jack_calls_dances: (mountains)
2013-02-18 10:57 pm
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Knoxville Monday Night Contra Dance - 2/18/2012

It's not often that I get the treat of dancing more than half of an evening of dances that I am also calling, but I got to do that tonight at the Laurel, dancing some of the dances with old friends and some of them with those newly addicted to contra dancing. I was a little worried when the dance got started and we only had 3 hands four worth of dancers, but by the middle of the evening we had two good lines of dancers, with about 5-6 brand new dancers, and varied levels of experience among the rest. After the first dance, Donna came up to me to tell me that 5-6 brand new dancers had just walked in (at that point, doubling our numbers) so I bailed on the contra I was going to do and switched to a nice easy mixer, proceeded by the 5 minute version of the "how to give weight and swing" tutorial. That got everyone dancing and swinging lots of different people.

Somewhere around MAD About Dancing, I switched from the handheld to the headset microphone and started jumping in to the dance too -- both to get a better feel for how folks were doing and because we generally had just 1-2 folks sitting out and I wanted to keep everyone dancing if they wanted to be -- besides, it was great to be able to dance as well as call, and with just two lines, I could still pretty easily keep an eye on the hall while I danced.

Of the dances that we did, all but BiCoastal Contra and Run Rooster Run II were ones that I have called many times before. Both of these, however, were new to me. BiCoastal Contra is a nice, simple Star Promenade dance. It ends with a Long Lines Forward and Back and then a Ladies Chain to progress. Calling from the floor without a card in front of me, I walked it through reversing the last two moves. Since I was dancing it, I could feel the connection to both your old and new neighbors that ending with the Long Lines gave, so I kept the moves swapped, which I think made the progression much easier for the newer dancers. I have never been all that happy with Ladies Chain into New Neighbor Balance and Swing progressions -- they work, but they always seem awkward (though not quite as much so as a Star Promenade & Butterfly Whirl into a New N Balance and Swing) and both can be particularly disorienting for the ladies. Having the long lines at the end, though, made the transition almost seamless, since you already have a hand with your new neighbor to pull into the balance.

I was even happier with Run Rooster Run II, though. An unusual progression and flow, but still really intuitive for even new dancers. Many of the ladies had a lot of fun with "making the gent come to you" (in the progression, which involved going and swinging the lady on the left diagonal - see below).

Run Rooster Run II - Jim Hemphill
Becket

A1 On L Diag, New gents pass by R Sh
New N Swing
A2 Straight across Ladies chain
LHS 1x
B1 P B&S
B2 R&L Thru
LL F&B





The band for the night -- Lost Marbles -- was not one that I had worked with before. It was, however, that treat for callers: an old time band that actually tries -- and succeeds -- at matching dances to tunes when the dance needs particular phrasing. In particular, for the balancier dances and for La Bastrangue, I asked for tunes with really strong phrases and/or a slightly choppier sound, and they delivered with tunes that fit wonderfully.

Overall, some of the most fun I've had calling in a long time (actually since I called -- and danced -- at the Brattleboro, VT contra dance back in the fall). Calling for, and dancing with, a wonderful community of dancers (new and experienced, young and old) is always a great experience. This is the dance community I was dancing with when I first started calling, and it was wonderful to get a chance to come back and call for them now.

Program:

Frederick Contra - Tom Hinds

La Bastrangue (mixer)
Cranky Ingenuity - Bill Olson
MAD About Dancing - Robert Cromartie
Butter - Gene Hubert
Salmonella Evening - Steve Zakon Anderson & Louie Cromartie
BiCoastal Contra - Pete Campbell
United We Dance - Bob Isaacs
---
Flaherty Will Get You Everywhere - Bob Isaacs
Run Rooster Run II - Jim Hemphill
Lark in the Oven - Robert Cromartie
The Nice Combination - Gene Hubert

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jack_calls_dances: (mountains)
2013-02-17 09:09 pm
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Knoxville Dance Weekend

