gilana: (Default)
I went to see Savion Glover tonight. He's an amazing tap dancer -- watching his feet move so fast that a cloud of dust rose from the stage, I could easily believe that it was actually smoke, and that he would end up engulfed in a pillar of flame created by a pair of magic shoes.

But what struck me most about his performance in the end was the specificity, which is something I've been thinking about a lot for a while now. Savion knows exactly what sound every fraction of every inch on his shoe will make, how those sounds will differ on every section of the stage, and how to use those sounds softly or loudly and fast or slow to create amazing patterns and soundscapes that somehow end up expressing something. It's not just a matter of a shuffle or a toe dig; he has an entirely vocabulary that is miles beyond what most dancers can do, and he uses it intentionally.

It's the same in design. Some people might choose to use a sans serif font, and just go with Arial or Helvetica, where I might choose Univers 47 Condensed Light at 10/12 leading tracked out to 10.

It's there in writing; a rose might be red, or it could be a deep velvety crimson. A person can say something, or they can cry it, whisper it haltingly, mutter it… I'm not a writer, but you get what I mean.

I've been struggling over the past few years to really grok specificity in acting. I think I've made some progress on gesture -- I'm trying to move away from just waving my hands about, as we often do in normal conversation, and more toward specific choices, for example, a reaching motion that comes from the shoulder and uses the space around me, and that gets held until a specific beat in the scene. The harder part for me to pin down is in intention -- making emotions specific, figuring out precise relationships, knowing what I want from the other characters… there's a lot to work on there.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that there is specificity to be found in everything -- in painting, in cooking, in clothing, in speech. So! Where do you find it in your life? I challenge you to think about some of your choices over the next day or two and share with me some stories of where specificity matters to you, and if you feel making more specific choices makes a difference.
gilana: (Default)
I went to see Savion Glover tonight. He's an amazing tap dancer -- watching his feet move so fast that a cloud of dust rose from the stage, I could easily believe that it was actually smoke, and that he would end up engulfed in a pillar of flame created by a pair of magic shoes.

But what struck me most about his performance in the end was the specificity, which is something I've been thinking about a lot for a while now. Savion knows exactly what sound every fraction of every inch on his shoe will make, how those sounds will differ on every section of the stage, and how to use those sounds softly or loudly and fast or slow to create amazing patterns and soundscapes that somehow end up expressing something. It's not just a matter of a shuffle or a toe dig; he has an entirely vocabulary that is miles beyond what most dancers can do, and he uses it intentionally.

It's the same in design. Some people might choose to use a sans serif font, and just go with Arial or Helvetica, where I might choose Univers 47 Condensed Light at 10/12 leading tracked out to 10.

It's there in writing; a rose might be red, or it could be a deep velvety crimson. A person can say something, or they can cry it, whisper it haltingly, mutter it… I'm not a writer, but you get what I mean.

I've been struggling over the past few years to really grok specificity in acting. I think I've made some progress on gesture -- I'm trying to move away from just waving my hands about, as we often do in normal conversation, and more toward specific choices, for example, a reaching motion that comes from the shoulder and uses the space around me, and that gets held until a specific beat in the scene. The harder part for me to pin down is in intention -- making emotions specific, figuring out precise relationships, knowing what I want from the other characters… there's a lot to work on there.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that there is specificity to be found in everything -- in painting, in cooking, in clothing, in speech. So! Where do you find it in your life? I challenge you to think about some of your choices over the next day or two and share with me some stories of where specificity matters to you, and if you feel making more specific choices makes a difference.
gilana: (sailing)
 Last fall, I went out on the Liberty Clipper a few times, remembered how much I love being out on boats, and vowed to learn to sail this spring so that I could spend more time on the water. Community Boating opened on April 1 this year, and I became a member three days later.

Today their season ended. In the intervening time, I have been out sailing 37 times. Two of those were on the Liberty Clipper again, three on the Schooner Fame in Salem, twice with someone at the Boston Harbor Sailing Center, and thirty times with CBI. I’ve been at the helm of boats ranging from the beginner’s Cape Cod Mercury to a 420 racing-class boat to the 50-foot Fame and the 125-foot Liberty Clipper (including getting to tack both of the latter!)

I learned to rig a boat, and how to furl and unrig it. I learned to tell where the wind is coming from, how to trim the sail appropriately, and how to use that wind to navigate to where I want to go. I learned to control the amount the boat heels so that I can skim along on a close haul, body hiked out over the rail, without taking on a drop of water. I learned to look at the water and see changes in the wind approaching. I also learned how to make decisions quickly and commit to them, how to make a passenger feel secure even if I’m panicking a little inside, how to teach others new skills patiently, and that sometimes I can do more than I think I can -- all of which have come in handy in directing, come to think of it.

I still have one groupon left for the Fame, so I’m hoping to get out to Salem some time during Halloween week for one last sail, but I’ve got to say, that was a heck of a good season. I’ll be counting the days until the spring!

(Also, for some reason I can't get LJ to let me upload a new icon of myself at the tiller of the Fame.   Phooey.  This is a photo from on board the Roseway, taken last fall.)
gilana: (sailing)
 Last fall, I went out on the Liberty Clipper a few times, remembered how much I love being out on boats, and vowed to learn to sail this spring so that I could spend more time on the water. Community Boating opened on April 1 this year, and I became a member three days later.

Today their season ended. In the intervening time, I have been out sailing 37 times. Two of those were on the Liberty Clipper again, three on the Schooner Fame in Salem, twice with someone at the Boston Harbor Sailing Center, and thirty times with CBI. I’ve been at the helm of boats ranging from the beginner’s Cape Cod Mercury to a 420 racing-class boat to the 50-foot Fame and the 125-foot Liberty Clipper (including getting to tack both of the latter!)

