December 25, 2008 - Skating

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So, this is Christmas. And what have you done?

Well I dunno. I got a lot of clothes for Christmas (two pairs of pyjamas, three t-shirts) so I figure I might as well give away at least an equivalent amount of t-shirts to folks in need.

Next year. Next year I'll ask for world peace. Like T-Rex.

There's a certain, shall we say abandon required to be a good ice skater. Ballet seems different.

Ballerinas stand up straight, and depend on their ability to keep that throughout their dancing. Leaning back is done delicately, a subtle incline of the head and upper back.

Turning involves spotting - something I don't think helps with balance as much as with confidence. Also, it looks kinda neat.

Skaters depend more on their lack of fear of watching the world upside down in a layback spin, and letting their head go with the movement. They have an ability to stay in balance while doing the moves.

Ice skating depends a lot on speed and passion. If you can take up half of the width of the ice with a twizzle, do it. If you can do footwork reaching your arms up and even jumping, then throw your whole self forward and down. And if this is right with the music, it works.

By "works" I mean it has the right energy and the right effect on the audience. (I'm aware there's some sort of feeling involved, but when do I ever speak of "feeling" stuff?)

But ballet's beautiful too. And while the moves are very controlled, there's still room for interpretation.

In conclusion, both are awesome.

(1). From the helpful dictionary on the computer:

complete lack of inhibition or restraint : she sings and sways with total abandon.


I've gotten the idea in my head that I want to do a co-op work term in another country. I'm picturing the Alps. I'm picturing an apartment nestled in the alps, near farms (despite the smell) and in a small town. Kind of like the hotel we stayed in on the Europe trip in high school - minus the bugs in the bathtub.

Oh dear, I seem to be setting myself up for the dissolution of a romanticized vision of what is obviously not an engineering work term.

(By the way, about the bugs in the bathroom: It was early in the morning, and they were gone when I looked. The best I can say is that there were simultaneously bugs there and no bugs there. Obviously those two are mutually exclusive, and Schrödinger's Cat problem doesn't make intuitive sense anyway.)

I started talking about figure skating, and ended up talking about Schrödinger's cat, and bugs in a bathtub.

December 24, 2008 - Dance group: codename DA

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I'm starting to plan a dance group for next semester (or maybe next year). In my mind. It's the first stage of the creative process, as rocket scientists think of it: Dream, Judge, Ask, Check, Simplify, Optimize, Do.

Really, what I want to do is get together a group of interested people and sort of critique each other on our technique: probably everyone practice stuff, but then pick something for that day (rond de jambe, or releves, or something) and get half the group to sit back and watch the other half and give constructive criticism. Sort of a friend thing like Dumbledore's Army.

En pointe, of course. Or at least with an option for it.

I started to make a website for it, even though that's sort of extraneous. I'm not really fond of the colour scheme yet. I think i might use this colour scheme and change this site so it looks like a journal.

Inspired by Atlas Shrugged, I want to be extremely efficient and make organizing it look easy.

I think that's why I aim to get better at things: so I can seem like I'm going through life effortlessly.

Well...not quite that effortlessly. The image is from youtube, from this video called Butterfly lovers. It's amazing. Also, it's based on a chinese folk story.

December 21, 2008 - There's something about singing alto

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I'm having a little trouble writing stuff coherently. Bear with me and my B-minus level english skills.

Having just read a quarter of Atlas Shrugged on the plane back here, I think the choir director here is a funnier, more relaxed, older version of Ayn Rand's characters.

He can (and did) put together a performance of a lot of the Messiah Cantata in four days. He can (and did) play multiple parts on the piano at the same time while transposing it down a few semitones.

I got thinking about Ayn Rand's characters as we were singing. They get so much done, and have so much focus, while other people worry about their social status and things.

There's only a certain type of person who could pull off spontaneously crying in front of everyone. With these characters, you would know it would be real. They don't have time to waste on pretending. It's just like Dagny tells Reardon in Atlas Shrugged, they are the only ones who have something to celebrate. It seems that they are also the only ones who are allowed to feel sad or feel joy.

(I think I have a bit of that sort of mindset, where I think I can only enjoy life if I'm busy being the competent one in the background, getting a lot of things done. I want to deserve compliments, but not always have to accept them. I want to create a ballet club or something at school next year, I admire the characters in mission control in Apollo 13, and I like singing alto in choir.)

December 12, 2008 - Fifty five words is enough for a story

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Two fifty-five word stories, inspired by this site...Some people in my class had trouble with a 250 word essay. And btw, ceci n'est pas my family.

It was a clear summer night, the ideal time to see shooting stars. We were watching TV. I went downstairs to get everyone another drink, and found the circuit breaker. Back upstairs, we lit candles and flashlights. We then went outside to look at the stars.

