So… You Want to Be a Blogger?

After I finished my last post on my one year anniversary of Zumba, I realized it was also my one year anniversary of.. Blogging. Realizing I had even less worthwhile expertise, knowledge and ability in blogging then I did in Zumba, I knew I just had to write about it. Since I’m an idiot, who writes, as compared to a “writer”, I begin with apologies to real “writers”. I know you’re out there, I’ve read your writing. I admire you and your writing. There is no advice for you here. Probably not even humor for you here, so “click on” lest your zeitgeist be offended.

My blogging began innocently enough. I went to a Zumba class, and came home and posted about it. After a bunch of likes and ha, ha, ha’s and a few, “you should write a blog”, I went to another Zumba class and wrote another post about it, and got some more, “you should write a blog”, so after some thought I did.

The reason I’m writing this blog, is that the experience of setting up, and figuring out the blogosphere has been one of the most mind numbing, confusing, unbelievable technological journeys of my life, so as an old, non techy person, I thought I’d pass on what I’ve learned.

1. Everyone will tell you its “easy”. They tell you the same thing about having a baby. They are liars. Its not. Its hard as hell. Find that IT Computer Expert Hacker Software Fix a Computer friend of yours who used to be a programmer at the NSA and taught all those machines to download all our cell phone stuff and spy on us. You know, the guy/gal who, with all their friends, are always showing off always talking in initials to each other. “Hey, hows the IPXN, going? “Aw, shit, I don’t know, my CXPY is just fried”. “Bahahaha, you can depend on that shitty hardware.” This goes on for half a page of posts until you feel like you flunked out of 3rd grade. Yeah, those guys/chicks. They can set up your blog page for you. You can’t. Also, there’s a gazillion choices of blogger places to choose from and once you get there, 4,795 different themes to pick out. Its mind numbing. Just mind numbing. Just on this wordpress.com site alone, they claim to be responsible for almost 20% of web traffic. Here’s a good article on 10 of the best free sites. http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/best-free-blogging-sites/#!GfeLA

2. But fear not, no one will actually read what you write. All that stuff you read about going viral, getting famous – yeah, right after the little old lady in Manhattan who played her Chinese fortune cookie numbers and won 5 million dollars and quit her job at the sewing factory and is moving to Paris with her lesbian lover, after buying her great grandchildren a new house. Yes, that happens, but not to you. Or me. Blogging is like disrobing in a crowded public place. Which, I agree, is frightening and humiliating. Until you realize everyone is walking by and not looking. Or caring. Or watching. Or even glancing.

3. Pay NO attention to your followers. Most of mine are people selling: diet schemes by mail; ways to get rich selling online ads, or how to sell diet schemes, or how to get rich doing nothing all day at home, or some of it really makes not sense at all “something or others”. WordPress also counts my entire Facebook friend count, since I post from Facebook. This does not require that anyone of my Facebook friends actually READS the blog. Based on some word of mouth feedback, and just some basic logical deduction, I’m guessing that my 743 followers listed by WordPress actually comes down to about 6 people who actually read my blog. Which is ok, but…. you get my drift.

4. So, think of blogging as a big, narcissistic diary, drawn on a fancy Louis the XVI Mirror, in cheap hooker lipstick, that everyone can read, but no one does. Which comes to think of it, if blogging actually gave us all a little humility, then maybe its a good thing after all.

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Zumba One Year Anniversary Wednesday April 23rd 2014

WOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO I made it a year, and like yoga, and Argentine Tango, I have never been so happy to be doing something I am no better at than when I started. I think Anniversaries are a time for reflection, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned and accomplished in a year. Let’s start with just a little of what I wrote exactly one year ago today:

“Just got back from my first ever Zumba class. Thankfully no scarlet letters or getting tied to a stake was involved. Yes, if you’ve never been, the rest of the class looks like those happy, healthy people you’ve seen on the infomercials dancing to a joyous, driving beat. I, on the other hand, looked like a cardiac patient playing Charades to the same music and my word was “epileptic seizure”. ….. Thanks Dale Ellison. Can’t wait to come back. Maybe for my next class of charades I’ll try “drunk on a electric fence”.” (The rest can be found at https://humorforthehorizontallychallenged.wordpress.com/2013/04/)

So lets reflect on the progress made and things learned over one year:
1. Out of about 79 completely different routines I am pretty confident on 3. Well maybe 4. But definitely 3. And, if she leaves any one of those off her playlist for two long, then I have to relearn it. It’s a constant Alzheimer’s exam. And I’m failing.