I learned to rig a boat, and how to furl and unrig it. I learned to tell where the wind is coming from, how to trim the sail appropriately, and how to use that wind to navigate to where I want to go. I learned to control the amount the boat heels so that I can skim along on a close haul, body hiked out over the rail, without taking on a drop of water. I learned to look at the water and see changes in the wind approaching. I also learned how to make decisions quickly and commit to them, how to make a passenger feel secure even if I’m panicking a little inside, how to teach others new skills patiently, and that sometimes I can do more than I think I can -- all of which have come in handy in directing, come to think of it.

I still have one groupon left for the Fame, so I’m hoping to get out to Salem some time during Halloween week for one last sail, but I’ve got to say, that was a heck of a good season. I’ll be counting the days until the spring!

(Also, for some reason I can't get LJ to let me upload a new icon of myself at the tiller of the Fame.   Phooey.  This is a photo from on board the Roseway, taken last fall.)

Helmsman

Jun. 28th, 2010 06:55 pm
gilana: (Default)
I've mentioned before the Mainsail class, which prepares you to take the Helmsman test. I took the class for the fourth time last Wednesday and finally managed to get out to the course without running around, figure out which way I was supposed to sail around the course, and successfully navigated to the buoys without losing them. And all this on a fairly windy day -- they actually had us take out Mercurys with keels, which are more stable than the centerboard ones we usually sail. Anyway, I did well enough that I thought I might be ready to try the Helmsman test, and my instructor agreed. And lots of people have to take the test a few times before they pass, so there's no shame in trying and failing.

They only let you take the test on red flag days, with higher winds, so I've been waiting for that since Wednesday. Today I spent hours checking their web site, watching to see the wind levels. When the winds were gusting to 30 knots, I felt that might be a bit much for me. But they finally settled down to about 9 knots, gusting to 20, and I figured I'd go down there and check it out.

When I got there, I asked the person in the dockhouse "How's it looking for the Helmsman test today?" He said "Grab a sail, let me know the number, and sail out to that motorboat on the river." I said, "Am I going to die?" He gave it a 50-50 chance. I said I'd take those odds. So I went to pick out a sail, carefully choosing a number that seemed lucky, rigged up my boat, taking my time to double-check everything and do everything I know how to de-power the sail a little for heavy winds, and sailed out to the course, taking a slightly longer than necessary path to give myself time to check out the conditions and try to settle my nerves. Honestly, the conditions weren't really much worse than I've been out in before, but knowing I was being tested made me extra nervous.

When I got out to the course, the guy giving the test told me to just go around the course, tacking and jibing as many times as I felt like along the way. Now, tacking is pretty easy; you're sailing as close in to the wind as you can, with the sail pretty tightly in, and you turn the bow of the boat 90 degrees so that the wind is coming from the other side and the sail switches sides. Piece of cake. Jibing, on the other hand... you jibe going downwind, so the sail is way out, nearly at right angles to the boat. You jibe by turned the stern of the boat through the eye of the wind, so that the wind catches the sail and SLAMS it over your head all the way to the other side of the boat. There are a lot of ways for this to go wrong. The most obvious is if you forget to duck; there's a reason it's called a "boom". Also, the weight of the boom hanging out over the boat can capsize you, if you don't get your weight over to the right side in time. And if you don't come out of the turn soon enough, the boat wants to keep turning into the wind, which makes you more unstable and can capsize you. So there's a lot to do very quickly, and it can get a lot more violent with strong winds.

Anyway. I made my tacks, kept close enough to the course, rounded the top buoy, and jibed my way back down. My first jibe was so smooth and controlled that I let out an involuntary "Yes!" I was just starting to turn to go around the course again, when the instructor zoomed up to me on the motorboat and said "You pass! Your tacks were good, your jibes were very VERY good. I don't have any feedback for you. As long as you dock ok, you pass."

Now, I've heard more than one story of someone passing the test only to fail for docking badly, so I was pretty cautious. I was a little worried that I was coming in too fast, thought about circling around and trying it again, but I had just enough space that I let the sail go entirely, came in at just the right angle, barely kissed the dock, and slowed enough that I could jump out and moor my boat.

Then all I had to do was furl my sail, let my legs stop shaking enough that I could walk to the dockhouse, get my card punched for "helmsman", take a picture of the card to post to facebook, and call my dad, from whom I get my sailing genes, to share the news.

So yay! From my first sail on April 4, to passing my Helmsman test on June 28. Not too shabby. Can't wait to start learning how to use a jib!

Helmsman

Jun. 28th, 2010 06:55 pm
gilana: (Default)
I've mentioned before the Mainsail class, which prepares you to take the Helmsman test. I took the class for the fourth time last Wednesday and finally managed to get out to the course without running around, figure out which way I was supposed to sail around the course, and successfully navigated to the buoys without losing them. And all this on a fairly windy day -- they actually had us take out Mercurys with keels, which are more stable than the centerboard ones we usually sail. Anyway, I did well enough that I thought I might be ready to try the Helmsman test, and my instructor agreed. And lots of people have to take the test a few times before they pass, so there's no shame in trying and failing.

They only let you take the test on red flag days, with higher winds, so I've been waiting for that since Wednesday. Today I spent hours checking their web site, watching to see the wind levels. When the winds were gusting to 30 knots, I felt that might be a bit much for me. But they finally settled down to about 9 knots, gusting to 20, and I figured I'd go down there and check it out.

When I got there, I asked the person in the dockhouse "How's it looking for the Helmsman test today?" He said "Grab a sail, let me know the number, and sail out to that motorboat on the river." I said, "Am I going to die?" He gave it a 50-50 chance. I said I'd take those odds. So I went to pick out a sail, carefully choosing a number that seemed lucky, rigged up my boat, taking my time to double-check everything and do everything I know how to de-power the sail a little for heavy winds, and sailed out to the course, taking a slightly longer than necessary path to give myself time to check out the conditions and try to settle my nerves. Honestly, the conditions weren't really much worse than I've been out in before, but knowing I was being tested made me extra nervous.

