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Old News - 1998


Procrastination and Dates. November 30, 1998. Well, I did it again. I waited to try to find a date to take to a play ("Twelfth Night" at the Shakespeare Theater in DC) I have tickets for, and suddenly I found myself a week and a half before the play and my first two choices had to work that Saturday. I could always just ask a friend from dancing or an ex-girlfriend, but I've been trying to use the plays as a good reason to go out and ask new women out. So, with a week to go, I decided to try the personals ads I had seen on the sites like MatchMaker.com and WebPersonals.com. My biggest complaint about them? It seems like the many of the women do not log in and get their mail too often. I think the services are not designed well because people have to log into their services to pick up mail rather than have it forwarded right to their desktop via regular e-mail. *sigh*

Oh well . . . with less than a week to go, and not many responses, it will be interesting! It is usually nice to meet someone for drinks or something before going out on a date for dinner, a play & dancing, but hey . . . I've never been on a blind date. My be fun just to throw caution to the wind and ask the next woman who pops up in my In Box! We'll see . . . *sinister chuckle*

2nd Place! October 18, 1998. I finally got hooked on competiting and have decided to take private dance lessons with the goal of competiting ProAm and making it to World's next year. It started with the 1st place win in a simple contest in Richmond and then taking 2nd place in a real comp with practically no practice a few weeks later! I updated my Dance page with the story.

Other thing I did this time was pull some information from a Personals site together and make a separate Personals page here. It was actually quite fun looking at various peronals sites this past month! Better than the comics sometimes!

I Won! August 30, 1998. This past weekend I went to a dance competition in Richmond. I did not take a partner and I did not plan on competing, I usually just go for the dancing. I'd actually only competed once before in a very informal two-step and that was it. Well, for some reason I decided to be brave this time and try competing in a Jack and Jill Two-Step and West Coast Swing. I did not place in the two-step. I was happy we made it through without making a single mistake, but well, there were some good dancers out there. Then came the West Coast Swing which I think is a much harder dance than Two-Step. For those who do not know, in a Jack and Jill contest, they get a group of men and women out and pair up partners on the floor for a dance and then give you music to dance to. You have one dance with a person you have never (or seldom) danced with before and you don't even know what the song will be ahead of time. It emphasizes lead/follow dancing since your partner has no clue what you are going to do ahead of time!

I was nervous because I was paired with a woman I had never even met before and I had no clue how well she could dance. We made it through the song... No terrible mistakes... I think we covered up well. I may have even remembered to smile a bit. So they lined us all up and I thought, Ok, it is over, that wasn't too bad! Then what happens? A tie, two couples back out for one more dance, everyone else can sit down... We had to do it again . . . No pressure. At least before there were other couples on the floor, now it was just two of us! All eyes on us. I was dancing with a lady named Chris and we were competing against her son (who was very much of a show off) and his partner! The crowd was hooting and hollering and all I could do was try to think of what moves to lead next. Look at the crowd? Smile? Act confident? Yeah right!

Well, we must have done pretty good. We won! :-) It was not much, just an informal Jack and Jill contest, but well, it was my first and I got to dance with all the women I wanted to that night! It was a great weekend . . . What's next? Time to find a partner and start really practicing . . . Division I, here I come!

Of course this comes at a good time. I finished painting my condo and this coming weekend I hope to refinish the floors so I can now start practicing at home. No more excuses for not working on stuff after taking lessons anymore! Of course, that means I will have to find a woman brave enough to come over and let me get my hands on her! *sinister chuckle*

Summer! June 7, 1998. Summer is here and I have started quite a few projects, but have not finished many . . .

Dance Floor. In January I pulled up the wall to wall carpet in my living room and dining room to make it all a large dance floor. Of course before refinishing the floor, I decided to patch, paint and make a bunch of other changes. I've removed all the fixtures, moved the furniture to the bedrooms and learned how to patch dry wall. The couch, TV, two lamps, paint cans, dry wall and other tools are the only things left here. The second bedroom is so packed with junk I cannot even make it to my computer. At this point, I will not even try to guess when it will all be done... I will settle for finishing the painting so I can pull up the tarps and start using it for dancing! Just something else on a list of projects to get to!