On a Wednesday 13 years ago this past week, I moved out to Knoxville to take my first job after college.  That weekend was the Knoxville Dance Weekend.  That meant that I had the chance to unpack enough to live, and then go spend most of the weekend dancing with about 400 of my nearest and dearest friends at the UT University Center.  Sometime over the next year, Nick Boulet somehow got me started calling -- I don't really remember whether I asked him about it or he suggested it to me.  What I do know is that he had me standing on a chair in his living room walking a dance through to invisible dancers, and a few weeks later I called my first contra dance on a night he was calling at the Laurel Theater.  I continued calling 1-2 dances an evening when Nick or Vicki Herndon or Tim Klein were calling an evening of dancing and were nice enough to let me call a couple of dances among theirs.  I also had a chance to call for sleep deprived dancers late at night at the Laurel the last year before I left Knoxville and on a couple of return trips after I had moved, plus calling a dance in the main hall during the (now no longer happening) Sunday Afternoon open calling session.  (I even got my first away gig when Hannah Pertallion introduced me to her dad John who booked the Boone, NC contra dance, and he took a chance on this guy he had only heard call a dance or two and booked me to call for the dance at the Apple Barn.

Now 13 years later, Tim Klein and Donna Calhoun gave me the chance to be an honorary local caller to call during the Friday night and Sunday afternoon sessions at this year's Cabin Fever.  What fun it was to get to call for this wonderful bunch of dancers -- many of whom were around for those first dances I called at the Laurel.  This time, though, I got to call with wonderful musicians like The Latter Day Lizards.  Not only that, but I got to call the singing square The Auctioneer with these musicians who have done so many of these singing squares with masters of the art like Nils Fredland and Ralph Sweet.  It was a blast!

Friday, I called:

(no walkthru) The Wild Woman from North Carolina - Bill Olson
and
Naughty Neighbors by Mike Richardson

Then, after Donna's set of contras, I called The Auctioneer
---

On Sunday I called two more dances, this time with The Hillbillies from Mars

Song in the Night - Gene Hubert
Galena - Jo Mortland





jack_calls_dances: (mountains)
2013-01-30 03:29 pm
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More memories of the Ralph Page Weekend

So many wonderful memories from the Ralph Page Weekend. The memories that will stick with me longest though all involve dancing the chestnuts. The RPDLW is probably one of the only places that the chestnuts get danced with quite this much enthusiasm.

About halfway through the dance on Friday evening we did our first chestnut -- Rory O'Moore. First time I had to dance it with this kind of group -- a group of dancers, many of whom had been dancing the chestnuts (and many other dancers) for years. It isn't that the dancing was absolutely perfect from a technical standpoint -- my shadow gent was actually having trouble with it for the first little bit. The dancing was joyful, connected and just so much fun. While we were the active couple, I think that my favorite moment in the dance was finishing the partner swing, stopping for a moment, and then just as the tune started again giving each other a nice tug by to head down the outside of the set.

As many different examples as I come up with, I've been having trouble finding words for exactly what it is about the dancing this weekend that was so wonderful. Failing at finding the words, I'll share a bit of someone else's words...from the "Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter" (quoted on the RPDLW Wesbite):

The dancing is harder to describe. We dance a combination of the old favorite dances and the more modern dances. People tend to dance in a somewhat older style, especially with the chestnuts. But most importantly people dance their best, dancing to the music, dancing with each other, keeping a friendly community atmosphere for the most part, dancing a bit more smoothly (although enthusiastically), generally paying more attention than usual. All of that makes it so everyone has more fun dancing together. Where else could you dance Money Musk for more than 20 minutes to superb music and when it’s over wish the band had kept playing another five or ten!

And then, indeed, there was Money Musk. Now I have the double challenge of trying to describe what it is that is so wonderful about the dancing and what it is that is so wonderful about this particular dance. I'm pretty sure that Money Musk was the first triple minor dance that I ever danced -- at Pinewoods on my first trip up there. I didn't know what I had gotten into. Here I was doing this dance with hands 6 rather than hands three, the wrong number of beats in the dance/tune and only 4 moves in the dance -- none of which were circles or swings. What kind of dance is this??

