Category Archives: shenanigans

Sac Exchange, WWE party, Why I am still a good for nothing…

(L2R Alex, Andrea, Allen, Aviva)

Apparently, I am amazingly talented. In a house of almost 130 good for nothing drug-addict-raver-zealous-party-goers, I am still considered to be one of the top procrastinators. People regularly see me cooking an unnecessarily detailed lunch, or planning to paint a mural and say “oh, you’re the one who does like, no schoolwork, aren’t you?”

So, this post comes along with my realization that sooner or later it’s going to come back to bite me. Prepare yourselves for weeks of silence, or stressed out and unintelligible posts 🙂 Eep!

But with my favorable crastination skills come amazing adventures!

First up, where we left off: the Sacramento Lindy Exchange. Goodness, I’ve been lazy with this blog! Procrastinating my procrastination tool = classy 🙂

It’s a small event, and sadly in my time in California’s capitol city I did not run into Mr Shwartznegger. But I’ll be back. (giggles to self) but the dance attracted a heap of wonderful dancers from all over the coast, including an unexpected rockstar. The highlights of the event for me were definitely: Staying at Andrea’s place in Sacramento, with Allen and Alex, two of my friends from San Fran. Alex and I fought over the couch, we ate copious amounts of food and watched the Emperor’s New Groove. They were all DJ’s for the event so I was in with the organizers 🙂 Andrea has one million decorative hair flowers, and playing with them was super fun times….

check out Gina being super dopey 🙂

My favourite was the final set of the Saturday late night. Alex DJed the 3am set and after the first two songs happened to be food songs, someone asked him if every song was going to be about food. He considered them carefully for a moment, and then just said, ‘yes!’

It was epic. Not the kind of set where you resort to bad music just to go with a theme. All awesome songs, and it’s been a while since I’ve heard ‘down in Arkensas, they serve you Coleslaw!’ so I was a happy camper. Also, the fact that we were dinking bottles of, ahem, juice, didn’t hurt either ;). We were all being so silly and jumping around and just STFOing. My favourite night of dancing in a while, for sure.

Jean and Bromley having ‘Tango Dreams’ (thats what the poster on the wall behind them says :))

me & Matt

The other highlight of the night and the weekend was my PRETTY new dress. Oh, it’s so very pretty! Blue and spotty, and I’d been dying to wear it ever since I fell in love with it in New Orleans. And I did, and felt like a princess. Joy!

So that was the third lindy exchange weekend in a row, proving that no amount of Lindy Hop is ever too much.

Other than that, I’ve been going on some splendid adventures lately! Antho and I biked down to this garbage dump that the hippies have turned into works of art, and its right by the sea and it was awesome. Good place for playing castle and mucking around like kids. Melbourne uni kids would like it lots. Also, I went adventuring up the hill and off the road in the Berkeley hills on the day the weather broke and the rain started to come down. I found yellow gum boots in the free pile and put them to good use. After practically falling down a cliff to get there, we found a river with a canopy of trees and a swing and a birds nest. And so we danced there and got rained on and it was wonderful. Berkeley is beautiful!

the view of the sea!

cool castle window

Antho on the swing in thew woods

I went on an excursion with my swing students to Cat’s Corner, the Wednesday night venue in San Fran. It was great! They were so enthusiastic and danced almost every song. It makes me want to be as energetic and enthusiastic again. (Not that I’m old and withered or anything, just things are exciting in a different way when you’re a total beginner) they were awesome and I felt chuffed. 🙂

Curtis the Pumpkin

bunch of the pumpkins (mine is the giant one!)

Tonight I got home from a super long day only to be greeted by PUMPKIN CARVING in the common room! Woop! So exciting; Halloween is just around the corner. So I carved my first Pumpkin, which started as evil Harry Potter, and ended up as Curtis, a friend who boards at CZ 😀

Curtis with the back side of my pumpkin 🙂

Curtis and I 🙂

Gareth is in the stripey shirt

Oh, I thought I was done. But I seem to have forgotten the most epic event of the last week: the WWE party. It involved a Keg race between the two sides of the house, sumo wrestling suits, and a foam pool. It was CRAZY. I am BRUISED. It was so much fun! The hundred’s side won the keg race, (of course; we are definitely more awesome!) I sumo-ed against Gareth and lost spectacularly (he is a quarterback), and the foam pool…. Was just a free for all that I’m not sure I can even talk about on this blog. Suffice to say the one photo I took of it is never being displayed publicly 😀 it was awesome!

