Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Partying at QSRV

Spent the weekend in Quebec City at QSRV (Quebec Swing Rendez-Vous). Had a mixed experience there.

I was blessed with a fabulous host - Eric's brother and his fiancee are fabulous people who welcomed me and Rob into their home and fed us well and had exceedingly comfortable beds to sleep in. Couldn't ask for a better situation in that regard.

The classes were pretty good - some were fantastic and some were just okay, as I like some of the instructors better than others. It was a bit tricky due to the combination of having different levels and having different types of dances. If you focus on one dance, then making people register for a particular level has meaning. When you add a couple of other dances into the mix, you've got pretty good odds that not all of your "intermediate 2 Lindy Hop dancers" are actually going to be intermediate balboa dancers, or intermediate shag dancers. The result was that I didn't really get much new in Bal or Shag, and that was disappointing to me.

I have mixed feelings about the parties too. It seems a bit unfair to design a party where you dont' get to really start social dancing until 2 in the morning, and then schedule the classes for 10am. The Imperial was a beautiful venue, but didn't really seem to have enough dance space for all of the people who were attending, and I didn't like the effect of having the dance space divided onto three levels (especially since one level abutted onto the bar, making it an exceedingly uncomfortable place to dance, with all of the people wandering by). There was plenty of space to leave your drinks and sweaters and shirts and breathmints and whatnots up on the balcony... but that meant you had to climb a set of stairs every time you wanted one of those things.

And the bands! They were accomplished bands, but they played 6 minute songs! All the time! No instrumental song is interesting enough to last 6 minutes - and especially not when it is at a very fast tempo - which the vast majority of them were! How can I dance with all the people at the party when each song lasts 6 minutes? Not to mention the discomfort when I realize I've selected someone to dance with that I'm having trouble following, or who seems not to be having fun dancing with me...

And the competitions took up a large portion of both evenings. I'm proud of myself for having competed in the fast strictly (just for the experience - I just wanted to get over the nerves of doing it for the first time), but they took too much time.

The sad thing is that a large part of these problems could have been solved by opening up the lounge first thing in the evening. Have the lounge be the short songs, medium paced, DJ'd environment for the medium dancers in the crowd, and let there be more floor space for those who wanted to dance at the insane pace of the band. Once the lounge opened with blues music at 2am, the dance got to be a lot more enjoyable.

Not that it bothered me, but it would have been nice to have a place to buy snacks - if you are going to keep going until 5am you need some calories outside of alcohol to fuel that activity.

However, I had good company the whole weekend, and had lots of good food at various Quebec City restaurants, so that was nice.

Would I go back? I'm not sure. If I did, I'd have to plan it differently. I can't even remotely survive on four hours of sleep a night, so I'd have to plan to skip some classes, or not bother showing up to the dance until midnight, or some such, so that I could get enough sleep. I think for next year I'll be checking the band and the venue, to see if it looks like things'll be different, before I make my decision.

The Battle of the Plains by itself was almost worth the price of admission - they had three teams battling it off for the "championship" - from Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City - and it was a great spectacle, with lots of aerials and formations, and attitude back and forth between the teams. Well worth watching, and enough to make me want to learn more aerials!!!!

So that was my weekend. Of course, I got back and was very sick on Monday - too much stress from the weekend getting my immune system down, I think. I'm going to have to learn to plan vacation days after travelling weekends. Or at least vacation mornings.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sauce for the goose!

So, I buy the argument that as a black kid in a Toronto school, you are taught a whole bunch of Eurocentric history/culture, and that gives you no model for succeeding as a black person. I buy the argument that our schools should be teaching about the successes of black people, and also should be teaching black history and culture and so on.

Why on earth would we want to remove the black kids from our school system in order to do that? Isn't it just as important for the rest of us to know about black history and success and culture and so on? I want my future children to know about the history and successes of all the peoples of the world. In today's global society it is important that we all have knowledge of and respect for a huge variety of cultures and traditions!

And not the pansy kind of knowledge that involves celebrating 80 holidays of 10 various cultures every year. I mean solid information on the history and accomplishments and cultural values of people around the world. That's what we should be striving for in our educational system, not separating out the various cultures and teaching them separately.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is it one or the other?

Start writing in the journal, stop writing in the blog?

I don't see why that should be the case, but perhaps it is.

In which case I'd better keep this blog entry short, since I'm committed to the journal writing. It's going well so far, in that it only completely slipped my mind to even think of writing in the journal once this week.

However, I find myself curiously emotionally flat this week. I think I've been doing so much escaping in terms of the dance workshop and regular practice/classes, that I'm back out of touch with the anxiety I feel about my daily life.

It probably helped that I was actually busy at work this week, so my mind has been engaged during work hours.

Now, if only I could be actively happy, instead of flat or anxious!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My lonely journal

I finally got around to cracking open my journal yesterday to write in it. Flipping to the last entry, I discovered that I hadn't written in it since December 14th.

What have I been thinking?

It's not like failing to write down what is happening in my life is going to make it stop happening!

And no matter how busy I am, life is improved when I take the time to examine my feelings and write about them.

Therefore, I am resolved to make myself write in my journal every day without fail until I get back in the habit.

Hold me to this, internets!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Back to Reality

Well, Christmas break is over, once again. The new year has arrived and it's time for us all to run smack dab into the reality of our lives.

Every time I've sat down to write at this blog lately, I've been feeling very negative, and so I haven't written anything. However, if I keep that trend up you may never hear from me, so this time I will write anyway.

Clearly I need to make some changes. So many, in fact, that I don't know where to begin (even though, realistically, I have begun, by buying a townhouse and changing my living situation). Must pick a place and get started.

On a more positive note, I did enjoy many parts of my Christmas break. Highlights included:
- a rib roast dinner to die for
- yummy waffles made with butter on Christmas morning (so tasty you don't need to put anything else on them)
- an evening of dinner and music spent with a new dance friend
- an evening of dinner and dancing spent with an old dance friend, who unfortunately is leaving for China in a few days
- a fabulous New Year's celebration featuring turkey dinner, Clue, bridge, good wine, good port, chocolate pie!, and most importantly good friends :-)
- did I mention all of the time spent with good friends?

I also got some stuff done around the apartment, and unpacked nearly everything except the office. So that was all good.

And I just know that 2008 is going to be better than 2007 - maybe not immediately in the living of it, but in the outcome, I feel certain it's going to be a better year.

And I trust it will be good for all you out there too :-)