That first time, I made it through. The next year it made much more sense. A few years after that, I called it for the first time, and this year, I felt like I could dance it without even having to think about it. Which meant that I could pay more attention to the other things around me. Smiling faces. Amazing fiddling. The rhythmic sound of feet hitting the floor on the "forward 6" -- once at the end of the phrase, and once at the beginning of the phrase. My partner's wonderful smile (and all the other smiling faces) all through the dance. The amazingly connected feeling of a good same gender "no hands" Right and Left Thru, when you pivot together as a unit only needing to hold on with eye contact.


More than anything, though, is the tune. That wonderful, notey, joyful tune, that is fitted so well to the dance. It's really hard to avoid the desire to dance to it if someone is playing. So hard, that on Sunday after lunch, when I was sitting around and talking with a group of callers, and we heard the musicians jam start into Money Musk, we looked at each other and almost as one said "We should go dance!"

Money Musk needs 6 dancers to have one minor set, so we took the 6 of us over and started dancing in front of the musicians. By the time we were ready to progress, two more couples had joined us.

As we went another time through the dance, calls were heard to move chairs and tables out of the way. By the time the musicians stopped playing, more than 10 minutes later, we had a line of dancers across the room.

It was a magical moment, and one that would happen very few places other than at the Ralph Page weekend. I can't wait until next year!

jack_calls_dances: (dance twirl)
2013-01-20 06:20 pm

More Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend

Well, it's all over. I'm on my way home, after my first Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, and a wonderful weekend it was. A weekend of dance, conversation, (more dance) caller geekery, (even more dancing, including exposure to many dances I hadn't done anywhere before), and some wonderful conversations with friends new and old.

What is it about this weekend that is so magical?

The magic is in 4+ generations worth of dancers dancing old and new dances together. It's in the connection through the left hands in a simple courtesy turn or a promenade. It's in weight given and received and always perfectly balanced It's in dancing Money Musk for 20 minutes to amazing music...a whole room of people rocking the house with the balances. It's in getting to do dances that I probably wouldn't encounter anywhere else, either because they're not in the style of dances that get done at most of the dances I attend, or because they're more complicated (or less complicated, or "worse" still have no swings (like Money Musk). This weekend, though we did them all. Old and new and almost everything in between.

During the dance last night, I found myself thinking that by the metrics of many dancers at "modern urban contra dances", the dancing there would be "low energy", or "old fashioned." The energy there is definitely different. It's less abut kinetic energy and more about connection and community.

Overall, though, this is really a weekend about the people. I danced with and talked with people of all ages and from lots of different parts of the country, all of whom share a love of contra and square dance -- many of whom were present for significant portions of what we of the younger generations would term it's history. One regret that I have is that I didn't get more of a chance to spend time talking to some of them. I suppose that's just another reason that I should be back there next year!

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jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2013-01-19 01:36 am
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Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend: Friday Night

What an amazing evening of truly wonderful contra dancing. Definitely some of the most enjoyable contra dancing I've done in a long time, and n'ere a swing dance move in sight. Glorious swings, connected courtesy turns...the distilled essence of what contra dancing should be. And this was only the Friday night dance. There's a whole weekend to go!


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jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2013-01-18 02:50 pm

Off to Ralph Page

It's been quite a while since I was posting regularly here. I am hoping to start a calling journal, and it seems like the new year is a good time to do that. I am currently in a coffee shop in Cambridge, MA, getting ready to head up to Durham, NH for the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend (ralphpage.neffa.org). I am really looking forward to a weekend of great dancing, calling and caller geekery. Some of my favorite callers are going to be there this weekend and I can't wait to get to spend time with them, hear them call, and maybe even call a dance or two myself.


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jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2009-07-25 02:46 pm
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Thoughts along the way

On my way on the train from DC to Boston....just left NY Penn Station. The few times I've gone in and out of Penn have all been since I read Conquering Gothem, a fabulous history of the building of Penn Station and, even more impressively, the building of the tunnels to get there. (If you want to read some reviews, of it, have a look at Amazon.

