Monday, March 31, 2008

Dance lessons for shy men - by Grrrbear

Over the weekend the GF and I attended the wedding of my stepbrother and his lovely fiance (now wife, obviously). It was a *fab* wedding. Really beautiful space, short and sweet ceremony, really fun and interesting people in attendance, and dancing.

The last one in particular was of note for two reasons. First, the GF *lurves* dancing. So much so that she will travel with me hundreds of miles and put up with being delayed in the airport twice* in order to participate. And for some reason she likes dancing with me too. I've never really understood this strange obsession with dancing with me...until this weekend.

You see, apparently I don't suck at dancing. Now I've always done well for myself in my various dance classes, but those were mostly ballroom and swing classes I took way back in undergrad. But at this wedding I had numerous dudes come up to me asking whether I was a) some sort of professional dancer or b) a regular in the club scene. Obviously, I am neither. But apparently I look like both so in the interest of sharing with the world I will now present:

  1. Move your feet - This sounds simple enough, but appearing like you can dance is actually somewhat related to learning how to be a decent drummer - you have to learn how to operate all your apppendages at the same time. No matter how good your moves are, the ladies will notice if your feet are bolted to the ground like the mighty oak. And while women like oak** as a building material, they generally avoid it as a dance partner so pick up one foot and then put it down somewhere else. And then repeat with the other foot. Bonus points for doing it in time with the music, but one step at a time friend...
  2. Move your hips - The second most important part of dancing, but one that many dudes are leery about for little else than the irrational "I don't want to look like I'm gay" fear But here's the thing - the ladies on the dance floor know exactly what gay looks like and you, dude, are not it. They have been to the Manhole on multiple occasions with their girlfriends because it's where they can dance without getting hit on. Of course, that it also the reason the gays don't go there anymore either but that's a whole other post. The important thing is that if you don't move your hips when you dance, then your ass doesn't move while you dance. And your ass moving is what they want to see, remember? Nothing draws women in like a moth to a flame like man who knows how to move his ass. It doesn't have to fly all over the place like you're hip-checking an opposing defenseman into the boards, but just enough to be noticed.
  3. Never repeat the same move more than 4 times in a row - This is a more subtle point. Many dudes at a dance have one move which they repeat over and over again. Think the meathead with the pooka shell necklace who you saw doing "The Spinkler" over a nd over again at the last wedding you went to - remember how all the ladies at your table were laughing about him to themselves? It's because they know that if a dude is that uncreative on the dance floor, he's likely to be that uncreative in get the picture. Giving yourself a 4X limit on a particular step not only forces you to mix things up, but it also give you enough time to invent some new stuff. Go ahead and try something, even if it's just spinning around once or twice a la Michael Jackson*** - it will be duly noted and appreciated by the ladies.
  4. Finally, you have to keep in mind the shoulder rule. It's not really a "rule" though, more of a guideline. Remember the unwritten rule about how men don't raise their arms above their shoulders while they are dancing? Ever wondered why that doesn't apply to women? The answer is simple - women can dance all night with their arms above their heads because it draws attention to their boobs which is the reason they do it. But men don't have boobs, so us raising our arms above the shoulder line doesn't accomplish as much as it does for the ladies****. But it *can* be a useful weapon of surprise! Just when you get a lady's attention with your foot-movin', butt-shakin' repertoire of more than four moves, throwing in a move or two with your arms raised high accomplishes two things: it makes you appear confident***** and it lets you take advantage of their being distracted by the sudden movement to take advantage of that low-cut top they are wearing to (subtly) check out their decollatage.
Of course, you might get caught in the fourth point. But it's not a big issue because they already know you're going to look anyway - heck it's why they wore the top in the first place. As long as you can dance (or appear to), they'll probably let it slide. So get out there any enjoy yourselves! As Mr Rourke said on Fantasy Island - "Smiles everybody, smiles!"

*True story - on both the flight out (mechanical issues) and the return trip last night (apparently, there were clouds...IN THE AIR!). This was naturally on the day after my trip to Detroit where the flight back was also 3-4 hours late. I'm cursed.
** Particularly furniture, I hear
*** Sans crotch-grabbing - that'll just turn you into a bad impressionist wannabe
**** Unless you're a gay man, in which case you can dance as long as you want with your arms over your head because for gay men - there are no rules when it comes to dancing.
***** "Wow, he just raised his arms, he is either incredibly confident or a professional dancer!" - either way you win.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quickie - Off to a wedding, but...