Australia Vs New Zealand

So behold: I manage to balance dancing with non dancing!

Love and miss you all 🙂

xx

Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon

So my housemates are seriously discussing an intervention into my apparent dancing madness. It’s probably a good thing. A vague hiking trip to Lake Tahoe is planned, as are a few shopping days in San Francisco. I’m excited. This week I have a midsemester exam, and an assignment due, which is good. I’m coming to like the way things work here; there are always things due, but they are never worth very much, so you are never too stressed for an assignment.

The weather is still holding strong; it’s about 30 degrees every day which is lovely. This makes evenings in our house hot tub, or sleeping on the roof with 6packs of beer possible. I’m telling you, this is the life! 🙂 I’ve spent many lazy afternoons in the sun on campus lying on the grass.
The Campanile (giant Clocktower) at night, from below

The Geodome on the 30o’s roof where I have been sleeping the past couple of nights 🙂 isn’t that pretty?~

Last night was Oktoberfest at CZ so there was folk-y German music playing in the commonroom and a lot of beer. Fun times!


In other news; I’m very torn and trying to extend my stay here a little, if possible…. 5 months isn’t nearly enough! But am waiting to see what Melbourne Uni says about it. If not, I’ll just have to go on exchange again during postgraduate. Lau, we should totally go to the same place at the same time.
Otherwise, last weekend was boogie by the bay, a giant West Coast Swing event with a little Lindy Hop on the side. It was an experience, I’m telling you that!
What I learned:
• West Coast Swing is like the awkward niece of Lindy Hop who has gone off the rails a bit and no one likes to talk about.
• If you want to West Coast, you should quickly attain some fancy work pants, an off the shoulder sparkly top, and an ability to act out the words of a song as you hear them, charade-style. Also learn how to backlead.
• Many of the people who dance West Coast are Cougars and creepy old guys
• Listen to a lot of top 40 music. As a dj, play the same song more than once in a night, perhaps even in the same set.
• Learn how to body roll a lot and flip your hair. Learn how to stare deeply into your partner’s eyes without blinking whilst dancing.
• Learn how to dance lyrically and learn amazing spin technique.

As far as I could tell, that’s all you need to know to be able to fake it decently at west coast! Westies all dance down the line a lot which makes their dance floors very organized, with few collisions. We earned many dirty looks when we danced a bit of Lindy on those floors (Lindy is far more circular and disorganized, it moves around creatively as it wants to. Leads have to work far harder in Lindy to protect their followers from collisions.)

how wonderful are Bearded Rhythm?!

So the weekend was grand heaps of fun, a small event Lindy-wise, but still good times! This weekend is Sacramento Lindy exchange, which should be small and heaps of fun!

Finally, Laura, you know how when I was packing you let me bring hardly any clothing at all? Remember how you said I would go shopping and buy heaps of stuff?

Well you lied! I haven’t had time to yet, and I’m having to do washing almost every week! I’m practically wearing the same thing every day, and its more than a little frustrating! Gah!

the sun this morning over campus 🙂

To wrap up, MAZEL TOV to Bonnie for getting principal bass In the Australian Youth Orchestra, you should ALL go catch her playing sometime, she is a rockstar. 🙂

Also, Hannah, your package is the light of my life, and my room is fully adorned with glowsticks. You’re truly excellent!

Mbali: how were October tests? Not quite as good as Oktoberfest? (bahaha, hilarious me.)

Wow, bad jokes means it’s time to post this! xxxx

chairs atop the watermelon slice

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?

I really, really do. I can’t remember who it was that said, before I left, “Oh! New Orleans! I know that place! We studied it in my geography class as the city most likely to be destroyed by natural disaster!”