When I got out to the course, the guy giving the test told me to just go around the course, tacking and jibing as many times as I felt like along the way. Now, tacking is pretty easy; you're sailing as close in to the wind as you can, with the sail pretty tightly in, and you turn the bow of the boat 90 degrees so that the wind is coming from the other side and the sail switches sides. Piece of cake. Jibing, on the other hand... you jibe going downwind, so the sail is way out, nearly at right angles to the boat. You jibe by turned the stern of the boat through the eye of the wind, so that the wind catches the sail and SLAMS it over your head all the way to the other side of the boat. There are a lot of ways for this to go wrong. The most obvious is if you forget to duck; there's a reason it's called a "boom". Also, the weight of the boom hanging out over the boat can capsize you, if you don't get your weight over to the right side in time. And if you don't come out of the turn soon enough, the boat wants to keep turning into the wind, which makes you more unstable and can capsize you. So there's a lot to do very quickly, and it can get a lot more violent with strong winds.

Anyway. I made my tacks, kept close enough to the course, rounded the top buoy, and jibed my way back down. My first jibe was so smooth and controlled that I let out an involuntary "Yes!" I was just starting to turn to go around the course again, when the instructor zoomed up to me on the motorboat and said "You pass! Your tacks were good, your jibes were very VERY good. I don't have any feedback for you. As long as you dock ok, you pass."

Now, I've heard more than one story of someone passing the test only to fail for docking badly, so I was pretty cautious. I was a little worried that I was coming in too fast, thought about circling around and trying it again, but I had just enough space that I let the sail go entirely, came in at just the right angle, barely kissed the dock, and slowed enough that I could jump out and moor my boat.

Then all I had to do was furl my sail, let my legs stop shaking enough that I could walk to the dockhouse, get my card punched for "helmsman", take a picture of the card to post to facebook, and call my dad, from whom I get my sailing genes, to share the news.

So yay! From my first sail on April 4, to passing my Helmsman test on June 28. Not too shabby. Can't wait to start learning how to use a jib!
gilana: (sailing)
Yesterday, I was pleased to see that the bruises on my legs from banging into the centerboard as I switched sides were finally fading (and that I seem to be learning to get over without acquiring any more), especially since I have a friend's wedding coming up this weekend and I'd like to look good for it.

This morning, I notice that after my sailing class last night, the inside of my upper arms (which show much more than my legs do in the dress for the wedding) are covered in dozens of small bruises.

Ah well. Badges of honor.

So, after you get your solo rating at CBI, you're allowed to take out a Mercury alone on light-wind days. The next big step is to pass the Helmsman test, showing that you can handle the boat competently in higher wind, after which you are allowed out under most conditions, and can bring a passenger and even give instruction. To that end, they have an on-the-water Mainsail class, which basically mimics the Helmsman test -- a class of ten people go out on the water and sail a path around 2 or 3 buoys, tacking and jibing on the way. The instructor is out in a motorboat following you, yelling corrections, and rescuing you if you capsize (as a number seem to do in each class.)

The first time I tried the class, I failing to even get out to the course; I tried to tack on my way out there, stalled out, and got blown onto a little island that's between the docks and the main river body. I remembered my lessons and pulled up my centerboard, took off my rudder, took my mainsail halfway down, and waited to be rescued. They towed me back in, upon which I gamely set out again. This time I got out into the river but discovered that one of my main sheet (the rope that controls the lateral motion of the sail) had gotten messed up somehow. I tried to get into a position that would let me stay still enough to mess with it, but ended up getting blown onto the shore. I decided that running aground twice was probably a sign, and went out for a sail with someone else instead.

The second time I signed up for the class was for the last day of my 30-day membership. I thought about going out earlier that afternoon, but decided to wait and save my energy for the class. At the last minute, it got cancelled (and all sailing shut down) on account of thunderstorms.

(Luckily, their mission is "Committed to the advancement of Sailing for All by minimizing economic and physical obstacles to the sport of sailing", so they were really great about making financial arrangements so that I could afford a full year membership. Yay!)

The third time I tried the class, I made it out on the water before they had laid the course out, and spent a chunk of time wandering up and down river trying to find it. Once I eventually did find it, I had trouble trying to figure out which direction I was supposed to go around it, and then more trouble trying to find a course that would let me get to the buoys instead of just sailing to the wind, the way I usually do. So I spent pretty much the entire class confused and frustrated and just trying to get anywhere near the right place or on the right path (although at least sailing competently while I did so.)

(By the way, I know I'm not explaining a whole lot of the sailing terms in these posts. I'm not sure how much the details matter, whether it's confusing to non-sailors without explanation or if you get enough of the gist for it to be ok. So if you have particular questions, or want more explanation overall, let me know and I'll try to accomodate.)

That was Sunday May 16. I've gone out solo twice since then, and gotten some more practice in setting a course and trying to follow it, and I felt really ready for the class last night.

Ha.

I did manage to find the course this time, but the wind was much higher than I've gone out in solo before, and it was a *lot* harder to manage the boat. It was heeling dangerously while close-hauled, so I had to keep heading up and easing the sails to try to get it flatter, but then I'd veer off course, or the sail would get too far out, or I'd try to tack and end up in irons. And sometimes, especially going downwind, the tiller was stiff enough that I just could not get it to turn, no matter how I tried to muscle it around (hence the bruises). I was very glad that I had finally decided to invest in a pair of sailing gloves before I went out this time; I suspect my hands would be pretty torn up without them. I ended up in accidental jibes once or twice, and was pretty sure I was going to go over more than once, but managed to get across the boat and straighten it out quickly enough to stay afloat.

In the end, at least I was more on the course than I've been before, and I definitely understood how to tack back and forth to get to the buoy better than the last time, even if I had a hard time actually doing it sometimes. And given that at least two people capsized and one ran into a duck boat -- and that it was really crowded out there, so I was also dodging other novice sailors at any given point -- I have to say, I did ok over all. (And hey, once the instructor said "Nice tack!" after a particularly smooth move. So I'm getting something right, at least now and then.)