I'm in the Twin Cities this weekend for a wedding, but I have too many readers in science *not* to post this picture.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what happens when we cut science funding for schools. Sigh...

Mad credit to Grrrlscientist here for the original posting

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cut & Run

I'm In the office for only a few hours today before jetting off for a bunch of super-important stuff the rest of this week. This afternoon I'm off to watch the GF work on a super-cool project for her job. Tomorrow I fly to Detroit for a business trip. And Friday the GF and I leave for my stepbrother's wedding for the weekend. Come to think of it, next week I'm travelling to LA for much of the week for more work stuff.

So the bad news is that I'm still somewhat blog-restricted for lack of time, but the good news is that with a wedding and two business trips coming up, I'm pretty much guaranteed to have a couple good stories to share once I do find some blog-time.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Quickie - In the interest of updating content

I found a neat widget for blogs - the Uniqlok! Those of you taking a gander at the little clock to the left of this post will no doubt find the dancing Japanese girls fun and all, but most importantly, they dance in time to whatever time it is, each beat taking exactly one second.

Honestly, I find the music kinda kewl, but I can understand how it might be a little much for folks with speakers at work. Opinions? Should the music stay or go?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cough, hack, sniffle...

There are many great things about finding the love of your life. You always have someone who listens to you when you have a bad day, who will run your head when you have a headache, and who will sometimes make dinner for you without asking.

Which is all well and good, but you also find yourself facing some of the not-so-great parts like passing the same cold back and forth as the GF and I have been doing for the past week. And man does it suck. I've been fighting off some version of this cold for two weekends in a row and I'm only just now starting to feel right. But I'm better off than the GF - poor thing, she's been sick, gotten better, and then got sick again twice already.

Naturally, I blame myself and my delinquent immune system.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A moment of personal growth

After nearly ten years, I finally decided it was time to retire my suit. Yes, that suit that I wore to all major events I attended for the last decade was running out of time. Or at least in my case, running out of room in the waist*. Mercifully, just about the time I made this decision Macy's decided to have a huge sale on men's suits. So I was able to go in and buy *two* suits for about 20% less than I paid for my one suit ten years ago**.

But I made one mistake when I arrived at the store - I didn't find the men's suits section on my own, but instead, asked for direction when I was in the general area. What I failed to remember is that when you are in the "men's suit suburbs" those salesfolks will take advantage of any opportunity to score the commission on men's suits. Even on sale, they are a good chunk of change. The woman who's trap I fell into was more than happy to direct me to the men's suits, and was very friendly. But I became suspicious when she began to say that every single suit I was looking at looked "Great!", occasionally coupled with an "Oh that is beautiful fabric". Even the Kenneth Cole suit I tried on where the bottom of the jacket flared out like a skirt.

So I eventually just started saying "No" to everything she brought over that *I* didn't like. This included two "house" brands with vaguely italian-sounding names. I had an issue with the labels, which read "[House Brand Name] exclusively for Macy's". I mean, I get the whole generic/store brand label thing. Sometimes, I think it makes a lot of sense***, but for men's fashions, it makes me think of a vintage 1970's leisure suit I bought for a 70's party when I lived in Cleveland****. I bought it with a buddy of mine, who bought a different suit...which had a label which read...

"[House Brand Name] exclusively for JCPenny"

It was so silly that we spent most of the party making fun of the idea of anything JCPenny being "exclusive". So Naturally I couldn't possibly buy the house branded suits. Finally I ended up making my own way back and picking out a nice gray Calvin Klein and an even nicer black Hugo Boss. Even if these suits last me for the rest of my days, at least nobody will make fun of my suits after I'm dead and they're buying my clothes for a "2000's" theme party.

Still, I'm pretty proud of myself. I did it all with only a single, semi-panicked phone call to the GF. I seriously considered sending her cell phone pics for evaluation, but I figured that would probably cost me man-points.

** And think, that was in 1998 dollars!
*** Archer Farms, anyone?
**** Which, come to think of it, probably doesn't fit anymore either...sigh...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I hate when my t-shirts go stale

Last week, I stopped by Target to pick up some new undershirts. Because I'm pretty much the definition of "medium size" I struggled to find enough of the regular t-shirts to replace my stock. So I was forced to buy a couple sets of the Hanes "premium" shirts. As far as I can tell, the only difference between them is that the premium shirts come in bags of three, while regular shirts come in packs of five.

