Friday, October 31, 2008

Asymmetric Poodle

A dinner conversation surfaced the idea of having a poodle coifed so that from one side it's spherical and from the other side it's cubish. If I had a poodle, this is what I'd do !

Sunday, October 26, 2008

X-Rays from Scotch tape...

It's all over the news, so it's not really news...

But, I have to register my incredulity at the apparent finding that unpeeling scotch tape from its roll in a vacuum can produce X-Rays.. apparently with enough flux to get an X-Ray photo of a human hand !

(Can this be another 'cold fusion' hoax ? Surely someone has reproduced the result by now...)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cool shoes on BART

Coming home on the train today I noticed someone wearing some nicely customized shoes. They're so much more interesting to look at than a pair that matches by being 'identical'. (An aside, I'd heard that the Russian slang for 'shoes', sounds like 'shooz')

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cultural Exchange along the Continental Divide

A few summers ago, I found myself traveling through Glacier National Park in Montana. Spectacular.
To experience the beauty of the place more intimately, I stopped at the summit for a hike out to
'Hidden Lake'. The park being a big tourist draw, there were a wide range of people in
various degrees of readiness for hiking on a slippery trail covered in snow under unpredictable skies. On this trip I was travelling by motorcycle so cargo space was at a premium. Still, I had planned in advance on a hike in Glacier so I made the space to take along hiking boots, a weather jacket and a good pole.
The beauty of the place was overwhelming and for some, so was the terrain.
As the trail became more demanding, the less prepared/motivated turned back leaving only
the true believers seeking the Hidden Lake promise. At the lake, we, the self-chosen few,
were treated to the sight of a baby mountain goat that chose to linger.
Cameras clicked (mine included !) The kid eventually got bored of stardom and
deftly descended the steep mountain face below us.. Ah, the kid functioning in its
natural environment ! During the hike back, a cloud moved in and showered upon us, the chosen few.
To my mind, this added a dimension of 'roughing it'. Overcome adversity with resolve we would.
In front of me is an Indian family. Father, mother, daughters, son, all decked out in city gear.
No boots, shells or poles here. We're all gingerly picking our way along the snowed in hillside
together. A slip here, a slip there and steep drop off inches to our right.
The Father looks at me and I confirm the mutual fear we both share of losing our footing
and falling down the side of the mountain. We steel ourselves and press on.
I have it easier actually. I have only myself to worry about.
He has the added personal concern for his family on his shoulders.
Some time passes and we hear loud yelling behind us. 'Oh Gawd', I think,
'Someone's gone over the side' ! The father turns around and I see the bewilderment on his face,
mouth agape..
expression frozen.

I turn around to face the situation. A family behind us
is having the time of their lives sliding down the steep snowy mountain side on their butts,
shrieking with delight at the sensation.
The Indian father smiles, shakes his head and says to me:
'You know, I was afraid for my life back there.
Just look at them jumping off the side of the mountain like that !
This is *their* environment and we're foreigners here !'

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Charity Dance Showcase Sat Nov 15

Some dance compatriats of mine will be dancing in a Charity Dance Showcase to benefit the Alliance for Lupus Research on Saturday Nov 15.
So far the dance lineup includes: Modern, HipHop, Salsa, Tango and Ballroom.
Looks like it'll be a nice show:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kayaking on Tomales Bay

Someone asked about this, so here goes... A few weekends ago I met up with some friends and friends of friends to rent some kayaks and go on a guided tour of Tomales Bay in Marin County. It was a beautiful day out on the bay. Jellyfish were out in force to greet us. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the area having grown up in the area and working at a local oyster farm as well as the kayak rental place (Blue Waters). I have been through the area many times by motorcycle and bicycle and now have a greater appreciation for the area after the tour. Highly recommended !

No Kirov for me, sigh...

Got a great ticket to see the Kirov Ballet at Zellerbach tonight, but I don't fell well enough to go !
I'm going to call the box office to see about donating the ticket.
Major-ly bummed I was really looking forward to this and can't really afford to get a ticket for another night..
Someone tell me how good it was !

Sunday, October 12, 2008

ABDC America's Best Dance Crew

Having enjoyed all the ABDC season 2 episodes on MTV's website, I decided to go see the after-season touring show in Oakland last night. ABDC, the TV show, is a dance contest where hopeful crews (ensembles) compete on air each week in elimination rounds until there is only 1 winning crew. The show challenges the versatility of the competitors by specifying a different theme each week (all within the realm of popular 'urban' dance). I particularly liked 'Fanny Pak' who were the most artistic and original and 'Supercr3w' a BBoy (breakdance) crew. The touring show is a dance show with this season's winners 'Supercr3w', last season's winners 'JabbaWockeeZ' and some of this season's non-winners (including Fanny Pak).

I decided to leave my camera at home, expecting to find the usual 'no cameras, no recording devices' rule.. WRONG ! There were cameras galore and fans filming the event to their heart's content.. a sea of small camera phone screens lit up the seats in front of me. This is true viral marketing at work. All of their friends will be seeing the videos and the buzz will propagate. Contrast this with my attempt to get a picture of an Operatic Soprano Diva (Anna Netrebko) at a recital some years ago. I wanted to share the thrill of the experience with some of my overseas work colleagues. The concert hall staff descended on me and demanded that I erase the picture.. You guys just don't get it. I could've generated more buzz and fans for her if you'd let me indulge my enthusiasm ! You think that you're protecting something and maintaining it's value, but what you're really doing is strangling it of life. My overseas friends will probably never go and hear her sing, because they haven't felt the buzz !

Speaking of enthusiasm the ABDC crowd was a screaming mass of youthful enthusiasm. Some of them didn't even seem to be interested in the dancing, they were enthused just to be there in the same space as their idols. Reminds me of scenes of old Beatle concerts full of screaming fans (music ? what music ? It's Paul ! aghhhhhhhhh). This bodes well for the future of dancing I think !

p.s. In one number one of the ladies (from A.S.I.I.D. (And So It Is Done) ?) danced a number while almost entirely on the tips of her toes, 'En Pointe', Nicely done !