The engineering knowledge that went into building the tunnels that just took me from NJ to Penn just blows my mind. The tunnels were designed to "float" in the sandy, wet dirt under the river so that they actually move up and down slightly depending on the tide.

At the time, there was great debate about what should be done. Do you tie the tunnels down and take a chance that they would shear right off from the stresses caused by the tide, or allow them to "float" and have much less control over their motion. In the end, they made the decision to let them float, and, close to 100 years later, they're still carrying trains.

Then, there's the station itself. The original Penn Statioin was designed as an awe inspiring temple to railroads and transportation. Marble, vaulted ceilings massive columns all around it. I really wish I could have seen it in person, instead of in pictures. (If you've never seen pictures of the building, check out google images or your favorite image search)

Unfortunatetly, though it was designed to be a monument for the ages, less than 50 years afterr it was built, it was decided that the street level property was entirely too valuable. So they tore down an amazing building, and in it's place built....a box (otherwise known as Madison Square Garden.)

I love trains....have for most of my life, and don't get to ride them as often as I would like. I also love seeing old train stations that have been saved. Durham's is long gone. For most of the time I've been in Durham, we've had the "Amshack" -- a "temporary" building, that lasted for something like 10 years. Now Durham has opened a new station in the back of the old Liggett & Meyers tobacco buildings, in the final section of West Village. If we cant' have the original station, I figure having a new station in an old building is a close second.
Greensboro restored it's old Southern Railway station a few years ago. It's definitely in the marble column style of architecture, and it looks great. Salisbury has also restored it's original station, complete with central tower, and Richmond's Main Street station can be seen from the interstate, just to the east of the overrpass as you come into downtown. Three very distinct styles of building, but all easily identified as train stations. It's a style of building that really isn't being built anymore, and it's too bad we don't have more of them left.

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jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2009-07-14 12:39 am
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Touring

Wow. 4 days, 4 gigs, 44 dances (I actually met my self imposed challenge to call 4 evenings without repeating a dance), and something like 500 dancers. This was so much fun. I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into when I planned this (and the tour next month too), but I'm so glad that I did it. C, K, K and I have had a great time together -- definitely have to do it again. I'm seriously tired, but looking back on the past 4 days I just get the same goofy grin I get from standing on stage with a fabulous band....watching them and the dancers....loving the music and the energy of the crowd.

Friday in Carrboro was a great start to the tour. We had a huge crowd and got things off to a great start. Better still, it was for my home dance.

Saturday in Greensboro was a much smaller crowd, but with fewer new dancers, and we got some great dances and tunes in that night. After the dance, a bunch of folks ended up at the house we were staying at to hang out and chat and eat. Our host sent us off in the morning with a great breakfast for our early (and long) drive up to River Falls Lodge for the Sunday afteernoon dance and swim.

After the River Falls dance (and a refreshing swim in the Saluda River for me and the band afterwards) we headed up to my familiy's mountain house and had a relaxing evening just hanging out, learning new card games, playing old board games (an edition of Sorry that's older than i am -- it was my mom's when she was young, and I grew up playing with the same set).
After another great breakfast, we headed down the mountain and over to Asheville.

Our host for the evening is an old friend of C's, so they got some catching up tiime in, while K and I both took naps. We headed over to the hall and had dinner there before the dance. And what a dance it was -- great music, great dancers. The energy (and heat) in that room was amazing. I love dancing there, and I love calling there -- very different experiences, but they're both a blast.
Tomorrow morning, I have an appointment for work at 9:00 before driving back to Durham, and the band hass an 8 hour drive back to DC, so it'll be an early start for all of us.

Curreent Music: Recording of the dance this evening.


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jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2009-06-28 12:44 am

After the dance

After a yummy Thai dinner and enjoyable conversaion with friends in Roanoke, it was off to the dance for me. At the hall, I ended up serving as sound tech as well as caller, since they didn't have anyone set to do it.

