Sunday, October 31, 2004

That, ladies and gentlemen, was an unusually satisfying Gaskell's. A Gaskell's of unusual satisfaction. Satisfying, in an unusual way. You know, it's funny that I should have two dance posts in a row up here, given the number of times I've tried to post about Starsiege 2845 (my computer game project, for those of you who don't follow that sort of thing) or the hostage situations in Iraq, or something like that. Don't highlight posts in the Blogger editor with shift+page up. Bad things happen.

But seriously, I just had to post about the Halloween Gaskell's. Lots and lots of fun. Dancing at Gaskell's is always a bit of a challenge, but I really like going for the people. I was thinking of not going tonight, and vaguely worried that I'd find the whole thing disconcerting given what happened at the last Halloween Gaskell's, but I figured it'd be a while before the next dance event so I'd better go, lest I feel deprived later. After getting hideously lost, I made it in halfway through the second set.

And was promptly picked up by a young vampire who said I looked like I wanted to polk. Which I did. This was the beginning of the good night. Even though Gaskell's doesn't have dance cards, I love being in a setting which lets me set my dances up. For one thing it makes me feel wanted. For another it makes me feel dashing. For a third it facilitates flirting, with vampires and others. Oddly enough, I flirt way more at Gaskell's than I do at Friday Night Waltz or Jammix. Maybe it's the faux Victorian air.

Now, ever since my encounter with Zydeco, I've been a little wary of this whole flirting thing. I should reiterate at this point that my definition of "flirting" is a little broad - I'm sure it encompasses your definition of flirting, but your definition may or may not encompass things like smiling charmingly//politely at a young lady or holding a door open. Mine does. Anyway, I'm not about to say that flirting should be avoided at all times in all contexts, but I am beginning to suspect that there's more danger to this flirting for fun business than I had previously thought. Or maybe I was always cognizant of the danger and I'm just more susceptible to it now that I'm older. Who knows. Anyway, I'm very fond of Zydeco and I wish she wasn't in New York so that I could cross-step with her, but she certainly taught me that.

That said, one of the things I love most about dancing is the flirting. Now, mind, I do think I know how to dance without flirting, and I think I know how to dance in that liminal area which I call flirting and most people don't. I spend the vast majority of my dancing time in those areas, and I have a blast doing it. But I really look forward to those few dances where I can really flirt. Dangerous? Well, sometimes. There's flirting, you know, and then there's flirting, and I don't think you need to defraud a girl to dance flirtatiously the way I'm talking about, and here's why.

It's the communication. I love//need to communicate - to share, to project, to put myself out there - but normally I do it with words. Dancing flirtatiously lets me do it with movement, with touch, with looks and expressions, and with music. There's something wonderfully thrilling about feeling two personalities simmering, straining to bridge the space between bodies. There was an awful lot of that tonight.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Probably the best prayer times I have at Stanford are walking back after a dance event. This is, by the way, why I will always turn you down if you offer to drive me back after a Jammix or something. There is something profound about walking slowly back through the diamond cold, murmuring adoration under my breath and lifting my supplications to heaven in a low, quiet voice. Especially when the moon and the stars are out - the stars which stand for here, this singular orbit of my life, and the bright moon which is the enduring and personal symbol of God's love for me.

Tonight was wonderful, after a hard day. I got to dance an awful lot with the Tech Director and White Jade, and the TD and I even got singled out to exhibit our hungroise. Dancing with both those girls is awful fun and is kind of flattering, but that wasn't really why tonight was so great. Like I said, it was a hard day.

But at night, the moon was full and bright.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Because I've been so hard to get hold of, I am going to come close to violating blogging policy and post about what I do all day.

My day begins at 0750 when my alarm goes off. At approximately 0806 (that is, two snooze buttons after the alarm goes off) I get out of bed and get ready for school. Breakfast consists of a 16 oz. Jamba Juice for approximately $3, and I get to my first class roughly ten minutes early.

Class begins at ten till nine, and proceeds until 1140 each day, when I go to lunch with the Duelist at El Cuadro. At approximately 1230 I have returned to my room. If I am feeling responsible, my self-discipline is sufficiently fortified, and/or temptation is sufficiently low, then I open up my books and start reading cases. If not, I am liable to play a few turns of Rome: Total War. More on Rome later; it deserves a game post.