But perhaps the most fascinating difference was in the packaging:

Yup. This package of shirts comes in a "resealable bag". You know, because sometimes you only need to use one shirt but want to keep the other two fresh until they're needed.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Quickie - Hyphens *do* matter people!

Dear Nowpublic,

I realize that you're all about "crowd powered media", so the author of this may be a 10-year old with no sense of grammar. But there's a big difference between "resigns" and "re-signs".

Just an FYI.

Grrrbear the Grammar Nazi

(Link to full article here)

And I'm even a member already

My local NPR pledge "week" ends this afternoon and frankly, I cannot be more glad. I've been a member of public radio for almost 10 years now and while I recognize the need for pledge drives, I also get so tired of them. And this last one went even longer than usual (or at least it felt like it). Maybe it's because everything else on "regular" radio is either crap or commercials. But it didn't used to be like that. I distinctly recall being able to switch to commercial radio during previous pledge weeks and actually hearing music, but that's not happened this time. It's all been annoying morning shows and commercials and bad music and more commercials. Now I'm beginning to understand why people buy satellite radio.

The GF and I went to the Orchestra last night. It was nice, but very long. There are two ways to see the orchestra in Chicago: indoors at Orchestra Hall (during the fall through spring) and outdoors at their summer home at Ravinia in the northern suburbs. I've experienced both, and honestly I have to admit that I *much* prefer the latter. There's something much more relaxing about being outside in regular clothes sitting on the lawn munching on cheese and crackers than sitting in a suit in rows of chairs with no legroom. I'll have to keep this in mind for future orchestral adventures.

Oh, and I need a new suit. I just realized that my current one has PLEATED FRONT PANTS! The horror...

Thank goodness Macy's is having a sale on suits this weekend.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Putting the "Grrr" in Grrrbear

I know I'm a little late on most things these days, but I just saw Hillary's "appearance" on the Daily Show Monday night. Boy, talk about uncomfortable. Not only was Jon clearly not excited about talking with her* but there was something not quote right about her whole appearance on the show...

Hmmm...what could it be I wonder?... Something vaguely sinister yet hilarious...

Oh yeah, I remember now!


Am I the only one who expected the first words out of her mouth to be "HARRO!"?

No doubt, she has a very "plecise and compricated pran" for how she's going to get John McCain elected president. Grrr...

* Made quite obvious by his comment about the bored looks on the staged "youthful" crowd obviously chained to chairs behind her while their parents were held at gunpoint just off screen.
** Apologies for the poor quality, but this is the best screen cap I could make off the easily available video clips on the web. But if you've seen Team America, you know what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I *wish* I could vote again...

For some reason, over the last couple weeks I've been getting numerous phone calls from the Obama campaign, apparently convinced that despite my Chicago-area Area Code I actually still reside in Cleveland. In fact, I had two voice mails from Barack himself this afternoon when I got home! That's devotion people, I can imagine him now sitting at a desk with the Cleveland-area phone directory dialing number by number in an attempt to get out the vote. To think, I could have actually chatted him up for a few minutes. Damn Chicago traffic!

I am getting a little depressed about all the talk I'm hearing from the Hillary camp about going on after tonight, no matter what the results. Whereas last month even her husband was saying she needed big wins in both Texas and Ohio to stay in, now she's saying that a slight win in Ohio and a "not too terrible" loss in Texas is a sign that momentum is changing. And the longer she stays in, attacking Obama, the more polarized democratic voters will be. So by the time of the convention, no matter who actually wins the other side will be so upset that "their" candidate lost that they'll either not vote at all or vote for McCain in a fit of pique.

How do I know this? Because I find myself thinking about whether I could vote for Hillary should she "win" the nomination and I honestly don't know whether I could. In fact, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't. But I don't like McCain either. So I find myself stuck in a situation where I'm basing my choice on which candidate I loathe the least? Man, that would suck.

Hillary. For the love of God. Please stop this insanity and do America a favor. Even if you win the nomination, you won't win the race.

After all, Elmo seems equally disinterested in both...

I have a hard time believing that Elmo was traumatized by Katy Perry's decollatage after discovering that he had already "been arou...