting a charity ball (with lesson, desserts, and showcase) for the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation at Metronome Ballroom in SF. It's appropriate for all skill levels (intro tango class at the beginning) and all proceeds go to a good cause. This one is $25 adults/$15 students, +$5 for the lesson. I'll be out of town, unfortunately, but lots of other ballroom dancers should be there. Details behind the cut ... )
chimerically: (Default)
Woa -- the eastbound 580 section of The Maze, which goes from the Bay Bridge to the 580, collapsed onto the section that connects the 80 to the 880 south because of an explosive gas truck fire last night. Two freeways are completely closed there. This is going to suck.

It's the section right in the middle of this map. Here's the SF Chronicle blog entry on it.





UPDATE: ABC has a video of the collapse.
chimerically: (almost 4 years old)
What would happen if a world renowned violinist using a $3.5 million violin played on a corner in a Washington, DC, subway station during rush hour? Would people notice? How much money would people give him? Read more... )

Though I don't agree with everything in the article, its conclusion reminds me of the classic Good Samaritan Study by Darley and Batson. The biggest influence on whether seminary students stopped to help someone who clearly needed it was not whether they had just been reminded of the Good Samaritan parable, or how religious or moral they perceived themselves to be, but how much of a hurry they were in. How much do we all miss in our hurried lives? How different would our culture be without this incessant anxiety?
chimerically: (ballroom)
I'm kicking the quarter off with a competition -- my last one in a few months. (Just as well, because this is going to be a VERY busy quarter for me.) It's hosted right here on the Stanford campus, and if past experience (and what I've heard about the preparations) is any guide, it's going to be awesome. I compete in the evening session, which is also when the team match and show are. If you're free and interested, consider coming by! General admission is free for Stanford students, $10 for the general public. After the show will be general dancing for those of you who would rather get out on the floor yourselves than watch. Also, [livejournal.com profile] stellae, David B., and others will be competing, so if you don't come for me, maybe come by for them. :~)

Speaking of competitions, last weekend I competed against my former dance partner, who now lives in New York. That was interesting. I put up some pictures from that on my Flickr page (shiny yellow dress!).
chimerically: (ballroom)
Someday I'll post about how much I love my classes and what else is going on in my life. Someday. This isn't just a dance blog, really ...

For those of you in the area, I'll be giving a showcase with my new ballroom partner at 10:30pm on Saturday, February 24, at the Allegro Ballroom in Emeryville. More information at http://allegroinvitational.com or http://allegroballroom.com.


my dance partner and me


Also, I'm helping the other SBDT officers organize this year's Cardinal Classic on April 7. We're flying in a world-class ballroom dance couple, Blackpool Professional Standard semifinalists Linas Koreiva and Ieva Pauksena, for a showcase -- I'd come just for that if I were you, but as added incentive, I'll also be dancing at that along with one of the best amateur standard couples in the United States and lots of other great dancers. There'll also be a silent auction, ballroom vendors, and even private and group lessons with Linas and Ieva. More information at http://cardinalclassic.sbdt.org or http://stanford.facebook.com/event.php?eid=2236253309.


Linas and Ieva


Hope to see you at one or both!
chimerically: (ballroom)
As many of you know, I'm back on the ballroom dancing circuit, and I'm in a competition tomorrow -- conveniently just a few miles from where I live! If you want to check out ballroom dancing or see me and some other [livejournal.com profile] bab5ers compete, it's a great opportunity. My event is at 10:30pm or thereabouts (Championship Standard). It's all at the Palo Alto Elks Lodge, 4249 El Camino Real.
chimerically: (pout)

Hyram Ames, 9/23/23-12/03/06
Originally uploaded by morganya.
He introduced me to Poe and to Calvin and Hobbes. When I read "The Raven" I can still hear his voice. We polished opals together in a small rock tumbler when I was young. In high school I helped him weed his iris beds and listened to him tell stories about growing up on a farm, teaching ballroom dance, and hunkering down in Italy in World War II. Though generally reticent, at times he'd wax eloquent about his collections of irises or tropical birds or historical books, or about any number of other things.

