Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Cliche, no? How many times have you heard this? How many friends have tried to be “helpful” with this advice? How many people have you actually seen do this? These answers and more on today’s blog…

Actually that sounds like the opening to a video blog more than a blog. I blame it on the videos I have been watching on YouTube lately. Mostly Charles St. Micheal a funny, irreverent and kind of offensive guy that leans to the right like I lean to the left. My personal proof you can disagree and still discuss. But I digress (as he does in nearly every video too).

The idea from this blog came a while back, after the episode of Supernatural titled The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo. Specifically from the opening scene. If you haven’t seen it, check it out over on YouTube. Consider it 45 seconds of homework. Fun little scene, no?

It probably won’t shock anyone to hear that after that episode aired there was a string of posts to FB and the like touting that “I’m totally going to do this from now on.” I sort of did myself, but for different reasons. My posts looked similar to this;

I’d totally do the elevator dance, but I don’t take the elevator from where I park.

Seriously, I take the elevator today but now out of the 8 albums of music I have a Felicia Day song!

WTH? 3 songs out of several hundred and this is the 2nd time this week!

You get the picture. Out of five days of that first week, I had one of the three Guild songs come up on my shuffle three different times. This is after loading up several albums into it so I had some appropriate scene music for my morning writing. Sort of like a playlist for the book – which I totally have now for when it publishes. The odds of probability there were pretty astounding. My thought? It must be serendipity. In short, the message is coming in and I am ignoring it.

Seriously, considering that scene from the video above, what better music to elevator dance to? Keep in mind I am a large redneck looking dude with a multitool strapped to his belt. I have actually had people speed up in walking or cross the street to avoid being on the sidewalk near me. Nobody wants to see me dance like that. Which is more than enough reason for me to do it. Of course I am the geek working “behind enemy lines” in a university athletic department. They already think I am just too odd.

This is my challenge to y’all. Don’t just say “dance like nobody’s watching.” Do it. Out in the open. On the street. Let people look at you strange. I had this attitude for a long time and something in my recent (last 10 years) past changed it. I remember my last flight to Texas the TSA agent asking if I was uncomfortable or embarrassed taking my tub back up for scanning. My answer was, “Sir, I am a gamer. I could carry it back over my head singing Zipadee Doo Dah and not be in the least bit embarrassed.”

Now, do I do this every day? No. Last thing I need is getting a “talking to” at my day job because I’m scaring the straights. But every now and again do I bust a little dance move going up the stairs to my office? Yup. The Athletic Director doesn’t take the stairs, so I’m okay with scaring a coach or two.

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Rule #32: Memorial Day 2010

If you are following me in a social networking site, are friends with me locally, or simply a frequent reader of this blog and have no idea what Rule #32 is, then get thee to Netflix and start your homework! (Hint: the movie is Zombieland.) But Rule #32 isn’t just something that is taken in a 90 minute increment whenever you have time to bust out the DVD. It is taken in small doses every day. At the very least you should be finding a little thing to enjoy every other day. I would rephrase that, but those little “slips” are one of the little things I enjoy.

Even though this is the Memorial Day edition of the Rule #32 category, I am going to go back a bit further. If you have the misfortune of following me on Twitter, you will know that a week ago I was posting that people should get their numbers in the pool now. The pool was how long it would take before I made one of my wife’s cousins bleed. In general that weekend was a weekend of REALLY searching for those little things that kept me from opening up on her family. We were there for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary – and for the record, my wife was the only one of their three kids to attend, much less organize and cover the whole affair.

The little things I found up in Wisconsin Dells that week included:

  • A Starbucks with a drive through in it. That saved someone’s life that weekend.
  • A bar and grill that made faaaaantastic burgers and featured monkeys all over the place. Seriously. Monkeys.
  • A book store that not only had Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane out early but also had a shelf that was labeled Urban Fantasy.
  • Battle of the Network Zombies by Mark Henry being in the New Romance section of said book store.

By far though the best of them came during the ladder golf tournament her cousins want to run every year. Sixteen teams of two players – every year. Double elimination – every year. And – every year – they are shocked at how many games doing double elimination adds. I have given up explaining it to them. In addition, we do not talk as freely around her family as we do mine. They are just not as “open” as my family is. The “little thing” came when one of her cousins commented on how he was going for points because he “wanted more of a spread.” To which I replied, “Isn’t that what all men want? [pause] Oh, was that my outside voice?”

That leads into Memorial Day weekend. Which brought a whole mess of little things but I will try to wrap them up quickly.

We bought a truck so that we can pull our camper since we have given up our seasonal site. The truck is definitely not the little thing. In fact, in addition to curtailing my book spending for the next seven years, it is big enough I am concerned it will not fit in the garage of my condo. (I have not attempted it yet.) The little thing is the salesperson bringing Robin her keys and fiddling with that big red thing on her keychain. Her container of pepper spray. Lucky for him just pushing the button doesn’t activate it – as it was pointed in his face when he clicked the button a couple times.