Clearly I'm not as ready for the Helmsman test as I had hoped, but that's ok. I'm planning to go out on some lighter-wind days and ask the dock staff if they'll lay out a practice course for me, so I can get more experience sailing around the course without having to fight as much wind (and other boats); breaking things down like that always helps me a lot. (And is part of why I've had trouble learning to drive, really -- there's only so much you can learn in a parking lot, and it's hard for me to deal with both learning to operate a vehicle at speed, and also dealing with other traffic, and navigation, and all that.)

And if you see my arms some time soon -- no, I haven't suddenly taken up heroin. It's another addiction entirely.
gilana: (sailing)
Yesterday, I was pleased to see that the bruises on my legs from banging into the centerboard as I switched sides were finally fading (and that I seem to be learning to get over without acquiring any more), especially since I have a friend's wedding coming up this weekend and I'd like to look good for it.

This morning, I notice that after my sailing class last night, the inside of my upper arms (which show much more than my legs do in the dress for the wedding) are covered in dozens of small bruises.

Ah well. Badges of honor.

So, after you get your solo rating at CBI, you're allowed to take out a Mercury alone on light-wind days. The next big step is to pass the Helmsman test, showing that you can handle the boat competently in higher wind, after which you are allowed out under most conditions, and can bring a passenger and even give instruction. To that end, they have an on-the-water Mainsail class, which basically mimics the Helmsman test -- a class of ten people go out on the water and sail a path around 2 or 3 buoys, tacking and jibing on the way. The instructor is out in a motorboat following you, yelling corrections, and rescuing you if you capsize (as a number seem to do in each class.)

The first time I tried the class, I failing to even get out to the course; I tried to tack on my way out there, stalled out, and got blown onto a little island that's between the docks and the main river body. I remembered my lessons and pulled up my centerboard, took off my rudder, took my mainsail halfway down, and waited to be rescued. They towed me back in, upon which I gamely set out again. This time I got out into the river but discovered that one of my main sheet (the rope that controls the lateral motion of the sail) had gotten messed up somehow. I tried to get into a position that would let me stay still enough to mess with it, but ended up getting blown onto the shore. I decided that running aground twice was probably a sign, and went out for a sail with someone else instead.

The second time I signed up for the class was for the last day of my 30-day membership. I thought about going out earlier that afternoon, but decided to wait and save my energy for the class. At the last minute, it got cancelled (and all sailing shut down) on account of thunderstorms.

(Luckily, their mission is "Committed to the advancement of Sailing for All by minimizing economic and physical obstacles to the sport of sailing", so they were really great about making financial arrangements so that I could afford a full year membership. Yay!)

The third time I tried the class, I made it out on the water before they had laid the course out, and spent a chunk of time wandering up and down river trying to find it. Once I eventually did find it, I had trouble trying to figure out which direction I was supposed to go around it, and then more trouble trying to find a course that would let me get to the buoys instead of just sailing to the wind, the way I usually do. So I spent pretty much the entire class confused and frustrated and just trying to get anywhere near the right place or on the right path (although at least sailing competently while I did so.)

(By the way, I know I'm not explaining a whole lot of the sailing terms in these posts. I'm not sure how much the details matter, whether it's confusing to non-sailors without explanation or if you get enough of the gist for it to be ok. So if you have particular questions, or want more explanation overall, let me know and I'll try to accomodate.)

That was Sunday May 16. I've gone out solo twice since then, and gotten some more practice in setting a course and trying to follow it, and I felt really ready for the class last night.

Ha.

I did manage to find the course this time, but the wind was much higher than I've gone out in solo before, and it was a *lot* harder to manage the boat. It was heeling dangerously while close-hauled, so I had to keep heading up and easing the sails to try to get it flatter, but then I'd veer off course, or the sail would get too far out, or I'd try to tack and end up in irons. And sometimes, especially going downwind, the tiller was stiff enough that I just could not get it to turn, no matter how I tried to muscle it around (hence the bruises). I was very glad that I had finally decided to invest in a pair of sailing gloves before I went out this time; I suspect my hands would be pretty torn up without them. I ended up in accidental jibes once or twice, and was pretty sure I was going to go over more than once, but managed to get across the boat and straighten it out quickly enough to stay afloat.

In the end, at least I was more on the course than I've been before, and I definitely understood how to tack back and forth to get to the buoy better than the last time, even if I had a hard time actually doing it sometimes. And given that at least two people capsized and one ran into a duck boat -- and that it was really crowded out there, so I was also dodging other novice sailors at any given point -- I have to say, I did ok over all. (And hey, once the instructor said "Nice tack!" after a particularly smooth move. So I'm getting something right, at least now and then.)

Clearly I'm not as ready for the Helmsman test as I had hoped, but that's ok. I'm planning to go out on some lighter-wind days and ask the dock staff if they'll lay out a practice course for me, so I can get more experience sailing around the course without having to fight as much wind (and other boats); breaking things down like that always helps me a lot. (And is part of why I've had trouble learning to drive, really -- there's only so much you can learn in a parking lot, and it's hard for me to deal with both learning to operate a vehicle at speed, and also dealing with other traffic, and navigation, and all that.)

And if you see my arms some time soon -- no, I haven't suddenly taken up heroin. It's another addiction entirely.
gilana: (Default)
Since my first solo sail last Monday, I went out a few more times with more experienced people (mostly on a slightly larger boat, but once on a Mercury), and got to take the tiller for a while on all of them.  I learned that a lot of the things I had been feeling badly about doing wrong my first time out were probably not wrong at all.  Like when I thought I couldn't find the wind... there probably just wasn't really any at that moment.  So I'm learning how to look at the water and see what the wind is doing, and see what's coming my way, and just wait and be prepared for it.  It's amazing how much information is there that I've never seen before -- slightly darker shadows to ripples, the patterns to the scatter of light on the surface, subtle lines of lighter and darker water, all with something to tell me.

