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  1. I just came for the shoes, actually!

    Wednesday, 23 March 2011

    Yesterday, I 'thrilled' you all with the rather overly long story of my day out in Blackpool. However, there was a little side story that a missed out of that account. So I thought that I would share that with you all today.

    So, something that tends to happen at competitions, is that various vendors will come to try and sell you their wares. In the past, I've tried not go and look at them, because they'll make me want to spend money that I really don't have. However, this time, you had to walk past the stalls in order to get to practice space, and to the toilets, so of course I ended up having a look. 

    The stall I come to is a discount dancewear retailer. And they're having a clearance sale. This is really dangerous. I checked out the costumes, and there were several that I liked, and technically could afford, but I decided not to try anything on, because then I would be sure to buy something. But then I saw a pair of wider fitting shoes, on sale. Since I'd actually been thinking of getting a new pair of shoes, as the ones that I've been using are getting a bit worn out on the sides. 

    So I'm talking with the woman running the stall, and I'm umming and ahhing a bit over whether to buy them, mostly because I'm generally really tight when it comes to my money. I hate spending money, because, well then I haven't got it to fall back on. Then she suggests that I ask my mum for the money (a suggestion that never sits well with me when people say it), because "exercise will stop you from getting diabetes in the future".

    Well, ok then!

    I didn't really know how to react. I wanted to just laugh in her face - I wasn't sure whether to be narked off or not. 

    "Well, actually, I have Type 1 Diabetes, so...."

    Watching her try to dig herself out of this hole she'd created was, shall we say, interesting? I didn't try to embarrass her, but she couldn't stop apologising. Ouch, it was rather painful to watch. It was clearly one of those moments where trying to advocate would be lost, because she just wouldn't stop apologising, and I couldn't get a word in edgeways. So I just told her it was all ok, and did she take card?

    She did take card.

  2. So I've made no secret of my love of Dancesport. We're now far into the competition season, with only Roses 2011 left to go. This has meant some late nights, some early starts, and interesting dilemmas regarding the D. And where to hide Anneka. 

    So earlier in this month had me competing in the Inter-Varsity Dance Competition (or IVDC as it's more commonly known) in Blackpool - the home of ballroom dancing, doncha know? So we were dancing at the Wintergardens. This place is gorgeous, for the record, and has one of the best dance floors in Europe. Problem of course, is that in order to get there for doors opening, and to get ready in time for the first rounds (which of COURSE happen to be one that I was competing in), our coach had to leave at 5am. 

    Yes, you read that right. FIVE IN THE MORNING. Oy vey. By the way, I don't live near the university, so that means getting there. Too far to walk, especially with the amount of stuff I take with me, and several hours before the first bus. So expensive taxi ride it is.

    Now, in my infinite wisdom, I managed to get my weeks mixed up, and thought that I had another week before the competition, which meant that I didn't really have any time to do those two words that fill me with a kind of dread, coupled with self loathing and ultimately necessity - fake tan. So that meant I had about 24 hours with which to achieve a hopefully appropriate level of tan, which was subtle enough for me not to be scared of my own reflection. I bought a wash off instant tan. 

    There are a couple of things you should know about this. 1: I spent the end of my evening in a pair of latex gloves, pyjama bottoms and a bikini top. 2: It took about three attempts to get this right. 3: This was mainly because I hadn't realised I'd bought a shade too dark. 4: I realised about half way through that I would not be able to shower in the morning, and 5: It takes much, much longer than you think it will. 

    I slept for a total of 45 minutes that night. Then I got up again, and got a taxi. When we got on the coach, I disovered that I had, in fact, found the coldest place on earth. Customarily, one expects the indoors to be warmer than the outside, but I'm fairly convinced that the sadistic coach driver had actually put the air conditioning on. It turns out that it's a longer drive to Blackpool than I'd originally given it credit for. 

    Now last time, when I did a the Northern Universities Dance Competition (NUDC) in Chesterfield, I seemed to spend the majority of the day pretty high, scores wise. I headed out the door that morning coming in at 6.1mmol/l (109). Since my scores have still been rather....uncooperative as of late, I was very happy with that. As we pulled in to Blackpool, I was riding higher, at 13.2 (237), but a correction pulled me back down into range, and I was sitting pretty on 7.9 (142) as Round One of Beginner's Waltz started. 

