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Last Visit 2014-08-31 17:18:51 |Start Date 2007-04-01 15:09:25 |Comments 9,694 |Entries 1,006 |Images 1,400 |Sounds 30 |SWF 1 |Videos 219 |Mobl 27 |

Category: dance

02/12/11 03:16- ID#53594

I just did a baby-freeze

in breakdancing class with Shane "b-boy Depree" Fry today.

I was in suspended animation floating in an orbit around Uranus. That, and I have somewhat sore elbows.

Words: 31
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/12/11 03:16

Category: dance

02/11/11 10:48- ID#53592

Salsa PMT-style

First there was the Cuban on1
Then there was the NYC on2
And now, there is the one and only Buffalo onPMT...

Words: 24
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/12/11 11:26

Category: dance

02/11/11 02:36- ID#53587

Virabhadrasana III

I can't hold this pose for more than 3 seconds rooted on my right foot but I can hold it for 2 minutes or more rooted on my left.

And, in a rinse-and-repeat of old news, I am still super-clumsy in the intermediate salsa class. I am just not fierce enough. Anyone know of extreme bare-hands/knife street-fighting classes in the city? I vaguely remember seeing a small sign quietly saying "extreme"-something between the Chinese eatery and the tattoo place on the west-sidewalk in the block between Utica and Bryant on Elmwood. Wonder what it was...
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Words: 97
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/11/11 02:51

Category: i-tech

02/09/11 06:13- ID#53577

Computing frustrations

I just need a computing platform to perform many operations (~2000) on a small dataset in a reasonable amount of time without dragging my system to a standstill every time. Is that too much to ask? Apparently, it is. The options I have are dismal.

- Get a computing account at UB's center for computational research. This is easier said than done. There is so much bureaucratic red-tape and craziness involved in just getting a puny account that it makes sense at this point to accept that I will never be able to use their resources.

- Buy a laptop that will run linux and then R on top of it efficiently utilizing all the processing cores and the memory. This is a difficult proposition because R doesn't utilize all cores natively. It's a pain to figure out how to set up linux to utilize all cores with R and make the processing efficient - with my minimal level of expertise. So I am stuck with a spiked up CPU load and system freezes every time I run an analyses. Should I be spending close to $1.5k for such misery. In the end, maybe I will have to.

- Get a mac. NO. Their hardware is appalling. They get away with such mediocrity because of their sheep fanboy base that is blind to the fact that their hard-drives and memory fail with the frequency of a rainstorm in an Amazon forest. I like well-functioning software but if I have to be queuing up at some service center (however fanciful its name) for repairs or replacements every few months, I don't think I will ever wander close to such a product.

I wish things were not this complicated.
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Words: 286
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/09/11 06:15

Category: music

02/07/11 11:24- ID#53567

Love Love Love

Can anyone be more perfect? She is like my fairy godmother in blue silk!!!

An early valentine to the one and only...

Roses are red
Your dress is blue
I love you, Celia Cruz.

You may be no more
But everyday you soar
Into my life, into my dreams
Make me dance till I split my seams

(PS: I really need that sewing machine..)
(Hem those jeans meant for a lanky teen)
(Okay, that was not part of this homage)
(But surely you can skip this part of the page)

Much love,

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Words: 96
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/07/11 11:29

Category: music

02/06/11 11:28- ID#53563

Poe(try) in metal

The Raven is one of my most favourite heavy metal tunes (with some really awesome guitar riffs by Manni Schmidt) but it never fails to crack me up. Talk about condensing the essence of a long-drawn out poem in just five lines.

Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Raven" reads:
Once upon a midnight dreary,
while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious
volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping,
suddenly there came a tapping,
(... he keeps hearing the tapping at the door and window. No one's at the door but he thinks he hears a whisper saying "Leonore", the death of whom he is mourning. And then a raven comes in through the window...)
For we cannot help agreeing
that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing
bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust
above his chamber door,
With such name as 'Nevermore.'