Wow, I really hope that ever happens. This city, for lovers of jazz, is like going home. I was staying 5 minutes walk from the French quarter, where every thirty meters there is a veritable vivi-trap, in the form of live music, amazing live jazz. Combine this with an abundance of amazing, hardcore Lindy Hoppers, and you have vivi-heaven. New Orleans is my Vegas. After five days of solid dancing, very little sleep, and one hundred new friends, it has really captured my heart!

a random band jamming 🙂

First though, I have to thank Dad for my MAD AIRPORT SKILLZ. My first flight, to Houston, was delayed two hours, because of some technical fault. Whilst this distressed me, as it meant I would miss most of the Thursday night dance, I wasn’t really worried. Surely I would make it to New Orleans that night.

When it looked like we were going to touch down after the last flight to New Orleans left, I began to panic. Staying overnight in Houston, alone in a hotel when I could be dancing? aaaaagh! I thought; what would dad do? (if he was sitting in economy). He would do SOMETHING, for sure. So I worked myself into a bit of a state, went to the stewardess and with big earnest eyes said “Please, mate, I’ve come all the way from Australia for my brother’s wedding at 9am tomorrow in New Orleans. If I miss it, it will be completely devastating!”

The river and the city form the plane window!

They found me a spot on the plane. Thank goodness! no staying overnight in texas, in an airport!

Other than that, the weekend was incredible. A pool party in the French quarter at 2am Thursday night, a giant, second line parade with a big band on Friday – we danced through the streets of the city – it was CRAZY! There should be a parade like that every day, oh my goodness. We were solo jamming all the way around New Orleans 🙂

The firday night dance was my FAVOURITE. We danced on the Creole Queen riverboat on the MISSISSIPPI. Wow. Wow. How magical, two dancefloors, so much beautiful space, the riverboat, the river, the lights, the wind, the night. I was entranced. And then Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns for the late night, and when she sang Everybody Loves my Baby the floor went nuts! I got so injured; there was absolutely NO space to dance 🙂

Saturday was dancing outside in the markets. They set up a floor suspended higher up like a stage. But under the weight of so many people pulsing and bouncing on it, it was constantly bouncing! I loved it; it felt like you were dancing simultaneously with everyone on the floor!

The competitions on Saturday were fierce. Two Swedish girls were in the showdown semifinals against Sharon and Juan, and they brought it so hardcore. It was nuts! The judges were undecided twice and they just had to keep dancing, in the sun, in the heat. They were dying, but they didn’t show it!

Saturday night at the wax museum upstairs dancefloor; please, just watch Bobby and Chance dance off 🙂

Sunday early morning (6.30 am after the amazing late night finished) we went and got beignets, which are traditional New Orlean-ian donuts! They are COVERED with icing sugar, and when Raj (trouble maker) realized I had never had them before, he picked up the full plate and just blew icing sugar right into my face, and all over me! I looked like it was snowing, or I had severe dandruff, or I was on crack or something 🙂

the beignets!

sweet and sugary

Alex, Jenny and I

And as you can see, he got it all over my pretty pretty hairdo which Alicia, a new friend of mine did for me. Check out the 20’s pin curls! I NEED to learn how to do this. I’ve never felt so pretty!

(when I took the bottom out!)

Sunday I took classes with Chazz Young and Sugar Sullivan, some original Savoy ballroom dancers! I also met Norma Miller. What a sweetheart. That lady sure does love her fried chicken though.

There was so much more – a venue hop on Sunday afternoon where all the different bands were playing at once all on the same street. You went from bar to bar and danced and drank and talked. It was wonderful. And then Tuba Skinny playing Sunday night at the House of Blues was just my favourite. Amazing blues, amazing competitions, amazing dances. A beautiful space, to top it off! Tuba Skinny rock my socks. More beignets, because they are just amazing, and then a bike ride through the city in pursuit of the perfect frock on Monday, as well as a baseball game (hilarious, so all American!)