Root 2 (the band) was easy to work with, even though this was one of their first full dances. They had some really nice sets of tunes. A little shaky on tempos, but that improved greatly over the course of the evening as we settled in.

The dance had a lot of new dancers, so I definitely earned my princely salary as a caller this evening. (As the saying goes: Contra callers drive hundreds of miles to get paid tens of dollars ;-) )

The dancers seemed to have a good time, which is the main thing. I was able to put together a set of dances that used a relitavely small set of different calls so that I didn't have as many new things to teach -- we were just putting the things we knew together in new ways, and occasionally adding a new move.

Tomorrow, if I make it up in time, I'm hoping to get over to Christ Episcopal Church here in roanoke where a friend is the associate. Not sure if I will make it up in time for that or not. For now, though, off to bed with me.
jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2009-06-27 05:12 pm

Calling travels - roanoke, va

Camped out in a coffee shop for a bit before I meet friends for dinner in Roanoke before the dance this evening. Tonight, I'll be working with an unfamiliar band that is also relatively new to playing together, but friends have assured me that they're quite good. As usual, I've picked out the first couple of dances, but otherwise, will wait to see what the group is like and then go with the flow...
Tuesday in Winston Salem with the Big Home Band went really well. I'm not always as comfortable with old-time bands as I am with New England style bands, but we had a great time. It helps that they play for contras on a regular basis, and that Steve is really good at matching tunes to dances. That's usually the hardest thing for me with old time bands. I asked a much more experienced caller about what she did when she was working with old time bands, and she said that she didn't even try to ask for specific type tunes -- she just took what they played and worked with it. Hearing that from someone like Louie really took a load off my mind as far as working with old time bands go. It's a wonderful plus to have an old time band that takes the time to match the tunes, tho.
We had a great bunch of dancers, though, and I was able to call a nice variety of dances with few, if any, hiccoughs.
I am looking forward to playing with the two new dances that Dean gave me during the dance. I may even call one of them tonight.
jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2009-06-23 09:24 am
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Newsflash

Giant cow spotted on I-40 near Burlington, NC Tuesday morning. Additional news as it becomes available.
jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2009-06-23 09:19 am
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jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2009-06-21 03:31 pm
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Swimming at Sennett's Hole with Traction

After having a bit o trouble finding our way, we had a nice afternoon swimming and socializing.
Swimming at Sennett's Hole with Traction

jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2009-06-20 10:06 pm

(no subject)

I haven't written anything in a while....partly because I spend so much time in front of the computer during the day that I don't want to do my thinking through stuff on a keyboard. I even just recently decided to try to do some more letter writing (actual longhand pen and paper letters). My friend Lark gave me the idea with her letter-a-day for the month of April project. I'm going to be doing some traveling later this summer, and hope that I can get some letters and postcards written then, and some before I leave.

I've been spending a good bit of time working on calling and dance related stuff (sometimes, more time than I probably should....). I'm really excited, though, about some of the touring that I'm going to get to do this summer. I've got 4 gigs in NC with Gypsy Meltdown,a fabulous band from the DC area.  They were, in fact, the first band I called with at Glen Echo -- just over a year ago.  We did a fun couple of gigs in Blacksburg, VA and Charlottesville, VA and in July I get to introduce them around to some of my favorite dances down here -- Carrboro, Greensboro, River Falls Lodge and the Grey Eagle (Asheville).  This summer, Becky and I will be going up to Pinewoods, the wonderful music and dance camp in Plymouth, MA.  Before and after the week at Pinewoods, I'll be doing some calling up that way -- in Brattleboro, VT, at MIT and in Cambridge (yes, I know that makes two dances in Cambridge).  Then after Pinewoods, I'll be doing a tour with Nor'easter in Western NY.  Rochester, Ithaca, Buffalo and Owego, then we haul back to Mass for the Monday Night Scout House Contra Dance.  Whew.  From this Tuesday June 23rd thru August 18th, I will have 15 gigs, plus a week of dance and music and calling at Pienwoods.  That's more calling than I've done in most years.  It's not a pace I could keep up on a regular basis, but it's going to be a good (and I hope, enjoyable) challenge for me.  If it goes well, I'd really like to do something like this each summer...possibly pick a new part of the country to see and travel around calling dances for a month or so.  