(Also, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] miss_chance last Thursday and was chatting with her about my sailing experiences, and how hard I was being on myself about that first sail, when I realized that it had been only a week and a day from my first time there, learning to rig a boat and going out for the first time on a Mercury, to my first solo sail.  And I had only gone out twice more with other people first.  Geez, and I couldn't do it all myself perfectly?  What a slacker!)

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I checked the web site and saw that the green flag was up, meaning the wind was light enough for beginners, so I thought I'd give it another shot.  And it was *way* better than my first time!  I found a way of sitting and handling the tiller extension and sheet that was a lot more natural and comfortable, and I made some nice clean tacks and caught some nice wind and had some great moments of skimming along on a close haul.  Fun!  After about 20 minutes the wind started picking up and getting gustier, and I looked over at the dock house and saw the red flag had come up, so I went back in.  Had one scary jibe coming back where I forgot to change sides first and almost capsized, but I managed to get it back under control.

I put in my card for an instructional sail and got to go out again with two other people in a keel Mercury (as opposed to the centerboard ones I'm sailing on my own), and we were out for almost two hours, so I got a bunch more time at the tiller.  The woman who took us out said I did really well, and she didn't have to correct me very much, and I got to practice jibing more with her, so that was good.

I'm signed up for a mainsail class Sunday morning, where they'll take a small group of us out on the water and run us through drills, so I'll get more practice time with feedback.  When I signed up for it going in yesterday I was unsure if I was ready, but by the end of my time on the water, I was feeling a lot more confident about it.  After all, it's a class -- if I were doing everything perfectly already, I wouldn't need it, right?  So as long as I have the basics more or less, it should be a great opportunity to learn. 

Sadly, my cheap-o 30-day membership expires May 4, and I can't really afford the full membership.  I'm planning to go talk to them and see if there's any way I can barter design services (although I thought I'd wait a little so they can see how often I go and how serious I am about this), but we'll see.  Meanwhile, if you're looking for me anywhere between 1pm and sunset, I'm probably out on the water.
gilana: (Default)
Since my first solo sail last Monday, I went out a few more times with more experienced people (mostly on a slightly larger boat, but once on a Mercury), and got to take the tiller for a while on all of them.  I learned that a lot of the things I had been feeling badly about doing wrong my first time out were probably not wrong at all.  Like when I thought I couldn't find the wind... there probably just wasn't really any at that moment.  So I'm learning how to look at the water and see what the wind is doing, and see what's coming my way, and just wait and be prepared for it.  It's amazing how much information is there that I've never seen before -- slightly darker shadows to ripples, the patterns to the scatter of light on the surface, subtle lines of lighter and darker water, all with something to tell me.

(Also, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] miss_chance last Thursday and was chatting with her about my sailing experiences, and how hard I was being on myself about that first sail, when I realized that it had been only a week and a day from my first time there, learning to rig a boat and going out for the first time on a Mercury, to my first solo sail.  And I had only gone out twice more with other people first.  Geez, and I couldn't do it all myself perfectly?  What a slacker!)

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I checked the web site and saw that the green flag was up, meaning the wind was light enough for beginners, so I thought I'd give it another shot.  And it was *way* better than my first time!  I found a way of sitting and handling the tiller extension and sheet that was a lot more natural and comfortable, and I made some nice clean tacks and caught some nice wind and had some great moments of skimming along on a close haul.  Fun!  After about 20 minutes the wind started picking up and getting gustier, and I looked over at the dock house and saw the red flag had come up, so I went back in.  Had one scary jibe coming back where I forgot to change sides first and almost capsized, but I managed to get it back under control.

I put in my card for an instructional sail and got to go out again with two other people in a keel Mercury (as opposed to the centerboard ones I'm sailing on my own), and we were out for almost two hours, so I got a bunch more time at the tiller.  The woman who took us out said I did really well, and she didn't have to correct me very much, and I got to practice jibing more with her, so that was good.

I'm signed up for a mainsail class Sunday morning, where they'll take a small group of us out on the water and run us through drills, so I'll get more practice time with feedback.  When I signed up for it going in yesterday I was unsure if I was ready, but by the end of my time on the water, I was feeling a lot more confident about it.  After all, it's a class -- if I were doing everything perfectly already, I wouldn't need it, right?  So as long as I have the basics more or less, it should be a great opportunity to learn. 

Sadly, my cheap-o 30-day membership expires May 4, and I can't really afford the full membership.  I'm planning to go talk to them and see if there's any way I can barter design services (although I thought I'd wait a little so they can see how often I go and how serious I am about this), but we'll see.  Meanwhile, if you're looking for me anywhere between 1pm and sunset, I'm probably out on the water.

YJ100

Aug. 17th, 2009 04:36 pm
gilana: (Default)
I was very active in the Young Judaea youth group in high school. I didn't go on Year Course, but I was club and then regional programmer, I attended local conventions, and I went to Camp Tel Yehuda from 1984-86, I think it was, and then was a counselor in 1987, the summer before I started college. YJ is where I started to break out of my paralyzing shyness, and find people I could be comfortable with, and who seemed to value who I was. But after I started college, it faded from my life, and while I've been pleased and amused to find that a number of my shul friends are also Judaeans, it hasn't been much of a big deal. But when YJ had their 100th anniversary this Sunday, and it turned out some friends were going, it sounded like too much fun to miss.