(before the dancing really got started)

What an adventure! It wore me out, inspired me SO much, and showed me just how amazing Jazz and Lindy Hop are all over again. I guess it’s getting to sound a bit obsessive to you all, but all I can really think of doing now is dancing. It is so full of joy, and everything I love! I have been on the biggest high all week. And I made so many great friends there 🙂

(porch swiiiing!)

After all that, I just wanted to say that to Lib and the people who keep checking this, I know you’re there, and I love you!

To Michael, who sent me a mug all the way from Budapest, you are WONDERFUL.

I saw these in NOLA and thought of you :)!

To Mum Dad and Mbali; I miss you!

To Poshi, aka. Sholecia, Happy Birthday lovely!

And to Hayden, just because I know you don’t like being left out: hi! 😉

Xxx

And that’s all I have to say about that.

from the plane window, sunset over the mississippi….

The Berkeley Diaries Cont….

Lots of wonderful things are happening! Small moments of productivity, big discoveries, down time, too much up time, but most of all this is a wonderful place to be.

Last night Kyle rocked up at CZ (literally, he broke in, I looked up and there he was in the living room) and kidnapped me into a concert at a place called Freight and Salvage. It was totally unexpected, and totally wonderful! This traditional Irish band was playing, 5 guys; an Electric Bass, a fiddle, a guitar, an Irish Piper and a flautist….. it was amazing! They were so together, and I loved the Irish accents. After only hearing my awkward Australian-ness in the midst of the American drawl, it was super refreshing!

A beautiful thing here is the afternoon sun. It catches on the buildings in campus and on the redwoods in the Berkeley hills and makes them glow in a golden sheen, as if someone has draped a gossamer blanket over the world. It kisses your face and makes you feel as if you have energy when you’re running on empty. I love the afternoons here.

So, also, I am helping vamp up the dancing scene at Berkeley. There is an amazing structure in place for introducing new dancers to the scene; they have a troupe for newer dancers, as well as the SwingCal subject that I’m helping teach! But they don’t have anywhere for students to practice, for whomever to come and just dance, because there is no equivalent here to the Unimelb student union which lets us use rooms with wooden floors…. And after 3 weeks of dancing on concrete, I have had had enough!

So I am using my copious inside connections, (thankyou, co-op with 126 roommates!) to book us a room, as well as the super sneakiness taught to me by S.C.U.M to help break us into empty rooms when we have no booked ones 🙂 it is fun!

Also, teaching is heaps of fun. It’s really nice to be able to give people dancing tips in a constructive way that doesn’t make them upset. When you’re put in a position of a teacher, people listen to you! It’s exciting to see people improve and get excited about Lindy Hop.

What else? I had to drop my Harry Potter DeCal 😦 I really needed the time in the week to do other work and catch up on sleep, especially as I have about 4 dance exchanges coming up in the coming month. There are only 3 days left until ULHS and I really can barely contain excitement….

but here are some people playing land quidditch, for all you furious Potter fans who are now out for my blood 🙂

I went to San Francisco the other day, and went on this cable-car tour ride thing for free with a friend, behold some of the photos!

Also, we went up the clear elevators in Union Square. They are magnificent and amazing…! You get this rushing view of the city as you zoom up, and suddenly pop! You’re at the top with a full moon and shining city out in front of you. Incredible. Sadly, it’s not the kind of thing you can capture on camera, which, in some ways makes it better.

Right now I am sitting in Zak’s room doing work and listening to his electronic music/ DubStep….. well, by doing work I mean procrastinating.  Zak has a fluffy dresser. It looks like a muppet with drawers. Odd.

Last night we had Human Chess in the common room, but apathy won. The pieces who didn’t get developed early enough soon got bored and left…. Boo! I was getting really into it. I’ve become somewhat of a chess addict whilst being here. People are always invariably sitting on the balcony playing chess, and so I have become sucked in…. ditto for foozball, the ‘gentleman’s sport’.

