Tag Archives: energy

Norwescon Cometh

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Michael Jackson dancing with the living dead.

Image via Wikipedia

For the first time, I made the deadline for this year’s Fairwood Writers’ Workshop at Norwescon.  For the first time, I will also be attempting to make a costume to enter in the Masquerade (something my daughter did for the first time last year, and she asked me to try this year).

Thanks to the help of a wonderful woman named Erin to schedule my three writing critique workshops — two novel excerpts and one short story round robin session — to accommodate all of the mandatory Masquerade meetings, I get to do both!  I guess this mean I’d better get started on my costume . . . only 27 days left.  Eep!

One of the things we do to prepare for Norwescon each year, is to remind ourselves of dance moves.  After last year’s successes, my daughter feels it’s especially important to learn the moves of the more popular ones.  If you’re a con-goer, too, and you’d like to brush up on your moves or learn them for the first time, here are some of the songs played at Norwescon dance and similar events filled with sci-fi/fantasy geeks:

Early in the dance on Saturday, we’ve tended to hear “Doctorin’ the Tardis” by The Timelords.  This is a filk of Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll Part II”, with an alteration to the lyrics.  Instead of the singers shouting, “rock and roll, hey!”, we hear, “Doctor Who-oo, hey!”  Most dancing is freestyle until the chorus, when everyone throws their hands high into the air for the “hey” part, and occasionally, people do a “run in place” move with elbows bent at 90 degree angles.  Sometimes.  Not always.  Not everyone.  Maybe just me.

The classic Michael Jackson “Thriller” is a frequent favorite, but unless you’ve been practicing since the 80’s, chances are, your moves mostly involve casting zombie glances, and holding your arms up like claws.  All well and good, but if you really want to get the group moving in synch, take a look at the inmates of CPDRC in the Phillipines, whose dance steps are much easier to see than those in the original video, although watching both are recommended (both for authenticity and fun, Jackson’s theatricality is legend).

At midnight, you can be fairly certain you’ll hear the “Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  A classic I was taken to see at the tender age of seven (and I can assure you it didn’t affect my sexuality at all, and I certainly never enjoyed dressing up my boyfriends in fishnets and make-up, then . . . uh . . . anyway . . .).  I became a regular RHPS-goer at 15, and choreographed several numbers from it in my high school dance classes (much to my instructor’s irritation).  Thankfully, the song itself includes its own instructions, even from the narrator known as the Criminologist (Warning: the man you are about to see has no f*@%ing neck).  However, because the chorus includes different movements from the Transylvanians at “Let’s do the time warp again!”, there’s some slight confusion as to how to execute the move in synch.  Your best bet is to either jump or turn (my knees require the latter) 180 degrees three times during this portion of the song, and at each pause, either extend both arms, or one.  Free style dancing during the verses is typical, although the Columbia bit has seen a few purists kneeling and clapping to the beat.  But seriously, you’ll learn it best by watching the video, and don’t forget to melt at the end!  It’s a great way to make new friends!

Anyone who’s seen RHPS can attest that immediately following the group-favored Time Warp, “Sweet Transvestite” comes right after, introducing our protagonist (or antagonist, depending on your view), the venerable Frank-N-Furter, dressed in lingerie, platforms, and . . . just watch the video.  What to do during this song?  Most people free style, but others, dedicated fans, might be seen playing different characters. Once in a while, someone will be seen enacting a perfect Frank to set the gents and ladies drooling.

One of our favorite requests for con is “Smooth Criminal”, and these days it’s my daughter trying to learn the moves as best she can, because not only is this one of Jackson’s biggest and most theatrical of numbers, it also includes a diminutive form of her name.  However, if you find Jackson’s dancing too hard to follow, especially given the frequent scene changes, and the difficult “lean” sequence, take a look at these performances by a friend of mine.  Her group, Dangerous, can be seen full-bodied from the front in this performance, and at a 3/4 angle in a different performance, allowing us to benefit from seeing easy and moderate moves (given practice) to use in the dance itself.  Yes, those are all talented, fabulous women.  Also, as an aside, why in the original video upload do they insist on cutting off the last few seconds?  You know, when the woman turns around, and we see her eyes have changed to those of a cat?