But Grave Digger transforms these verses into the completely insane fast-tracked more dramatic heavy metal version:

Once upon a midnight dreary
While I pondered weak and weary
Lost my wife named Leonore
An angel now for evermore
Thunder, lightning crushed the sky
A raven stood before my eye
Flew into the chambers door
When such name as Nevermore

I wouldn't use this summary for poetry appreciation class, though. There are some minor factual inaccuracies. The bird actually flies in through the window and then perches on the door. It couldn't possibly have been standing. Everyone knows birds can't "stand". Additionally, it can't have been "before my eye" or his eye, or whoever's eye (maybe, just maybe (e:KeithT)'s eye?) unless they were as tall as the door-frame, on which, the bird clearly perched. They don't get any of this this right. Oh, and there is no mention of a thunderstorm in the poem. And while Grave Digger seems to think that the raven "flies, seeks and destroys", the raven in the poem just sits there lazily squawking "Nevermore", while the main character imagines all sorts of things, goes loony and starts shouting stuff. And I don't think Leonore is the wife. I am more inclined to think of her as some sort of mistress who the main character murdered and as a result, is easily guilt-tripped by the limited-vocabulary inert raven. It's Poe, after all.

But don't let these discrepancies spoil your enjoyment of this kickass song

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Words: 421
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/08/11 12:06

Category: dance

02/06/11 02:37- ID#53559


I finally went to my first breakdancing (not equivalent to hip hop) class taught by Shane "Depree" Fry yesterday at Verve Studio. It was an overview class and we learnt a couple "top-rock" moves and a couple floor moves and how to transition from one to the other. I don't know if this is a positive sign or a sign that I didn't do it all correctly because I didn't feel any sore muscles after the class. Apparently, the class usually has a core-body workout which was not included yesterday.

In comparison with the Hip Hop yoga on Wednesday, it was a rather mild class. The Hip Hop yoga left me really sore. The muscles on the back of my legs felt like someone had accidentally run a heavy iron roller on them on Thursday morning.

I also chatted with Heather ((e:fellyconelly)'s boss. :-)) who runs the marketing aspect of Verve Studio. The studio is planning several new classes in March - Hatha Yoga, Hip Hop and Popping - all of which are extremely interesting to me. I am specially interested in the Hip Hop class. Unfortunately though, the Hip Hop and Popping classes are on Thursday nights - directly conflicting with my Salsa schedule.

Apparently, everyone else who has expressed an interest in these classes will only come on Thursday. Haven't they heard of the super fabulous salsa classes? Come to think of it, Tango classes in the city are also on Thursday nights. It's like a big conspiracy to make you pick a dance of choice - pretty annoying if you are interested in expanding your dancing repertoire without having to travel TENS of miles to some suburb in the boonies.

There is a positive and negative side to all these classes I am taking. Salsa is amazing because I am in love with the music and the dance is very refreshing. I have decided to just freestyle in the intermediate class when I don't feel like partner-dancing with any lead. Yoga is great because it allows me to reach that sense of balance I need for salsa. The breakdancing class is something completely new for me. Yesterday, Shane was teaching us a jazz/salsa inspired move called the "Charleston". It resembles the basic salsa step but does not involve alternate stepping with two feet. I just could not do it right and kept breaking into salsa-mode. I think I have developed some unconscious muscle memory with my salsa classes. So maybe it's a good thing that I retrain my muscles and keep them in the "un-memorized" state.

The negative aspect to all these classes is that I can't commit to any more social meet-ups or just non-essential stuff at all because I definitely need the non-class time exclusively for school work and research. Not that I had too many social commitments earlier but now I will just have to tell people that I have somewhere else to be... I suddenly seem to have an expanded non-school life.