For those of you who think it sounds like I'm calling full time, I do actually have a real job.  In case you don't know, I work for Indigo Logix, LLC and am an assistive technology dealer, specializing in AT for people with visual impairments.  I really enjoy the work that I do, even if I do sometimes grumble about the ammount of driving I do for it (I cover all of north carolina.)  I get to meet interesting folks all over the state and to make a difference in the lives of people who are blind or who have low vision.  And I get to play with cool techie toys!! :-)

I'm hoping to do more journaling, particularly over the next month of traveling.  I suspect that there will be more contra related than work related -- not because I'm more interested in one than the other (though thinking through dances does hold attraction when I should be making a bunch of phone calls for work.....), but because the touring will be a new experience for me.  I think it's going to be a lot of fun.



jack_calls_dances: (work)
2009-05-05 12:12 am
Entry tags:

Calling in Knoxville

So... I started calling contra dances about 8 years ago when I was in Knoxville, TN, but didn't start calling full evenings until after I moved to NC, and since then have been calling on a pretty regular basis. Tonight, I got a chance to call back in Knoxville. It was good to see some familiar faces, but the dance left me feeling kinda run down. For some of the first half, I really wasn't in best form -- more flubbed calls than I would really like. We were having some issues with the sound, and that had me somewhat distracted. The band was also tired and a little low energy -- the music was great, but the fiddler had been teaching all day and I think really wanted to be done with playing.

Both of those things aside, though, I think there's something about calling for a smaller group of mixed level dancers. I seem to get sucked into problems on the floor instead of the overall pattern. When I'm calling for a big group, I'm less likely to focus in on individual dancers and get sucked into the problems that one couple or hands four are having. With a bigger crowd, I've got more dancers that I can watch be in the right place at the right time. Also, with smaller groups, I've developed the habit of moving around more -- suspect it would help me keep more of an overall perspective if I stayed up on the stage and had a little more distance.

However I'm feeling about it, I think that folks had a good time, and in the end, that's the main thing that matters. And now I can look forward to dancing in Winston Salem tomorrow with Adina calling and the Figments playing! Gonna be great.
jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2008-10-30 10:06 pm

A kind of 'protection' i can live without.

Copy this sentence into your livejournal if you're in a heterosexual marriage and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.
jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2008-10-15 11:10 pm
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(no subject)

Note: I apologize in advance for the long post. I tried to do an LJ cut, both in the editor and by hand, and it wouldn't take either way. I already had everything typed though, so here it is anyway. Grrrr.

I've been doing a lot of traveling recently, but haven't managed to get much writing done. Earlier this month, I had a fun trip up to Virginia, DC and Maryland. The original reason for the trip was calling for the Glen Echo Friday Night Contra Dance. Added to that was some time playing tourist in DC, and then trips out to do some wine tasting. B wasn't able to travel with me this trip, because she had a big family reunion (that was announced much after I had already booked the calling gig.) It was disappointing that she didn't get to come up and see J, A and L, but I suspect that she also enjoyed the quiet time at home.

National Cathedral from the Bishop's GardenOn the way up, I stopped off in Fredericksburg to visit J, a friend from college. Friday morning, we drove up to DC, and ended up parking at National Cathedral, wandering around the gardens and having a picnic lunch. Even though it was already early October, the gardens were still beautiful and the roses, and many of the other flowers were still in full bloom. They also had some of the most impressive crops of various herbs that I've seen, including thyme with branches over an inch thick. (while most of our herb garden at home is doing well, the thyme is looking pretty spindley.) If you've never wandered around the gardens at the cathedral before, it's well worth the time. Besides the bishop's garden, there's also a beautiful wooded approach up from Saint Alban's school.

