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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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Permalink: Love_Love_Love.html
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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Permalink: Poe_try_in_metal.html
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.
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Permalink: Breakdancing.html
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...
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Permalink: Mariposa.html
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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Permalink: Pa_Pa_Du_Du_Pa_Pa_Pa_Du_Du_.html
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.
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Permalink: They_are_irresistible_.html
Words: 195
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/04/11 08:22

Category: dance

02/03/11 02:16 - ID#53536

Sin clave no hay son

I went to Hip Hop Yoga at Hand to Heart Yoga with Erin today. It was a very interesting experience and not at all what I thought it might be. By yoga standards, it was a very intense and very aerobic one hour. I don't know where it stands by hip hop standards. I will probably take a sample class of real hip hop at Verve this Saturday afternoon and report back.

I broke out into quite a sweat. Some of the exercises pushed the isotonic limits of my puny muscles and I could actually feel my muscle fibres and bundles twitching out of sheer disuse. Maybe this is what Neo felt like in the first Matrix movie before he learnt to fly 60 minutes later. But everyone knows that only happens on celluloid. Because 60 minutes later, in real life, I bought swiss cheese slices and ate it on toast. I really like swiss cheese. It has a whopping 20% calcium and 8g protein in one serving.

I also love Celia Cruz.
And I sorely, no, make that VERY SORELY missed her during the class. My muscles probably ached for her because I didn't dig the soundtrack to my exertions so much. I am not sure what the other yogis in class thought. Quite inexplicably, all of them were named "Sarah". Not that replication of names has anything to do with musical tastes... The point is, for me, without Celia's clave, everything was slightly off tune...


Apart from reservations about the music selection, I really liked the class today. I am not entirely sure if it's hip hop, though. It could be... but to my untrained senses, it seemed more like a hybrid of yoga and aerobic dance. I will go again next Wednesday and see if my muscle endurance has improved any. Meanwhile, I am going to have to increase my consumption of egg whites and cheese if I keep up with all this dancing and hurrying about in knee-deep snow. Not an entirely unpleasant side-effect... :-)

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Permalink: Sin_clave_no_hay_son.html
Words: 342
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/03/11 02:19

Category: the odes

01/31/11 09:30 - ID#53526

Feeling of teeth falling out

I somehow drank a lot of chinese loose-leaf green tea today. By "a lot", I really mean A LOT - close to a litre or more. I didn't stop there. I went ahead and ate all the leaves as well because they tasted pretty good at that time - a flavour-packed cross between kale, spinach and mesclun. Their total packed volume equaled around 8 ounces (half my generous tea mug).

I shouldn't have.

Now my teeth feel as if they are about to fall out. It's not a dream. They really feel like they are doing one of those synchronized-in-a-row rockette kicks and getting ready to pop out, any moment now. It's not painful but it's such a peculiar floaty feeling - localized to the gums.

I am now wondering what chemical in those leaves has produced such a potent alteration of perception. I am just a bit curious if anyone else has had such an experience. But then, maybe I am being too optimistic about there being people out there who have actually downed a liter of green tea and eaten all the leaves after that.

I just hope they don't really fall out. I can't deal with being toothless tomorrow.

On a side note, searching for "teeth falling out" on google images brings up a video-chat still of (e:paul) and (e:lilho) labeled "lilhowithbandwidthleprosy1090". 6th row from the top:

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Permalink: Feeling_of_teeth_falling_out.html
Words: 258
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/01/11 04:57

Category: music

01/30/11 03:40 - 24.ºF - ID#53516

Besamé en la boca

I posted the live salsa version of this earlier but I couldn't bear to listen to Chemaney going off-tune and murdering the Ricardo Montaner melody. It may have been great in his album but his live version annoyed the hell out of me. And the flamenco dancer was creepy and his jeans were ridiculous.

So here is the much-loved original.

Since I criticized Chemaney's ludicrous jeans, I feel it's unfair of me if I don't even comment on that beach-shot cover of Montaner's album. That has got to be the fake-est beach-shot ever, don't you think? He is sitting IN the water but his trousers are completely dry with the waves splashing all around him. What did they take Montaner's listeners for? Blind?

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Permalink: Besam_en_la_boca.html
Words: 125
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/31/11 10:34

Category: eating in

01/30/11 01:59 - 22.ºF - ID#53515

Papaya Plot

I developed a crazy craving for papayas over the past couple weeks and luckily found that they sell fabulous Caribbean Reds from Belize at Pricerite for $1.29/lb.


I couldn't resist and grabbed three big ones off the display and dragged them back to my lair yesterday evening. As a result, I am now sitting here with Bengay for some miserably strained deltoid muscles and a particularly awesome salad of cubed papaya with a lime juice and black pepper garnish.

I say, fair trade.

PS: I am SO glad pricerite came to roost downtown. You can't imagine how inconvenient it was to take a bus all the way to Wegmans for things I couldn't get at Guercio's and then wait in the cold for the bus back. I remember walking back with my cart (because there was no bus for nearly 40 minutes) a couple times, Both times, I had 2 gallons of milk spoil on me the next day because of the 80 minute-break in refrigeration. Also, I don't like the price-mark-up at Weggers. It may be fancy looking and all spiffy but I don't think it's good practice to increase prices of produce and keep prices of sugary stuff and baked-goods low because it encourages poor eating habits in the population.

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Permalink: Papaya_Plot.html
Words: 212
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/30/11 02:18



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mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

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OMG welcome!...

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New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...