Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You first

I know that there are recreational drugs that pass almost unchanged through the urine and thus can be recycled. I realize that space travel might require emergency backups. But now there's this

No, I don't believe everything I read.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ohio Star Ball coming up next week

If you like ballroom dancing, the place to be next week is in Columbus, Ohio. Yes, Columbus - the home of the Ohio Star Ball.

It's about as big a ballroom dance event as you'll ever see, and top pros from all over will be there. It's also the event they'll be taping to produce the latest edition of "America's Ballroom Challenge" for PBS.

The event goes on for days, starting out with people as incompetent as me (I was there in 2004 doing standard, rhythm, and smooth) and leading to Friday and Saturday night with the best of the best.

If you've been watching "Dancing with the Stars" you might get the wrong idea about what a competition is like. Amateur women never compete with amateur men. Nobody knows the music in advance. Only the top pros do the stunts like jumping over one another or sliding around on the floor - for the rest of us it's a no-no. Several sets of dancers are on the floor at the same time and you're subject to running into them, especially during the smooth and standard events, and how you deal with this (floorcraft) is considered in your score.

For big events like this one the earlier heats will be going two at a time on the same floor with very little time in between, and event staff are busy distributing and collecting scoresheets from the judges. If you want to see scores you'll have to wait until the staff compiles and posts them. If you'd like feedback from the judges, good luck - they've probably seen hundreds of people that day, and unless you compete regularly it's asking a lot of them to remember you (although if you go to a lot of competitions you'll see the same judges over and over - usually they're ex-pros). Every score I've ever seen was a rank among all of the dancers in your heat.

By now tickets will be available only at the door If I weren't several hundred miles from Columbus I'd be there.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Geek heaven

Or else Lego Mindstorms for grownups right here. Yep, just snap together some devices, write some code to tie it together and voila! The concept is terrific, now let's see how well they implement it.

No idea how much this will cost, but if it's remotely reasonable I'll have to have it just to play around with it.

Now we can't cough either

Now let's just suppose that you run a private business and you find out that people are having sex in your public bathroom. Just what can you do to make it stop? Really now, is it unreasonable to ask for people not to have sex in your store? Is it unreasonable to get the cops involved?

For those who like to shout "homophobia!", I'm guessing that Sears wouldn't have liked it if straights were getting it on there either.

Unless some marketing wizard determined that it improved sales, anyway. What do you expect from a place that advertises pants half off?

And what's wrong with the dressing rooms, anyway? A couple of weeks ago a sitcom had a couple about to get amorous in one when they heard a discouraging voice from the next stall. But there was a moral after all - they did eventually go and get a room

Is there some etiquette involved when one encounters public sex? Is it polite to use the bathroom per design when others are so encumbered? Or does it just add to an ambience they're seeking?

I once lived in an apartment that was alone the top of a stairwell. One day I came up the stairs to find a partly undressed and fully excited couple just outside my door. We saw each other and thus had to address a situation that probably never occurred to Miss Manners.

I wonder what they were thinking at that moment. Perhaps they blushed - they were black so I couldn't tell. Perhaps they considered inviting me to join them. If so, would it have been ungracious/racist/homophobic/illiberal of me to decline?

As for me, I suppose I could have stepped over them and acted like it was something that happened to me every day. Instead I said "I'll be back in 15 minutes", turned around and left. When I returned they were gone and I never saw them again.

Maybe the public restroom incident wasn't well handled. But really, why the hell do we have to tell people not to have sex in public areas?

There's a right way for everything

Some people give wife beating a bad name. Here's how to do it right.