Words: 505
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/06/11 10:14

Category: the odes

02/04/11 11:47- ID#53549


It's so tough to draw from memory when you have one as flawed as mine. I need to get her right eye perfect. I am totally missing her always slightly edgy eyebrow arch, her regal and tough demeanour, her beautiful stray curls, that dazzling self-assured grin and her royally perfect nose... Gaaaaah.

Oh, Mariposa, this is going to be a draft 1 of a take1000 kind of drawing...

Words: 69
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/05/11 02:35

Category: dance

02/04/11 09:24- ID#53547

Pa Pa (Du Du) Pa Pa Pa*(Du Du)

I am going to try and learn the moonwalk and how to spot the salsa rhythm this week. Quite strangely, they are very similar in nature though completely different on the surface. The prominent effect of each is just a facade to what is happening underneath.

There are actually several rhythms to the salsa all vying for attention. The most prominent is the cowbell racket, which serves as the metronome for the whole track.
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7 & 8 &. 1...

Following the law of contrariness, it is the least useful for dancing the salsa. The Conga and the Clave are perhaps the most useful for dancing. Their relation pretty much stays the same in most songs:

The conga is the muted low "DU DU" with the high "tu". In around 80% of the songs I have heard thus far, it sounds at:
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7 & 8 &.
1 & tu & 3 & DUDU & 5 & tu & 7 & DUDU

The Clave rhythm can be interpreted in two main ways (and I am sure, a million other ways). Simply, it's a beat that goes:
Pa Pa, Pa-Pa-Pa

In the west coast LA "On1" style (and in my class) we choose to hear the clave as a 2/3 Split:
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7 & 8 &.
1 & Pa & Pa & 4 & Pa & 6 Pa 7 & Pa &

But NYC chooses to hear the clave on a 3/2 split or the "On2" timing which is just the reverse of what the west coast does. So typical!
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7 & 8 &.
Pa & 2 Pa 3 & Pa & 5 & Pa & Pa & 8 &

Put together, all of it roughly sounds like:
Pa Pa DUDU Pa-Pa-Pa(DUDU) - LA "On1"
Pa-Pa-Pa(DUDU) Pa Pa DUDU - NYC "On2"

Isolating this thread of the conga/clave rhythm in the cacophony otherwise known as salsa is really quite complicated, especially with songs that have more instrumentation and variations than... well, a simple clave and conga struck together. The montuno or the piano melody is sometimes helpful because its repetition helps spotting the initial Pa Pa.

Altogether, all of this is driving me nuts... I was chanting the Pa Pa DUDU Pa-Pa-Pa DUDU all of today morning and realized that it was a good way to look like I had lost some marbles. I should have just added my moonwalk efforts to make it more dramatic and completely asylum-worthy.
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Words: 358
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/05/11 03:37

Category: dance

02/04/11 02:18- ID#53542

They are irresistible!

I stomped into class all ready to walk out after the beginner's class but could NOT pull myself away from the oh-so-cool steps that Sean and Sarah were teaching the intermediate class. Energy-beam Mariposa made it 5x more fun than it already was. As a result, I am still in both classes and danced every step of my way home today.

I still can't find the correct beat in the music, still can't do any body isolations and rolls and still can't follow intermediate steps. In spite of all these glitches, dancing with Sean and Sarah is probably my most favourite 2 hours in the 168 hours of the week. My spins are improving with the new shoes though.

What is it that these two have?
Magic? It certainly feels like it. I am so hopelessly in love with their classes :-)

PS: Come to Salsa for the Soul at Configuration Dance Studio (Lexington and Ashland) and experience pure salsa joy with Sean Ortiz and Sarah Hooper on Thursdays:
at 6:30 PM: For the rocket-launcher absolute beginner class.
at 7:00 PM: For the advanced beginner super fun class.
at 8:00 PM: For the intermediate insanely creative class.

Words: 195
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/04/11 08:22



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sina said to sina

sina said to paul
this place really is beautiful
I love to be there.
Incidentally, the photos are so beautiful...

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wow haaapppyyy birthday dear terry
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happy birthday to you dear mike
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