The on-line Contact Juggling tutorial is still generating a lot of interest. I get several messages a week about it. Needless to say, it is on the back burner. But I have started the sections on the basic motion and types of balls to use.

The full motion video clips take the longest to make, so in the interest of getting usable sections out, I am going to at least try to work on the text for the next several sections shortly and maybe add in still images. This should help may people with the next step in learning the basics. I will go back later to polish it up and add the full motion video.

Rollerblading. My goal is still to skate from home to the Capitol and back. But with so many full weekends, I have only made about half the trip so far . . . Some day . . .

Juggling. Here is it, almost half way through the year and I have only been to one juggling convention. I missed several completely, and only made it to the DC one for and hour before heading to a dance competition on the other side of the city. It is still fun, but I only seem to practice in airports while waiting for flights these days. I did perform in front of about 400 people this past week at a Deloitte & Touche IT Symposium. About 20 second, 3 balls. I dropped once. Not bad for being so out of practice and given only 5 minutes notice. :-)

Dancing! It has been almost a year since I took private lessons and I want to start back up again! Social dancing at the bars is fun, but I am not improving. I need to practice on perfecting the moves I have learned. That is why I am trying to get my living room finished so I can have a place to practice. Next, of course I need a partner. But, that is more than I can cover here . . . Anyone interested?

Actually I did try competing in May. Jack and Jill Two-Step, Novice. It was my first competition! Of course, I did not place. Once the music started, all I could think about was what move next. Forget the audience, the music, smiling or anything. It was fun, but it made me realize how much more I needed to work! So, it is time to start working at it!

New Year! January 28, 1998. So much has happened in the past couple of months and the new year is off to a great start! So, here are some of the latest updates.

The on-line Contact Juggling tutorial is generating a lot of interest. I get several messages a week about it. I am sorry this has been on the back burner for so long. The full motion video clips take the longest to make, so in the interest of getting usable sections out, I am going to at least try to work on the text for the next several sections shortly and maybe add in still images. This should help may people with the next step in learning the basics. I will go back later to polish it up and add the full motion video.

Dancing! I went to the UCWDC World's dance competition in Nashville earlier this month. It was great! No, I did not compete, but I had fun learning and practicing. I came back so charged up from it, that I ripped up the carpet in my living and dining rooms and am in the process of putting down a proper hardwood dance floor so I can practice at home! I spend most of my time now on West Coast Swing, but Two-Step is tied for my favorite. No, I am not a cowboy -- I fit in better with the Swing crowd, but I like country/western dancing over the stuffier ballroom dances. I am planning on trying to go to about 6 other competitions over the next 4 months. We will see how many I actually make it to.

Personals. Do not ask me what came over me, but yesterday, I felt like having some fun and trying a personal ad. This year, I decided I wanted to make more of an effort to get out and meet people, host parties and be more outgoing. While dancing affords me a great opportunity to meet a lot of people, I feel like I wanted another avenue to meet friends. After all, when I am out dancing, I ask women to dance, but rarely anything else (it is better to keep dancing and dating separate sometimes). So, I figured personal ads may be fun to try. At least once. Who knows who I would meet. I like to think of myself as a confidant, reasonable normal guy with no emotional baggage. So, here is my first draft:

Shall we dance? C/W, WCSwing, Waltz? Professional (ex-geek), clean cut, innocent looking, SWM (29, 6ft, 190lbs, n/s), with great lead, gorgeous blue eyes and season tickets to the Shakespeare theater. ISO intelligent, independent, creative, attractive SWF for dances, competitions, plays, dinners, group outings & other events. Building friendships, maybe more...

That it? You know, there is always more news, but I do not want to bore you too much. Dancing is the biggest thing of course as well as redoing my floors at home so I can practice there. As long as I am putting down hardwood floors in the living and dining rooms, I am also repainting, replacing all trim, all outlets, light switches, etc. I am going overboard with redoing my place right! It is an interesting project. I am trying to do it all myself with some help from some very good friends. I never thought of myself as a handy man, so this project is going to be a challenge. I wish I had take some pictures to put up when I started! Well, more later . . . Bye!

Raymond Bowers


Old News / Ray's Home Away From Home / ray@bowers.com / October 18, 1998