Also, I went to a frat party! My first, and hopefully my last one…. I knew a couple of people who lived at the frat, so that was fun, but the place was filled with overly drunk individuals who either have no intelligent ability left, or simply want to take advantage of the people with no intelligent ability. The average age was a little younger, and everyone was dancing all up in each other’s business in a way that I had just ever seen so blatantly before. I went to dance but soon had to leave because I was just going to have to hit too many people in order to get my own space 🙂

The Frats and Sororities here are apparently not all as bad as we see in Legally Blonde, but I haven’t seen it yet…. It’s pretty much a Jocks and their Gals kind of culture that I don’t really get, a kind of voluntary idiocy with the aim of hooking up with randoms…. *sigh*

I also went to a blues house dance party…. (Isaac and blues co, emulate this please!) It was awesome! Just a beautiful big hardwood floor, fairy lights, nibblies and good music! And a sukkah out the back, with these beautiful hanging candles. I got excited because I didn’t think I’d be in a sukkah this year, what with living at the coops etc. It was really the perfect venue, and I enjoyed myself super much-ly.

Lastly, handed in my first big Berkeley paper (assignment) today…. Eep!

Now, it is more than time to end this, it is getting egregiously long.

Xxxxx SO much love to Hannah and Amy, for their amazingly wonderfully beautiful letters which made me so ridiculously happy!

SFLX (San Francisco Lindy Exchange)

So the people in my drug den think that I’m hardcore

Though I missed the naked kitchen dance party that happened on Saturday night, the dance party that went on in San Francisco this weekend was so many kinds of excellent that I can’t even regret 🙂

It began with the wonderful Kim Nalley on Thursday night at the 9.20 Special dance. What a packed floor! She was WONDERFUL, what a voice, what an amazing stage presence. She wore this giant white flower on top of her head and just sang all of my favourites – A-tisket a-tasket, when you’re smiling, I wish I knew how it would feel to be free….. So many more! And she sang this awesome blues number “My man has a big long slidey thing” and at the end she says “I’m talking about a trombone, y’all, get your minds out of the gutter!” it was hilarious. I loved it.

So I arrived home after the perfect night of dancing to live music, and what should I find in my mailbox!? A letter from the loveliest Hannah Jones, full not only of excellent love, but including notes from a whole bunch of people from brats!!! I was so fantastically happy, I couldn’t even fall asleep. 🙂

Jammin with Kyle 🙂

Yom Kippur was Friday night and Saturday, and though there are about 25 in my house’s Jew crew, I’m pretty sure I was the only one fasting…. Ah, Berkeley and the co-ops and all the hippies who believe only in trees and drugs… I never want to leave! 🙂

But Saturday and Sunday nights, there was more dancing, and I danced until 5 and 6am respectively. I love late nights so much – people stop trying and just let it all out, and you have the best dances ever…. I had a dance with Alex where we just held on with our pinkies 🙂

more jammin!

My favourite band was the Sunday night band. They had a wicked horn section, played to the crowd exactly, played faster music (goodness, I miss the tempo of Seattle!) and I didn’t sit down one song they played! I was so so wrecked by 4am Monday morning – Kyle and I went and got 7/11 coffee…. The one with extra caffeine… I took 3 sips and was bouncing off the walls! It should be illegal, that much caffeine… it’s like straight adrenaline into your body.

BARTing home, monday morning

But the hardcore part of the weekend was still to come – in the form of a five hour central kitchen workshift at 8am on Monday…. I had arrived home at 7am, watched the sun rise over the bay and Berkeley on my roof (through the fog, of course!) changed out of my nice clothes and stacked boxes of fruit for five hours…. Then I managed a shower, and a half hour nap before my 3 hour class began! And then, because I was in this surprisingly dapper mood (possibly still high on a weekend of swingouts), I did an hour of homework before dinner, and eventual sleep.

sunrise over berkeley, sunday morning…. the Campanile is still lit up 🙂

And THAT, my friends, is why I believe in sleeping only when you are dead.

Sunday Night Shenaigans….

So last night we got a little bored…?

David Spinning up a storm…

and me!!!

Brianna, after playing Kings Cup.

yes, yes that is our house’s giant salad bowl 🙂