As we pulled in to the camp site that our friends were on in Governor Dodge State Park on Sunday, I knew I would take some abuse. A new truck, I was using my phone to check in to foursquare, and the friend who was camping is my hunting partner (so a bit of a redneck). But said redneck was giving me crap for my phone syncing to my truck and checking “the Internet” in the middle of the woods when we were hunting… as he is using his cell phone to give his laptop an Internet connection in the middle of a state park. The irony of that was definitely the one of the little things. And for the record, he still defends that he was using his cell phone like a modem so that is totally different.

Last, but surely not least was at the Monday cookout at my parents house. We were discussing campers with my brother-in-law and he was commenting on a smaller camper that had the bed lengthwise on the trailer. He claimed this was better as you would not have to “roll over each other when getting in and out of it.” As he was preparing to go into the backyard I replied, “But what if we like rolling over each other to get in and out of it?” He flushed up, opened the sliding door and walked straight into the screen door. My wife gave me a high five for that one.

What instances of Rule #32 have you had lately?

Rule #36 – The Local Author Rule

Any of you that read any of my original postings at the beginning of my column on Geek Like Me should be aware of my adopting of the Found Movie Rule and the Zombie Joe Insomnia Movie Rule. Throw into the mix the rules that were given to us OCD style from Zombieland and we have the most current incarnation of the Zombie Joe Rule System. Today’s entry into the that particular mantra of rules is the Local Author Rule.

Over the past year I made a bet with myself, this led me to taking a more active roll in researching authors and genres. Also, we moved from our 4 bedroom house with 2.5 car garage with an upstairs to a 2 bedroom condo with a den and underground parking/storage. In short, I had to trim down my library. My criteria for keeping a book went in order of; collectible, personalized, autographed, local author, good story behind it. Anything not fitting that criteria was the first to go.

Let me explain something before going any further. I was raised to be driven on community. My father is one of those people who is active in a majority of the aspects of the local community. When I was looking for a local charity to donate to from a fundraiser I was organizing, he was the man I went to. I have directed much of my life around that idea of community (even if I do still get Starbucks when available). When given the choice of saving money on a Dungeons and Dragons book through Amazon and paying a couple extra bucks to get it from the local store that I play cards and such at – I give my money to Misty Mountain Games. How does that account for the Local Author Rule?

Same principle, different application. When I attended the Write by the Lake retreat on the UW Madison campus last summer, I picked up a couple of the books my sections professor wrote. I also found through that retreat and the use of social networking other local authors. In fact one of them – Lori Devoti – is even teaching a section at Write by the Lake this year. If the story takes place in Madison or Milwaukee, that brings me in even more so. Like Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti – which is set on Monroe Street, a street I walk every day.

So upon finishing Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland (review coming soon) on New Years Eve, I set my reading resolution for the year. I am going to shoot for 50 books this year. In addition, I am going to shoot for half of them being Wisconsin-based authors. In the efforts of finding enough to read within those parameters I am including writers such as Marjorie M Liu as a local author. She did undergrad in Wisconsin and Law School and the UW, so she is a cheesehead even if she is not in Wisconsin any longer.

This month I am completing book two of that challenge. Book One was Sword Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe. I have been hanging onto this one for a while now, and after meeting Alex for coffee in Mt. Horeb on New Years Day, it was on my mind when I went home and said, “What new book shall I read now?” I will write something up on it later, but it is a wonderfully unique book with a lot of Wisconsin inspired names in it.

Book Two is another local author; Doomsday Can Wait by Lori Handeland. This is book two in the Phoenix Chronicles series. It is also the series that made a friend say she hated me for getting her hooked because she gave up series because of ones like this. Basically series that were well-written and draw you in – then leave you waiting until the next one releases. I don’t think she was serious about hating me. I think.

To give you an example of why I am hooked on the series, let’s look at the opening of the book. One of the things we worked on in the retreat I mentioned above was opening lines. There were several examples given of wonderful opening lines, and this would have been one of mine.

“A month ago I put a stake through the heart of the only man I’ve ever loved. Luckily, or not, depending on the day and my mood, that wasn’t enough to kill him.”

Tell me that doesn’t want to make you read on. Even had I not already read Any Given Doomsday I would still be interested in reading further in this book. It is no wonder that Lori Handeland was nominated for a Career Achievement Award by Romantic Times.

So my current list of locals to read includes:

  • Alex Beldsoe (Burn Me Deadly, The Girls with Games of Blood)
  • Lori Handeland (Apocalypse Happens)
  • Marshall Cook (Murder Over Easy, Walking Wounded: A Wartime Love Story)
  • Kevin Hughes (Dogging Truth, Casualty Crossing)
  • Lori Devoti (Amazon Queen)
  • Marjorie M Liu (The Iron Hunt, Darkness Calls)

That gives me a dozen books. I am hoping to flesh this out a bit so that I do not have to dip into anthologies complied and edited by Wisconsin people. Although that would put Killer Bunnies and Zombie Raccoons at the top of my list. Do you have any good Wisconsin authors or books to suggest? Drop them in a comment below.

Fair Warning: I read most fantasy, urban fantasy, horror and mystery.