Sadly, [livejournal.com profile] ablock and Meredith decided at the last minute that they had too much wedding planning left to be able to make it (ironically, on the wedding that they are in large part styling after TY), but Pup was gracious enough to let us borrow his baby -- er, car. So [livejournal.com profile] awhyzip and Brian E. (who doesn't have an LJ, to the best of my knowledge) and I headed off around 7:30am on the 4 1/2 hour drive. The closer to we got camp, the more excited we all got. We started singing "Ani v'ata" somewhere along Snake Road, the crazy serpentine cliff road heading into camp that I had completely forgotten about until I heard the name. And by the time we pulled into the gates, we were practically vibrating with excitement and the joy of coming home.

Just seeing the old buildings again was amazing. They seem smaller than I remember, but weathered in the same old loving way, and I was glad to see that the old traditions of paining names in the bunks and Beit Am continues. I spotted names from the '60s through to my years (although my marks seem to be covered over) to fresh ones from this camp session. And walking into the Chadar Ochel (dining room) the smells struck me and transported me back over 20 years, along with mundane sights like the red plastic water pitchers. Sadly, the Lo Alecha sign is not there anymore, but there are many new song banners lining the rafters. We came in the side entrance; as soon as I glanced out onto the tiny concrete "porch" I had visions of dancing barefoot in the dust there to all of the rikud favorites. And luckily, later in the day they had a short dance session, and we got to do Yo Ya there once more, although our aging bodies had trouble keeping up with the current crop of youngsters.

There was a ceremony honoring Mel Reisfield; if you've ever been to TY, you know Mel, and if you've been in YJ at all, you've heard the legends, from the famous Jesus sicha to his cheating as basketball. I think I most clearly remember my first camp session, learning the dances, and him yelling "tushie tushie tushie WOO!" He's clearly older, but his spirit is as strong as ever, and it was wonderful for us all to show him how much he means to us.

David Broza gave a short concert, and we all piled onto a patch of grass in front of the Broza stage (built and named in honor of his last visit there, many years ago now) to hear his rough and sweet and lovely tunes. He ended the regular set with his 1978 hit Yihiyeh Tov, of course -- Things Will Get Better. The song has changed over the years, and my limited Hebrew couldn't keep up with the new verses, but I love that he continues to update it, and continues to have hope for a peaceful Israel.

Oh, and I wouldn't be me if I didn't mention the food. One of the chefs there built a smoker specially for the event, and smoked an insane number of short ribs, then added a homemade barbecue sauce. They were amazing. There was also chicken, but I didn't try that because, hello, beef. I did try the cole slaw, which was tasty, and Ariela spoke highly of the veggie skewers. But mmmm, beef. They actually had some left over, so at the light supper they had trays of it out with notes saying to take some home. I was happy to comply :)

They had labeled the apple trees with decades, to make it easier to find old friends. Sadly, I didn't find anyone I knew in person, but the Sif (sifriya, or library) was filled with an amazing exhibit of YJ through the years, with old T-shirts and videos and posters and tons and tons of photos. So I went through a few albums and found some familiar faces, some of whom I hadn't thought of in decades, and one who I had just been telling Ariela about and was thrilled to have a photo to go with the story.

At first I was sad not to find anyone I knew, or anyone who remembered me, but then I started talking to people -- some of the kids who had attended camp that session and stayed for National Convention, some of the old members who had been there before my time -- and somehow there was an instant connection there. Some things have clearly changed -- there are some new dances that I couldn't keep up with, and MH is gone now -- but most of the important old traditions are still there, so it feels like we have a shared history, regardless of when the history took place. A valuable thing.

We had originally talked about leaving some time after 4pm, maybe during the Broza concert, but, well, we couldn't leave before getting to do some dancing (never mind that it was at least in the high 90s and we were dripping sweat in what little shade there was), and then we had to find the right person to coordinate borrowing 100 shiromin (songbooks) for Pup & Meredith's wedding, and then there was dinner, and by the time we finally left it was 7:30pm, and at that we had to miss the tsofim caravan (who are still extremely hot, although waaaayyyy too young) and the fire sign. We finally got the car back to Pup just before midnight. A very long day, and more time in the car than the camp, but totally worth it.

YJ100

Aug. 17th, 2009 04:36 pm
gilana: (Default)
I was very active in the Young Judaea youth group in high school. I didn't go on Year Course, but I was club and then regional programmer, I attended local conventions, and I went to Camp Tel Yehuda from 1984-86, I think it was, and then was a counselor in 1987, the summer before I started college. YJ is where I started to break out of my paralyzing shyness, and find people I could be comfortable with, and who seemed to value who I was. But after I started college, it faded from my life, and while I've been pleased and amused to find that a number of my shul friends are also Judaeans, it hasn't been much of a big deal. But when YJ had their 100th anniversary this Sunday, and it turned out some friends were going, it sounded like too much fun to miss.

Sadly, [livejournal.com profile] ablock and Meredith decided at the last minute that they had too much wedding planning left to be able to make it (ironically, on the wedding that they are in large part styling after TY), but Pup was gracious enough to let us borrow his baby -- er, car. So [livejournal.com profile] awhyzip and Brian E. (who doesn't have an LJ, to the best of my knowledge) and I headed off around 7:30am on the 4 1/2 hour drive. The closer to we got camp, the more excited we all got. We started singing "Ani v'ata" somewhere along Snake Road, the crazy serpentine cliff road heading into camp that I had completely forgotten about until I heard the name. And by the time we pulled into the gates, we were practically vibrating with excitement and the joy of coming home.

Just seeing the old buildings again was amazing. They seem smaller than I remember, but weathered in the same old loving way, and I was glad to see that the old traditions of paining names in the bunks and Beit Am continues. I spotted names from the '60s through to my years (although my marks seem to be covered over) to fresh ones from this camp session. And walking into the Chadar Ochel (dining room) the smells struck me and transported me back over 20 years, along with mundane sights like the red plastic water pitchers. Sadly, the Lo Alecha sign is not there anymore, but there are many new song banners lining the rafters. We came in the side entrance; as soon as I glanced out onto the tiny concrete "porch" I had visions of dancing barefoot in the dust there to all of the rikud favorites. And luckily, later in the day they had a short dance session, and we got to do Yo Ya there once more, although our aging bodies had trouble keeping up with the current crop of youngsters.