Anyway, no one of sound body and insane mind should avoid the next dance.  There’s nothing quite like being held up by two hairy, sweating men in kilts as you dance and hop wildly in a ring to Boney M’s “Rasputin”, which honors the late, great tall and mysterious Russian.  While the dance isn’t available, the music is available to help you prepare for the pace.  The dance involves people gathering in concentric rings, usually one large outer ring, and one smaller, inner ring.  As you move (usually to your right as you face in), you place your arms around the shoulders and backs of the people on either side of you.  Now the fun ensues . . . with the beat, you hop, supporting yourself with your left leg, and raising your right knee perpendicular to your torso.  Without setting down your right foot, hop again, this time, extending your leg forward in a low kick.  Hop again, this time switching your weight to your right foot and raising your left knee.  See where I’m going with this?  Repeat these steps until the end of the song, “Oh, those Russians!”, or until you collapse, because you haven’t spent the last year training for a dance marathon.  These days, I stand on the outside, give a few good kicks to remind my daughter of what to do, and clap on the sidelines.  Maybe I’ll get back in the ring someday, but for now, I prefer breathing and remaining upright.

Last year, I was surprised by a couple of songs I don’t recall hearing at the convention dances before.  Maybe I just wasn’t in the room when they’d occurred, but I hadn’t danced to them since high school.  Specifically, the Macarena and the Hand Jive.  Not expecting them, I had to fumble a bit the first few times to remind myself, but thankfully they’re designed to be easy for people to copy and follow along.  Watch the dancers in the original video of the Macarena and the Hand Jive from Grease.  In case you have trouble with the latter song, the hand motions are these: slap the tops of your thighs twice, clap them together twice, wave your left hand over your right hand twice, switch the motion (right over left), make two fists, and bring them together vertically four times (twice with the left on top, twice with the right on top), then extend your thumbs one at a time, and thumb over each shoulder two times.  Between this and the visuals, I hope I’ve explained it!  Also, as you can see (or remember) from Grease, the dancers embellish a bit.

This isn’t a complete list, but it’s the one we’re working with.  Convention dances contain all sorts of music including goth rock, popular and geeky dance songs like the ones above, techno/club music, psuedo-country (e.g. “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”), and pagan/spiritual songs such as Rumors of the Big Wave’s “Burning Times”.

I’m really excited (and somewhat nervous) for all that I’ll get to do this year.  It will require a lot of strength and perseverance to get through the weekend, especially Saturday, but with planning and practice, I’ll be able to celebrate at the dance.

Small Lessons, Big Results

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Recently learned . . .

Lesson 1: Split up the CoQ-10 into 300 mg doses, one with breakfast and one with lunch.  The latter will help me push through that post-lunch slump that so often recently devolves quickly into a nap I didn’t plan for nor wanted in the first place.

Lesson 2: Homogenized conventional cow’s milk makes my stomach sick.  Non-homogenized and raw cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, and goat’s milk rock (as do their cheeses).

Lesson 3: Daughter has the same problem as in Lesson 2.

Lesson 4: There is nothing satisfying as being able to know for a fact that a given food substance is causing my body distress and being immediately able to address it.  Having removed wheat, chicken eggs, and onions from my diet, my daily systemic inflammation no longer masks all the other things going on in this meat-bone package in which I am encased.  Localized pains and discomforts now stand out and I can better identify target areas to work on with my health care providers (when I have money to see them).

Lesson 5: I’m still a procrastinator.  Work on that . . . later.

Before the New Moon to Now

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I’ll need to keep this brief since I am borrowing a computer (still).  I’d left my laptop at Mystyrica’s house early last week, and events conspired to keep me from picking it up.  That being said, what limited images I have taken of myself are on the laptop, so there won’t be anything to see here until I retrieve it. 

It was the new moon on Thursday when Daughter & I went to our first gentle yoga class.  She did fairly well with listening, and I’m glad it was only an hour, or she’d have become bored.  For me, it was extremely difficult to get through.  The first pose was child pose, and it’s one of the hardest ones for me.  My knees hate it, I can’t bend far enough forward because my belly gets in the way, and even if I spread my knees wide, once my forehead’s to the mat, I start to suffocate myself (thanks breasts).

Nevertheless, we got through the first class, and we’ll be going back this Thursday.  Starting tomorrow, I’ll be swimming twice a week as well in a therapeutic class nearby.  This is part of the new moon’s additions to my routine.  Starting last Thursday, I will be donig something active each day: walking, swimming, beginning calisthenics, or yoga depending on weather and the class(es) I have that day. 

While I’ve not been keeping up with my stretching, I’ve been even worse about taking the daily photo.  Part of that is due to depression.  My kitten still hasn’t returned home, and though we’ve been working to entertain his sister, I find it all the more disheartening when I have to go release an opposum from the humane cat trap his adoption agency loaned us to find him.  I don’t feel as though he’s dead, but I don’t know if we’ll ever see him again, either. 