Though he has been having health problems for some time, his death came unexpectedly. On the way to the car after the family brunch last Saturday, he became dizzy and fell on his oxygen tank, cracking a rib. The rib pierced his spleen. He had lost half of his blood by the time the helicopter carried him to the hospital. His last few hours were lived for him by a machine, but as he didn't want to be kept alive in that way, he was allowed to pass away Sunday around noon.

He will be missed by his four sons and one daughter, and also by me, his eldest granddaughter, and his other grandchildren. Though it could be difficult to be close to him, I still regret that I drifted even further from him in the last few years, and I feel deeply for my dad, uncles, and aunt, who are really struggling with the loss. I'm glad I was able to see him last week at Thanksgiving, and I'm glad I'll be able to travel from California to join my family and play a piano piece for his funeral, since he enjoyed listening to me play.

poem )
chimerically: (goldenrod)
It's nearly two and I'm not tired and for once I have no urgent assignments to finish, so perhaps I should write a bit about how my life is going. I haven't updated in -- how long has it been now? -- well, either mid-summer or the end of spring, depending on what you count as an update. In that time I've passed the quarter-century mark; moved to Palo Alto; started blues dancing; tried hanggliding and waterskiing; participated in a wedding (as a bridesmaid) at the Grand Canyon; performed with a lindy hop troupe; finished up my internship at Yahoo! Research, helped write two papers for CHI, and started classes at Stanford all in the same week; mobilized my incoming PhD cohort to collectively buy a printer, provide cheap snacks, and have a social email list like my last two departments did; bought and built a fancy new desktop computer for data storage and processing; started competitive ballroom dancing again with a new partner and won second place in a recent competition; went backpacking with first-timers [livejournal.com profile] stellae and [livejournal.com profile] zestyping; presented at two conferences (one with [livejournal.com profile] dag29580863!) ... in short, I've been insanely busy and that's why I haven't been posting, even though I have millions of things I want to write about.

Despite the prevalence of social-sounding events in that list, what has been consuming most of my time is classwork. I'm loving my courses down here, but they really do keep me busy every spare moment with readings and assignments. I've found my Theory of Communication class, though focusing more on psychological measures and political communication than I (currently) do in my research, fascinating. We've discussed emotions and cognition, attitudes and persuasion, verbal and nonverbal communication, interpersonal and mass communication, and political communication, and will be talking about news, campaigns, and the Internet before the semester quarter is over.

I have two other classes which I am particularly enjoying, one on ethnography of virtual communities (taught through the anthropology department) and one on qualitative research methods (taught through the sociology department), which is a lot like a class I took at Berkeley except more structured. I have a list of at least fifty other classes I would like to take in the next few years, which of course I probably can't really do. I think I was at Berkeley long enough -- seven years altogether -- to exhaust most of the classes I wanted to (and was allowed to) take, except for the new and exciting one-time offerings through SIMS the iSchool. It's great to be in a place with a different (though similar in many ways) intellectual tradition and a whole new set of course offerings and opportunities. I have so many sociology and anthropology classes that I want to take that I may end up getting PhD minors in both (if I'm allowed), and maybe even getting a Master's in sociology along the way. The inimitable Jean Lave gave me the names of about twenty professors who she really likes at Stanford, and their course offerings all sound fascinating. I'm having trouble keeping the number of units I want take each semester quarter (eventually I'll get used to the new nomenclature) below the maximum.

My advisor Fred is fabulous, though he's been very busy this quarter promoting his new book -- which I guess is just as well, because I've been preoccupied with classes myself. I really look forward to interacting more with him and with others in the Communication department and beyond, though. And I'm also excited to do what I can to help forge more ties with Berkeley's iSchool, something several of the folks in Communication are interested in doing but lack the time to actually implement.