There was a ceremony honoring Mel Reisfield; if you've ever been to TY, you know Mel, and if you've been in YJ at all, you've heard the legends, from the famous Jesus sicha to his cheating as basketball. I think I most clearly remember my first camp session, learning the dances, and him yelling "tushie tushie tushie WOO!" He's clearly older, but his spirit is as strong as ever, and it was wonderful for us all to show him how much he means to us.

David Broza gave a short concert, and we all piled onto a patch of grass in front of the Broza stage (built and named in honor of his last visit there, many years ago now) to hear his rough and sweet and lovely tunes. He ended the regular set with his 1978 hit Yihiyeh Tov, of course -- Things Will Get Better. The song has changed over the years, and my limited Hebrew couldn't keep up with the new verses, but I love that he continues to update it, and continues to have hope for a peaceful Israel.

Oh, and I wouldn't be me if I didn't mention the food. One of the chefs there built a smoker specially for the event, and smoked an insane number of short ribs, then added a homemade barbecue sauce. They were amazing. There was also chicken, but I didn't try that because, hello, beef. I did try the cole slaw, which was tasty, and Ariela spoke highly of the veggie skewers. But mmmm, beef. They actually had some left over, so at the light supper they had trays of it out with notes saying to take some home. I was happy to comply :)

They had labeled the apple trees with decades, to make it easier to find old friends. Sadly, I didn't find anyone I knew in person, but the Sif (sifriya, or library) was filled with an amazing exhibit of YJ through the years, with old T-shirts and videos and posters and tons and tons of photos. So I went through a few albums and found some familiar faces, some of whom I hadn't thought of in decades, and one who I had just been telling Ariela about and was thrilled to have a photo to go with the story.

At first I was sad not to find anyone I knew, or anyone who remembered me, but then I started talking to people -- some of the kids who had attended camp that session and stayed for National Convention, some of the old members who had been there before my time -- and somehow there was an instant connection there. Some things have clearly changed -- there are some new dances that I couldn't keep up with, and MH is gone now -- but most of the important old traditions are still there, so it feels like we have a shared history, regardless of when the history took place. A valuable thing.

We had originally talked about leaving some time after 4pm, maybe during the Broza concert, but, well, we couldn't leave before getting to do some dancing (never mind that it was at least in the high 90s and we were dripping sweat in what little shade there was), and then we had to find the right person to coordinate borrowing 100 shiromin (songbooks) for Pup & Meredith's wedding, and then there was dinner, and by the time we finally left it was 7:30pm, and at that we had to miss the tsofim caravan (who are still extremely hot, although waaaayyyy too young) and the fire sign. We finally got the car back to Pup just before midnight. A very long day, and more time in the car than the camp, but totally worth it.
gilana: (Default)
Friday afternoon I took the ferry to Salem, where [livejournal.com profile] bkdelong was kind enough to provide his wonderful hospitality for shabbos so I could walk to [livejournal.com profile] ayelle and [livejournal.com profile] zendzian's fabulous wedding. Saturday we did the quickie tour of Salem, which is a really cool town -- I'd love to go back and spend some more time there soon! And I'm sure you've heard by now how great the wedding was. Very much *them*, which always makes for the best weddings, and we all had a lovely time.

Got back late Saturday night, finished packing and reading email, and then got up early Sunday morning to catch my flight to Atlantic City, where I spent three days with my parents and my sister and her husband and 3 kids. Sadly my brother couldn't make it, but he spent shabbos in Philly along with everyone else, so at least my mom got to see all of her kids in the same weekend, if not the same time.

We spent a lot of time on the beach taking advantage of the free chaises and umbrella the hotel offers, checked out the hotel's two pools (one of which was very much a swinging singles scene until we arrived with 5 kids in tow -- my aunt came up for the day with my cousin's two kids, as well), walking the Boardwalk (I got my required fudge, and we found the one remaining arcade to teach the kids to play Ski-ball).

There had been a storm system a few weeks ago that tore up the local mussel beds, so the beaches were covered inches deep near the water line with piles of tiny mussel shells, which was interesting although a little weird to walk through and rather smelly. But once I got out past the breakers into the gentle rolling swells, the bottom was clear, and the water felt heavenly. I took my younger niece out there on my back for a while, and we enjoyed jumping the waves together, and then I took her back in, went back, and spent some time floating alone on my back, feeling the hot sun on my face and the cool water on my body, letting the waves gently rock me, trying to store up the sensations to get through the winter.

I had a flight back at 5:20pm yesterday, and we were on the plane and about to take off when word came in of fog in Boston, so we all had to get off the plane and wait around until 8pm when we got a clear window and made a run for it. Luckily, [livejournal.com profile] bex77 had already planned to pick me up to whisk me to my first Never After rehearsal (which I totally missed, of course) but she was kind enough to pick me up at the new time and drop my exhausted carcass and luggage home so I didn't have to brave the rain and the subway. And now I'm slogging through way too much email, LJ, and unpacking. But at least I'm tan :)
gilana: (Default)
Friday afternoon I took the ferry to Salem, where [livejournal.com profile] bkdelong was kind enough to provide his wonderful hospitality for shabbos so I could walk to [livejournal.com profile] ayelle and [livejournal.com profile] zendzian's fabulous wedding. Saturday we did the quickie tour of Salem, which is a really cool town -- I'd love to go back and spend some more time there soon! And I'm sure you've heard by now how great the wedding was. Very much *them*, which always makes for the best weddings, and we all had a lovely time.

Got back late Saturday night, finished packing and reading email, and then got up early Sunday morning to catch my flight to Atlantic City, where I spent three days with my parents and my sister and her husband and 3 kids. Sadly my brother couldn't make it, but he spent shabbos in Philly along with everyone else, so at least my mom got to see all of her kids in the same weekend, if not the same time.