Good things: I’ve kept up with my vitamins and water (I missed only one day’s quota of the latter), and I’m increasingly getting better about stretching.  I’m listening to my body more, and though my activity hasn’t greatly increased yet, it will be soon.  Daughter suggested I measure myself today after we were looking at a clothing store that didn’t carry my size.  Since last August, I lost 1″ under my bust (nothing in the bust, proper), 1/2″ in my waist, and 1 1/2″ in my hip measurement.  I was surprised since my weight has hovered around 260 despite changes, and recently went up as my body headed toward menstruation (totally normal).  Maybe I’m losing fat but gaining muscle?  I definitely have more energy than before (thanks, CoQ10!), and though that doesn’t change other issues, it gives me more “spoons” to deal with everything else.

Stuff I’ve learned so far from my body:

  • Minimum 64oz. water + good sleep = less acne (at least it’s proved true in me)
  • More energy = better coping skills, less need for naps (doesn’t change procrastination, depression, or pain, just how I deal with it)
  • Eating a big lunch and a smaller dinner makes me feel better the next day
  • Yep, still shouldn’t eat chicken eggs
  • My knees are underdeveloped, and I may just have to live with that

My goal is to also start making notes of certain cyclical things to guage what’s really going on.  Are my cysts forming at certain points in my moon cycle? Are they reacting to certain foods or habits in my diet?  Will activity reduce the hemmorhaging I experience each month instead of a normal menstrual cycle?  By keeping a notebook (and making a monthly line graph to make sense of the data), I might be better able to see what’s going on and what my body’s subtle triggers are.  I also might learn more about myself than I realized before.

I’m really proud of myself for saving up the money for the first five week class of swimming, and I’m grateful to my partner who agreed to pay for the yoga classes for us.  I’m also proud of myself for giving me breaks when I need them, and honoring my need to be responsible to myself in all ways.  We’ve got a lot scheduled for the coming month, most of it related to my health or Daughter’s homeschooling, but I think I can get through it all fairly well.  I’m both nervous and excited.  I’m also rather disappointed, but I believe major dietary changes will be necessary in the near future; I’m saving up money to get allergy testing to prove it to myself, but most cow-dairy and all wheat might be removed from our diets.  If so, I plan to give myself a going-away-from-[x-food]-party, and I already said to my partner that if I have to give up cow’s cheese, we have to go to the Melting Pot just once before then (I’ve never been).  It’s an experience I want to have before I make any further shifts to my eating habits.

Energy Boost + Depression?

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Headphones

With Headphones

It’s been . . . a while since I posted.  Losing Taigil, and not knowing where he is, has taken up a lot of my extra energy, and thanks to the addition of 600mg of CoQ10 to my daily supplements, I’ve had a lot more to burn.  What I have discovered, is that extra energy doesn’t mean I feel better, am less depressed, or that somehow my pain isn’t as severe.  In fact, because I’m more awake and not mentally numbed by exhaustion, I notice the pain all the more.

Waiting for Taigil

Waiting for Taigil

On the third day of taking CoQ10, I not only had more energy, I had more awareness of the my usual pain.  I popped two each of acetaminophen and naproxyn sodium to help me get through the day.  It worked, by the way, and I’ve only needed to take one nap since starting them, and that was entirely from a draining day after several days of staying up worrying about Taigil.

While I’ve kept up with my water (except one day), supplements, and even the meditation portion of my goals, I’ve been remiss in taking all my daily photos (at last three missed), and stretching has been my worst since the 4th, despite the extensive physical activity prompted by daily searches for my lost kitten.  I’ve been all over the yard, including down the hill to the pond, across the fallen branches in our neighbor’s yard, up the street to talk to all the neighbors for the first time, down the road posting signs, and everywhere between.  I’ve even been in the crawl space, which my partner has never been in despite owning the house for more than a decade.

That being said, while I’m disappointed in myself for not getting the stretching done (and I can feel the lack between the days that I do remember to do it), I am not as concerned about the daily photo as I thought I would be.  Maybe it’s because since the 12th, I’ve begun looking more and more sad in each photo, and with direct response to . . . well, the very same reason his sister Charlotte looks constantly sad, despondent, and hopeful.

She goes out to check on him several times a day, but stays within 5 feet of the house’s perimeter.  If he’s still alive, he’s likely up a tree avoiding something he finds threatening, or hunkered down beneath any of the hundreds of places in our neighborhood one so slender and small can hide.

Tomorrow I’m going to venture out and be a good homeschooling parent, but I know that my mind will be divided.  I’m trying to keep up with my regimen as well, but it’s so hard when my mind keeps going over a thousand scenarios a minute; what’s the use of having extra energy if it just gets burned up with pain and worry?