At 1410 every day except Thursday and Friday I return to the law school for more class. On Mondays and Wednesdays I'm done with class at 1540; on Tuesday I'm done at 1710; and on Thursday and Friday I'm done at 1140. Once class is over I open my books and read cases, taking small breaks to play games or what have you that generally don't last more than an hour to two hours total per day. Ideally I begin getting ready for bed at 2200 so that I have time to read the Bible (I'm currently reading in Acts) and Honor Harrington. The goal is to be in bed by 2300, though sometimes that whole ritual gets pushed back an hour. Then I sleep until about 0750, when my alarm goes off.

Weekends I have an Honordate at Pizza My Heart for lunch, and sometimes for dinner as well. Saturdays are half-work days, meaning I sleep in and take longer breaks, but Monday's reading must be done by the end of Saturday. Sundays are I get up at 0730 to go to The River's 0900 service. Every other Sunday I will now be going to brunch and prayer at ... you know, I still don't have a good blogname for them. But they're important people. Then I have a few hours of sabbath before the 1930 conference call to touch base on Starsiege 2845 stuff, after which it is usually about 2200 and time to begin the ritual of going to bed.

It's not a bad life, seeing as I enjoy going to classes and so long as I'm alert and awake (read: well rested) my cases are all very interesting things to read. When I am not alert and awake things become drastically less fun, so sleep is important. It is stressful of course, but as Dad pointed out there are other, worse costs to living a life of leisure. I don't have as much time to play as I'd like, and I feel like I get very little recharge time, but I suppose that is one of the things I am here to learn how to cope with. Whether I worked at law or some other profession in the future, there would doubtless be precious little time to conquer the ancient world and so forth.

Every other Friday there's some sort of dance going on, which I can go to because it's permissible to sleep in on Saturdays. Wednesdays at 2000 and Thursdays at 1900 I have dance classes, all but one of which is lots and lots of fun. Wednesdays I do History of the Waltz, which is fun because I finally get to take it and because sometimes I get to dance with the Tech Director. Thursdays I have beginning waltz & swing with the Duelist, which is fun because I like dancing with people who are just getting into dance. I also have a west coast swing class, which is super fun because west coast swing is new and novel to me and yet way cool. The only real deficiency in the class is that not enough country is played. However, perhaps I will now feel more comfortable going to the Saddlerack, which like all clubs has its foibles but is overall an enjoyable experience. It makes a big difference to one's clubgoing experience, I've discovered, if one actively likes the music that gets played.

The only dance class that I'm taking which isn't super fun is this "fusion rumba" class that goes between beginning waltz & swing and west coast. Richard has said that rumba is now going to be a regular part of Jammix, which kind of baffles me. Is this a concession to the off-campus people who come? Is it in response to some perceived desire for more rumba? I don't know. I've discovered though that my major gripe with the class so far is the songs that get played. There are a lot of "nightclub two steps" in my music collection that are arguably too fast for traditional two-step and fit rather into Richard's faster, smoother, fusion rumba category. It's just that they sound like two-step to me, and so I want to dance two-step to them. Well, the first Jammix is coming up so we'll see. If I'm lucky the Ballerina will be there and I can dance with her. That would be fun.

Speaking of dancing with people, I miss dancing with Esther Selene, Alanna, Chariessa, and Zydeco. There are lots of other people around here whom I enjoy dancing with a great deal, but it would be awfully fun to dance with them too and I miss dancing with them. I'm pretty sure only two of them read this, but still, let the record reflect.

If you've been paying attention to my away messages you'll note that Alanna (the Lioness, not the dancer) has figured prominently in the state of my online presence of late. This is because I am busy, and my life reminds me a lot of Alanna's right now. As my torts professor said, we are not given enough time to do everything we are asked. This is deliberate. It is to teach us how to manage our time under pressure, and how to get things done quickly. In that respect law school is a lot like training to be a knight.

And like training to be a knight, I am convinced that the benefit to be gained here is not actually the professional skills we're being taught. Those things are important, and I wouldn't be here if I didn't want them any more than Alanna would have been at Corus if she hadn't wanted to learn the martial arts. But more important than that is what is gained in the process of getting there. It is the intangible benefit that comes from reaching that critical point where you either spit in the eye of your training system or else let something die inside of you: the point where you say, "I can do this, and nothing you can throw at me can stop me." Where you learn the discipline to do what you set out to do, come what may. It was Alanna who first taught me to never give up, to never surrender, in an academic context. I look forward to getting reacquainted with her.