2. I now look (make that gasp) at the clock every 15 minutes; First quarter – “ugh”. 30 minutes – “damn it, I’m running out of gas”. 45 minutes – “I am soooo toast, but I can make it 15 more minutes”. (or maybe not). But a year ago I was going once a week and now I’m going three times a week. Which probably suggests I need therapy.

3. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all. Do NOT tease/satirize the songs/choice of songs/choreography of songs or in anyway appear to do so in your blog ‘cuz the instructor (Momma) owns the playlist and the choreography and she will get even. Consciously or unconsciously. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all. Having done that several times, there are now several songs in which the movements of a hummingbird look like an old person on Quaaludes to me. No matter how fast you think a song is, or hard the routine is, there’s one out there that’s faster and harder. Note to self – Shut up. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all.

4. This is a lesson I started doing in yoga class, which I have transferred to Zumba class. When in intense pain, I tend to curse loudly and vociferously, (but silently, very silently) in my own head. I know, this is not very Zen and I am working on changing this habit. While I am working on finding a better mantra, for now, when I do this, I smile broadly. The instructors love this. I love that I’m smiling, all the while thinking “MOTHER fu%*er” in my pain seared brain. It also makes the pain more tolerable.(Sometimes I think other things, but you get the idea, and I do try to keep this as PG as possible, which is why I post so seldom as this seriously limits what gets past my filter)

5. All the women in class are smart, lovely, joyous, friendly, warm, welcoming, and interesting. Especially the Alpha’s, you know how you are. And the tango crossovers. And I’m not positive, but I think maybe the lady from Brooklyn is not going to have me wacked after all. However, after a year, I have just graduated to “token ‘dude’, ‘guy’ ‘man’. I’m not sure if that means my masculinity is or isn’t in question. Besides the “token” thing, its making me a little nervous, but I’ve kept my filter on. I’ve just “smiled”. Last night, in class, a girl walks up to me before class starts and says; “You’re a man taking this class!”. My mind immediately raced through a half dozen smart ass replies, but Dale has me on a very short leash, so I said, “Yes”, not sure if it was a compliment or not that she noticed. She actually had invited her Dad to class and was just excited there actually was a guy who had committed hari kari and had been going for a year.

6. Sheniqua is on the injured list, and is out for the season with a knee injury, but Dale has put up yellow crime scene tape around her spot, and we’re awaiting word from Marcus Lattimore’s knee surgeon as to when we can expect her return to the team. Go SHENIQUA!!!!!

8. They had a party tonight for my Anniversary. Ok, it wasn’t for my anniversary. Ok, it had nothing to do with me, they have a social get together a couple of times a year, and it just happened to fall on my one year anniversary, but hey, I got invited. It was a beautiful home. How beautiful you ask? Have you been to the Biltmore estate and toured the house? That nice, but updated, with nicer countertops and appliances. And on the beach. With a pool. My condo would fit in the kitchen. Both floors. I resisted all my favorite things, like chocolate covered strawberries and liquor filled pudding cups. On one of the refusals, someone was very sweet and commented on my 27lb weight loss ( I really don’t look any smaller yet, at this size, I need to lose ANOTHER 30 pounds before you can really see a difference but I had just posted about it that morning on FB) and I said, thanks, but I have 88 pounds to go. She said, ” were you 88 pounds less, recently? “Yes”, I said, “1979. And that seems very recently to me.”

I love these people. I love this class. I could NOT be any worse at it. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all.

Men: How to know when your Dancing is Not up to Par and Needs Therapy

I arrived at my private Argentine Tango Lesson on Friday and said, “I need Tango therapy”. “What’s wrong?”, she asked. “I seem to dance fine at classes, but then I go to milongas [social dances] and my dancing just falls apart.” I’m not sure if it’s performance impotence or premature ambulation”. She laughed, then looked at me with that look that was a cross between regret that the ACLU provided the State an excuse to close all the mental health hospitals in the state and the look that says “I want to beat you with a tire iron”, which reminds me wistfully of my mother, who died in 1988, but all she said was “I’m not going there”. Then she said, “What do you think it is?”, to which I replied, “I don’t know, that’s why I’m here”. I love when you go to a doctor or other professional and they ask, “what do you think it is?” uhhh, if I had figured it out, would I be here? Anyway, she asked me how I knew my dancing was falling apart, then of course, she pretty immediately figured it out, and fixed it, which is why she is the goddess of tango and Zumba and all things dancing.