    Alice and I unfortunately got knocked out of this first round. This wasn't much of a surprise though, as I got hit on the head with someone's elbow, and then got rammed by two couples, right in front of the judges' table. Sadly, there aren't any more pictures of us dancing, mainly because our heats of Quickstep, and Jive all happened in a different room, and we just got missed in Cha-Cha. It's probably for the best, because every photo of me dancing ballroom makes me look like a have no neck. It's something of a cross between my still needing to learn better dance posture, and the picture being taken from behind me!

    As with Waltz, we got knocked out of everything first round, which was a real shame, particularly for Quickstep, which went beautifully - I was fairly sure we'd progress to the following round. But such is life, and there's still Roses, and next year, although neither with Alice. And whilst I could easily believe that we got knocked out of each class, what I couldn't quite believe was what was happening with my levels. I'd been having such rotten numbers that it was like the Diabetes Fairy had waved some sort of wand over me for the day. Every number was acceptable! 5.3 (95), 7.0 (126), 5.5 (99), 8.2 (147), and so on! I'd decided on trying a grazing strategy, and somehow, it seemed to have worked!

    Between the Ballroom classes and the start of the Latin, was the Off-beat competition. This is so much fun. Each university team gets 3 minutes 30 to do whatever they want. It's marked 50% on dance, and 50% on entertainment. Since our entry was a piece choreographed to 'Star Wars Disco Boogie', we were clearly going for the entertainment angle. See my kick-ass Ewok mask if you need further evidence. The whole thing was utter comedy, but apparently comedy that worked, considering we made it to 6th place out of the 12 entries. I maintain that we would have broken the top 3 if we'd had more rehearsal time!

    By the evening, the individual classes were over, I was still coming in good at 5.6 (100), and we were all set to go with the team knockout competition. Alice and I were dancing Waltz for the C team (I had wanted to dance Quickstep, but hey ho, you go where you're put!). In an awesome move, all three of our teams got recalled to the quarter finals, and our A team came in 4th place in the 2nd division. Score one for York!

    We eventually got back on the coach home at just after midnight, and a score of 4.9 (88), with the heating finally coming on at Leeds, and into bed, after showering off my orange skin, at about 3am. That's one crazy, and very, very long day. 

    I don't know how I got such good scores. I need to look into it a bit more, I think. Shame I couldn't repeat it the other night though, when I was at a workshop on contemporary choreography for theatre. I ended up having a hypo halfway through, and spent the rest sitting on the sidelines, because I knew I was going down again after treating. 

    Ah well. You win some, you lose some. Bring on Roses!

  3. Damn you, Joss Whedon!

    Tuesday, 15 March 2011

    Ah, I love me some sci-fi. I know it's considered a bit geeky to many, but I've never minded. I loved Star Trek (TNG, DS9, Voyager) in my teens, and I'm happy with a good science fiction book. So when I finally got around to watching Joss Whedon's Firefly a couple of years ago, I was smitten. Smitten, and naturally bummed out that it never got to fulfil its potential (yes FOX, I blame you! For this, and many things). So the other day, Andrew and I start rewatching his DVDs from the beginning, and something jumped out at me from the Pilot...

    Unfortunately, we've been ordered by
    the Alliance to drop some medical
    supplies on Whitefall. It's the
    fourth moon on Athens, a bit out of
    our way, but we should have you on
    Boros no more than a day off
    schedule. Is that gonna be all right
    for everyone? 
    Jake by me... 
    What medical supplies? 
    I honestly didn't ask. 
    Probably plasma, insulin, whatever
    they ain't got enough of on the
    border moons.

    Insulin?! Are you freaking kidding me, Joss Whedon? The year is 2517, and you in your fictionalised future there's still diabetes? And there are places that don't have enough insulin? Oh, come on! I was practically banging my head against the wall. 

    Come on world. We've still got another 500 years or so to prove Joss Whedon wrong. Probably one of the only instances in which I would ever wish that upon Mr Whedon, as well.