It was also my first time there since they built the new parking garage under the cathedral grounds. Coming up from the parking garage, the view from the stairwell makes for a dramatic entrance to the Cathedral grounds.

While we were there, I also got to see one of the chapels in the undercroft that I hadn't ever seen before. All of the artwork in the chapel is done in mosaic. I really wasn't crazy about the ones on the walls, but really loved the one over the altar. I suspect that part of what I liked about it (and didn't like about the others) was the choice of colors. The other mosaics were all in reds and oranges rather than the blue of this one. You can see a few more pictures from around the cathedral on my flickr account.

After visiting the cathedral, we walked down to the metro and headed downtown to meet L at the Smithsonian to go and see the Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit. It was an amazing exhibit of Jim Henson's work -- both muppet related and non-muppet. I don't know that I had really known about some of his non muppet related work, and I had completely forgotten that he had done the Dark Crystal (I need to see that again....along with Labyrinth. Haven't seen either of them in a really long time.

As far as the dance goeBeginners Sessions, it was my first time calling there, and I had a great time. We had a little over 200 people there, and they had two pretty good lines for the beginners session. Speaking of which, they do a fabulous job on the beginners session. It actually runs from 7:30 - 8:15, and they teach three dances and have them dancing for most of the session. It covers all of the basics -- everything that I would normally cover -- but gives them much more time of actually doing contra dances (rather than just trying to go through as many new moves as possible in 30 minutes).

I was really happy with how the dance went -- I was able to do a nice variety of dances, including getting a contra corners dance in. The music was amazing, and the dancers seemed to have a good time.

The rest of my Barboursville Ruinstime in Virginia was spent tasting and drinking wine. Lots of wine. J and I went to the Fredericksburg Wine Festival and met up with some other friends of hers. We got to taste (and buy) lots of wine. Sunday afternoon, we went out to Barboursville Winery for the Barrel tasting festival that they were doing. Before the actual wine tasting, we headed up to the ruins of the Barboursville house (designed by Jefferson) to have lunch. 

Besides the regular tasting, it was a chance to try unfinished versions of the varietals that go into their amazing Octagon blend, and then to try the 2005 Octagon to see what they all taste like together in the finished product.   We also met up with A, a friend of ours from college towards the end of our time at Barboursville, and headed over to taste more wines at Horton (right down the road).

Horton has an amazingly large wine list -- if you plan to taste everything, also plan to stay there for a while, or have a DD to carry you out to the car and drive you home. Their prices are great, though, and they have some really wonderful wines. After that, it was outside to sober up, and then back to Fredericksburg.

After all the touring and wine drinking, J and I spent the evening watching a couple of episodes of the West Wing, and the next morning, I headed home to return to the working world.




jack_calls_dances: (work)
2008-09-18 12:12 pm

Parents and computers

Just got a voicemail from my mom from this AM. She's managed to get the XP-Vista Antivirus virus/malware on her computer. I'm just not sure how badly she's gotten it on there now. I don't know if she actually ran the EXE or not (I'd like to think that I've taught her better than that!). Definitely sounds like bad news:

http://www.malwarehelp.org/blog/malware/xpvista-antivirus-2008-analysis-and-removal-2008.html

Sigh.
jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2008-09-01 02:39 pm
Entry tags:

More pictures

While I'm posting pictures, I thought I'd share a few more that I like a lot. In this set from the Contra Dance in Winston Salem, I was playing around with framing...trying to catch more of the motion in the dance...based on an idea I got from a friend of mine's photos.




If the embedded slideshow doesn't work, try this link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhm4/sets/72157607027289151/show/
jack_calls_dances: (Default)
2008-08-30 04:06 pm

Carolina Chocolate Drops

I've just bought myself a pro account on flickr... Among the things I just got posted were the pictures from the Carolina Chocolate Drops concert at the NC Museum of Art earlier this month. Just thought I'd share them (and also play with inserting an embedded slide show into an entry).



Here's a link to the sideshow, if the embed doesn't work:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhm4/sets/72157607024910508/show/