Aside from classwork, I've also become quite involved in several dance communities around the Bay Area. A good friend in the Stanford Ballroom Dance Team invited me to be their teacher training coordinator, so I set up a program for them at the beginning of the quarter. A fellow Yahoo! Research intern introduced me to blues dancing over the summer and I was hooked, and am now helping with R.A. Blues, a blues dancing venue in the South Bay. I've also been helping Julia Minson with her Mad Hot DanceSport program, teaching elementary school kids how to ballroom dance once a week and choreographing their end-of-year cha-cha/swing medley performance. (Stay tuned for more about this -- this will probably be Dec. 9, and the more who attend, the merrier.) Finally, after a four-month break, I've started dancing competitively again, this time with a Googler who recently moved up here from Southern California. So far it's going great -- though it was really important for me to take a break from ballroom dancing to rehabilitate myself, I've found that I have really missed it. Other kinds of dance, though they all share features, just can't make me as euphoric as International Standard danced at a high level. *contented sigh*

Well, there's a lot more to write -- I have a dozen outlined or half-written posts in my blog.txt file. But it's now approaching three and I'm finally starting to feel tired, and I have to get up early for physical therapy tomorrow (Stanford's health center is SO AMAZING! You Stanford students who complain about it don't know how lucky you are), so for now I'll sign off and leave my midnight railings and political rants for another day.

decision

Jun. 26th, 2006 02:01 pm
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The house it is! We move in two weeks.

chimerically: (Default)
If you're in the Bay Area and interested in the social uses of technology (or are interested in finding out just what I've been researching the last couple of years), I encourage you to attend my track (track 3, "The Social Life of Information") of the SIMS project presentations this Friday. I'm presenting my research on the social life of snapshots at 9 -- yes, it's early, but I'll promise pastries of some sort for everyone who comes. I've also been hearing a lot of interesting stuff about the Social Uses of Backchannels project, which will be presented at 10. And all of the people in my track are awesome, really. So you should come. We'll be in 205 South Hall, the red brick Mary Poppins building just west of the Campanile. The whole event runs from 9 to 1. See the schedule online for more information.
chimerically: (Default)


If you happen to be up at 3am, you can check out the Exploratorium's live webcast (or their all-night solar eclipse party). Hope my friends in Turkey have better weather than we have now in the Bay Area!

Utah Quicksilver, Park City and Salt Lake City's best transportation service
chimerically: (Default)
I've been told often enough throughout my life that I need to "get out there" more -- be more assertive, be more aggressive, be more social, or just plain talk more (dammit!). However, when it comes to teaching, presenting, hosting a party, or interacting in other social situations, I can do just fine, and I even enjoy public speaking (as evinced by my years teaching planetarium shows at Holt Planetarium and dance lessons for UCBD). But being "out there," especially for long periods of time, and especially in unstructured social situations such as parties, sure does wear me out. I've never been a partier: I often get to know more of the books on my party host's bookcase than strangers at the party. In high-school psychology I realized I was just introverted, and throughout my life I've learned to "cope" with my "impairment." Well, a couple of years ago, an introverted writer decided to speak out. Nothing's wrong with being introverted, he said, and there's a lot that's right. And further, introverts are rather inconvenienced by the smalltalk and sociality that is expected of them. "Remember, someone you know, respect, and interact with every day is an introvert, and you are probably driving this person nuts." And from a later interview: "Extroverts should understand that if someone is being quiet it doesn't mean they're having a bad time; it doesn't mean they're depressed; it doesn't mean they're lonely or need psychiatric help or medication. A lot of the battle is making the extrovert world more aware."

In the article and follow-up interview, the author stated that we live in a world that favors extroverts. I would agree completely for the physical world. (I've been lucky in that pretty much all the people I've been close to have been introverts. As an aside, a high-school classmate of [livejournal.com profile] dag29580863's once said that he'd only ever heard D say three words in all of high school. D, in his usual inimitable style, retorted, "Make that six.") But I would argue that the virtual world can be as well suited to introverts as extroverts. Online I can take my time responding, walk away, or sequester myself completely (... at least with most of my friends). It lets me stay connected to friends, but on terms I am more comfortable with -- less intense and more ambient, like the occasional connection one has when working independently but with someone else in the same room.

Are you introverted too? Do you also like the affordances of online communication? Does it also help you extroverts out there feel more connected?

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