We spent a lot of time on the beach taking advantage of the free chaises and umbrella the hotel offers, checked out the hotel's two pools (one of which was very much a swinging singles scene until we arrived with 5 kids in tow -- my aunt came up for the day with my cousin's two kids, as well), walking the Boardwalk (I got my required fudge, and we found the one remaining arcade to teach the kids to play Ski-ball).

There had been a storm system a few weeks ago that tore up the local mussel beds, so the beaches were covered inches deep near the water line with piles of tiny mussel shells, which was interesting although a little weird to walk through and rather smelly. But once I got out past the breakers into the gentle rolling swells, the bottom was clear, and the water felt heavenly. I took my younger niece out there on my back for a while, and we enjoyed jumping the waves together, and then I took her back in, went back, and spent some time floating alone on my back, feeling the hot sun on my face and the cool water on my body, letting the waves gently rock me, trying to store up the sensations to get through the winter.

I had a flight back at 5:20pm yesterday, and we were on the plane and about to take off when word came in of fog in Boston, so we all had to get off the plane and wait around until 8pm when we got a clear window and made a run for it. Luckily, [livejournal.com profile] bex77 had already planned to pick me up to whisk me to my first Never After rehearsal (which I totally missed, of course) but she was kind enough to pick me up at the new time and drop my exhausted carcass and luggage home so I didn't have to brave the rain and the subway. And now I'm slogging through way too much email, LJ, and unpacking. But at least I'm tan :)

Vegas

Feb. 8th, 2009 10:19 am
gilana: (Default)
Division of labor — I took the photos, and [livejournal.com profile] lillibet wrote up the trip journal. You can read it here.

Vegas

Feb. 8th, 2009 10:19 am
gilana: (Default)
Division of labor — I took the photos, and [livejournal.com profile] lillibet wrote up the trip journal. You can read it here.

Arisia

Jan. 19th, 2009 09:29 pm
gilana: (Default)
Had a great time at Arisia. I've been feeling a little isolated lately, what with not working and all the nasty weather, so it was really nice to have so much quality time with so many great people -- not to mention all the cuddles!.

I ended up wearing six different costumes over the weekend*, and every one of them was much admired, often by strangers. I got to perform with the Naughty Nurses and PMRP, and the audiences loved them both (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel for giving the Narrator such a great chance to ham it up!). I got be one of the hosts of an amazing party, spend hours at said party cuddling and catching up with an old friend, get some much-needed backrubs, and eat cotton candy at the Skank circus party. I danced my feet off at the Steampunk Vintage Dance, stayed up until 4:30am drinking amazing whiskeys with technofandom, and walked the labyrinth. I sang along with Doctor Horrible and Buffy, and had my voice appear at the masquerade without me even having to be there. And I even made it to a panel for a change!

Sorry I didn't get to see everyone I would have liked, or make it to all the readings and parties, but man, it was a full weekend. Hope everyone else had fun too!

*In case you're curious: union suit for the children's hour pajama party, silk chemise and satin robe for the adult hour, naughty nurse outfit, sexy witch for Zig Labs Hallween party, Red Shift tux and mustache, and steampunk outfit complete with mini-top hat for the dance. That's not including the carefully-chosen geeky t-shirts I wore the rest of the time. Now I just hope some of the pictures people took turn out well!

Arisia

Jan. 19th, 2009 09:29 pm
gilana: (Default)
Had a great time at Arisia. I've been feeling a little isolated lately, what with not working and all the nasty weather, so it was really nice to have so much quality time with so many great people -- not to mention all the cuddles!.

I ended up wearing six different costumes over the weekend*, and every one of them was much admired, often by strangers. I got to perform with the Naughty Nurses and PMRP, and the audiences loved them both (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel for giving the Narrator such a great chance to ham it up!). I got be one of the hosts of an amazing party, spend hours at said party cuddling and catching up with an old friend, get some much-needed backrubs, and eat cotton candy at the Skank circus party. I danced my feet off at the Steampunk Vintage Dance, stayed up until 4:30am drinking amazing whiskeys with technofandom, and walked the labyrinth. I sang along with Doctor Horrible and Buffy, and had my voice appear at the masquerade without me even having to be there. And I even made it to a panel for a change!

Sorry I didn't get to see everyone I would have liked, or make it to all the readings and parties, but man, it was a full weekend. Hope everyone else had fun too!

*In case you're curious: union suit for the children's hour pajama party, silk chemise and satin robe for the adult hour, naughty nurse outfit, sexy witch for Zig Labs Hallween party, Red Shift tux and mustache, and steampunk outfit complete with mini-top hat for the dance. That's not including the carefully-chosen geeky t-shirts I wore the rest of the time. Now I just hope some of the pictures people took turn out well!
gilana: (Default)
I'm terrible about remembering to bring something to parties. I never seem to think of it until the last minute, and often there just isn't anyplace reasonable to stop on the way there. But then, I'm always vaguely surprised when people bring donations to parties I host, too. So I'm curious.

A) Would you rather skip a party than arrive empty-handed? Do you only bring something if it's convenient? Do you just assume the host has everything covered? Share!

B) How do you feel when you're the host? Do you notice who brings what? Are you offended if someone doesn't bring anything? Would you prefer people *not* to bring things? Share on that, too!
gilana: (Default)
I'm terrible about remembering to bring something to parties. I never seem to think of it until the last minute, and often there just isn't anyplace reasonable to stop on the way there. But then, I'm always vaguely surprised when people bring donations to parties I host, too. So I'm curious.

A) Would you rather skip a party than arrive empty-handed? Do you only bring something if it's convenient? Do you just assume the host has everything covered? Share!

B) How do you feel when you're the host? Do you notice who brings what? Are you offended if someone doesn't bring anything? Would you prefer people *not* to bring things? Share on that, too!

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