Another story...I'm on a roll. There must be something to going to bed with someone else. I was going to have him secretly be an actor, and nobody else know. But I have a word limit to think of:

He was an actor, she'd seen him yell and cry three evenings a week. After a lovely evening at her apartment, they lay down in bed and she kissed him. He gently pushed her away.

"My comfort zone stops at the fourth wall," he explained.

December 9, 2008 - Things like this keep reminding me why the internet is so friggen awesome.

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But first, a doodle.

(The girl in the drawing died when she was 9, and next year she would have been starting university. I wonder what she would be into now, what sort of extracurriculars. Certainly they wouldn't just be an orthogonal projection of her siblings' interests; she'd be her own unique human being.)

I was on youtube the other day, and there was an advertisement for the Youtube Symphony Orchestra.

At first I thought it was something small, a few interested people or something like that. But I was wrong: it's big. It's Carnegie Hall big.

It's described as the "first-ever collaborative online orchestra," which is exciting. It's exciting to think about how much any random person (with quite a bit of talent, lots of sweat and tears, and some uploading) can accomplish.

I think I'll secretly learn the flute part (but not audition and audition for fun.) This is the beginning of something great, and I'm looking forward to watching it unfold.

I downloaded the music. There's something about that "No. 1" up at the top, that I really like.

Almost heroic, if you want to get adjectivey. Although I'm not sure if that's quite the word - but new and pioneering the way, a first. They go boldly, (boldly go?) making more people interested in classical music, a fresh twist on the notion of an orchestra. (Hey, classical music actually is fairly interesting. 'Specially the beginning of the romantic era.)

O, teh internet, thou art double edgd sword (translation.) This morning I was angry at myself for spending time here, when I should have been studying. But despite its downfalls, the net result (haha) is that the internet is really, really great (customary Avenue Q reference.)

Those who are famous on the internet are generally famous because of their talent, not because of their connections. A few people can even make their living drawing pictures and selling stuff.

There's so much freedom on the internet. Anyone is free to learn & unlearn, to freely share classical music, e-books, videos, to experiment, and to discuss things with fascinating people.

The internet is about the same age as me...meaning it has only really been around for a couple of decades. When I was in elementary school, it was a distant notion to me to "surf the web" and I wanted a computer for the word processing. As a kid, my babysitter had to walk one mile in the freezing cold to get to a computer, and it was uphill both ways [Citation Needed].

The internet changes the world, people. And we're a tiny part of it. I wonder what it will be like for the next generation? Less of a frontier, I expect.

(The internet has also helped me express myself concisely. I'm not so sure I achieved that in this entry though.)

December 6, 2008 - Dancie video

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So, why I called this "Ainoa's secret dance journal" when my name is Leslie and I don't dance much? Because I have a couple of middle names, and I'm starting to upload videos to youtube so I can get comments about it (people on youtube usually seem to have an opinion, and say it.)

Here's my description:

Feel free to only watch part of it.

I'm looking for criticism. The constructive kind is preferred, but not necessary. If you feel like being complimentary: be specific.

First i'll criticize myself so you don't have to for the obvious things:
* My turn-out sucks.
* At one point (no pun intended) when I was watching the video I noticed that I wasn't on the block of my shoes.
* My video-editing skills suck. Feel free to only watch part of it.
* My socks don't match.

I need to relax. In general, and also when I'm dancing. I like a boy and it's obvious1 that he likes me, but I'm shy around him. The first time we went on a kinda-sorta date I wasn't shy.

Nothing will go anywhere if I'm not relaxed and worried what everyone will think of me. That was supposed to be my New Everything2 Resolution: to not worry what everyone thinks of me. Not that anything I do would make people spontaneously hate me, it's just a mind thing.

So in general I need to relax. Even though I'm sitting here at the computer, I still think my shoulders could be more relaxed. I'll put that on my To Do list.

(1.) I tend to be clueless about these sorts of things. So if I've figured out that he likes me, then it must be very obvious.

(2.) New city, new living-away-from-home, new university, new friends. I made a few resolutions: one, to try new things and not worry about what everyone thinks of me. Another one was to spend less time on the computer...heh...and to eat healthily...heh again.

December 5, 2008 - Neglecting air resistance...

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I could say engineering > physics, but I might be a tad bit biased (I'm doing engineering.) Still, physics is important... Around the time the Wright Brothers were flying planes, Russians were theorizing about space travel.

Now physicists are apparently theorizing about warp drive (They say it has become "slightly less improbable"... which conjures up images of the Improbability Drive in the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)

I tried to keep the description short. But kept getting distracted...It must be ADD. I'm sorry if I offended anyone with the ADD comment, but I think I'm a little more ADD-ish than other people I know.

(More entries on the archive page.)