However, the rest of the day, I did reflect on her question, “how did you know your dancing was falling apart?” question, and it occurred to me that if SHE didn’t know how I knew, then maybe other guys needed some help figuring out when THEIR dancing needed some help. So, while I’m not expert, here’s just a partial list of clues you might focus on that’s suggestion your dancing at social dances needs some work. While this is taken from Argentine Tango, I’m pretty sure this applies to the Shag, Ballroom Dancing, Contra Dancing, maybe even free style, rock and roll dancing, as when it comes to dancing, I think women are pretty universal in this regard.

1. When most of the women you dance with, look at you at the end of the dance, like your neighbor does, when someone’s dog craps on her yard, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

2. When she gets back to the table, and takes out a voo doo doll that remarkably looks like you and starts sticking knitting needles through the groin area, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

3. When you’re dancing with someone you’ve danced with many times before, and both of you know things aren’t going well, and she blames the floor, the lighting, the humidity, and the recent outbreak of solar flares, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

4. When you go to a table where a lady you have previous asked to dance is sitting to ask someone else to dance, and the entire rest of the table gets overactive bladder and leaps to the bathroom likes the starting gun for the Boston Marathon has just gone off, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

5. At the end of the tanda, she looks at you and says “thank you”, but has that same expression on her face you saw those few days when Nelson Mandela died, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

6. At the end of the dance, when she has that look in her eyes, like your loved one does, as if you just gave her a vacuum cleaner for Valentines day, instead of the lingerie, diamond necklace, and massage she was hoping for, then this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

Hope it helps.

Clarifying Yoga Instructions or “Pull Your Lower Belly In and Up”

Ok, I admit it. After 6 years of yoga classes there are still some yoga instructions regularly given in every basic class that make absolutely no sense to me so I’m here to confess.

The last straw, in cliché speak, was in Maria’s (we’ll call her “Maria” ’cause that’s, well, her real name) Thursday night yoga class at the Holy Sutra and Va Va Voom Vinyassa Yoga Studio. (Not the real name, you don’t think I’m stupid, do you? Ok, not a good question to ask).

So, we’re standing at the top of the mat, and Maria says she’s going to explain the oft-repeated instruction to “pull in your lower belly”. Oh good, I think, because when I send this command from my brain to my nether regions, absolutely NOTHING happens. In this way, yoga has helped me to understand what it must feel like to be paralyzed. There are many yoga instructions where I send these commands to my whatever part of the body, absolutely NOTHING happens.

“Called “uddiyana bandha” (ooo-dee-YAH-na BAHN-da)”, she says, measure three fingers below your navel, and then feel this muscle. This is the transverse abdominal, or the muscle that you engage, when you’re asked to ‘pull in your lower belly”. I follow this instruction. I feel no muscle whatsoever. I do however feel something akin to the last time I went to a butcher and had a five-pound fresh slab of extra fatty smoked bacon prepared for me. I’m tempted to speak up and ask what if I feel THAT, but I know from experience the skinny people do not always appreciate these comments. In case you think I’m making this up, (which wouldn’t be completely unfair since that’s the nature of hyperbole), or in the completely weird event you’re actually INTERESTED in the topic and want a SERIOUS discussion, see http://www.thesecretsofyoga.com/yoga-articles/Uddiyana-Bandha.html.

For those of you who are considering yoga but have not taken it, it helps if you understand that all yoga instructors are from the marvel comics, but have to go to Dalai Lama school before they can teach yoga. This insures they can both handle their super power (you know, levitate right side up AND UPSIDE DOWN, do a handstand with no hands, make their soul glow in the dark, or shoot rainbows out their ass. I swear I saw that once. Ok, maybe I was delirious) AND that you won’t, in projecting your self frustration at not being able to “pull in your lower belly” stab them in the parking lot after class.

“Glide your shoulder blades down the back”. WHAT? Yes, I saw “Avatar”. AND the AVENGERS. So, what. Here’s the thing. My shoulders do one thing. Shrug. It’s a DNA guy thing. Ex GF- “I’m leaving you”. “Shrug”. “Do you want to talk to me or watch this TV program?” Shrug. I’m not even sure I HAVE shoulder blades. I don’t even know what that means?!?!?!

While you’re laying on your stomach, “put your toes, the top of your feet AND YOUR SHINS FLAT on the floor. I cannot get my shins on the floor from any position. Even kneeling. Here’s a little test you can try. Stick your leg out. Bend your foot forward. If your foot bends sooooooo far forward it’s at a 180 degree straight line with the rest of your leg, you can probably get your shins on the floor. You are also probably a Marvel Comics baby whether you know it or not, and should check in at the closest yoga studio so they can tell you about Dalai Lama school.

For a later blog, “press your hip points into the floor”. “Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama”.