Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year of Pegasus

Photo by manganite on flickr

I have been contemplating a Merry Christmas and now a New Year's post for a few weeks now. I missed Christmas - I made a video of the dog in sleigh bells, but had soundtrack/editing issues. Oh well. Having missed that one, I was determined not to miss the new year/new decade post, but I've been drawing blanks for a topic.

It seems that I have been drawing blanks all year with regard to this blog. I have a wire basket in my office overflowing with scraps of paper and Post-It notes with thoughts and ideas written on them. I have a couple of those brown kraft paper notebooks that Moleskine makes - full of jots and scribbles. I can't even find them - that office is a mess. Found them...

...China master-disciple relationship...Asset underutilized corporate-speak...Manual labor hard work...Tanda music wrong woman timing...Sentient being planet sustainably support 2 billon not 6b surely not 9b...10/22 people who are uncomfortable with close embrace deserve to have tango in their lives too...Dog name Bexar (for a friend...pronounced Bear in these parts...for a tiny shitzoo...then I told her she should name him Genghis Khan, in keeping with his Chinese heritage...). ..Hotel California in Georgia story...Climb On products...Chris Belknap design earth synergy...Parallels between architecture & tango...Going through life going through the motions would rather be bothered not blind after all the true meaning of life is nothing/ness...Book Too Big to Fail nature of capitalism maximize profits hurt the system hurt society hurt the individual...Exploiting other people's weaknesses...NPR feudal system in Pakistan no stigma re: corruption evolution of corruption in Afghanistan....China in 1 year 7000 miles of high speed rail US only 700 Chinese gov't able to form policy and quickly effect it...Hippie deluxe...

So it's not so much that I'm drawing a blank for posts. But blank on what to actually take the time to post. Blank 'cuz I've been busy. Blank 'cuz I have other and higher priorities. Blank 'cuz I'm in love. Feeling overwhelmed. Feelings of missing tango and tango friends. Festivals passing me by. Struggling with that. Trying to get my head around that. I suppose it's a good thing to feel overwhelmed. I was feeling severely underwhelmed that last year in Aspen - the first year of this blog.

Blank because of my perceived negativity in my posts? She says I sometimes come across as preaching and/or pontificating. I have recognized for some time that I bitch and moan and rant a lot. This was actually by design to some degree. I wanted to always "speak my mind" in this blog. Stuff bothers me. Stuff pisses me off. But I also see the beauty in it all every day. I tear up when the sandhill cranes honk and wheel in flight overhead. I think we are pretty much fucking things up. But I am hopeful. I think we are pretty much oblivious to our impacts and effects on the world around us, to ourselves, the society of man and to our children and their children. But I remain hopeful. I am trying to be more active and do something about it. But I have yet to make it to my first county commissioner's meeting. I have written to my reps in Congress. They reply. I am working on doing some sustainable, low-key, low-impact development. We shall see. I feel pretty certain that this is a "great correction", lasting two or three more decades, and not "recovering" in two or three years. But I am hopeful. Because I believe that a sustainable, cash based world economy is good for humankind. Hopeful ranting. Joyful preaching. Happy pontificating. I do often rant with a smile on my face.

Resolutions. I thought about that as a topic, but it's so trite and hackneyed. Part of the overwhelm-ed-ness is being more disorganized than I ever have. That comes from having my house of cards blown into the wind back in Aspen. The cards are now all settled here. I just need to pull them all together and tuck them away in their box. Need to lose a few pounds. Eat better. Cure the addiction to sugar. More exercise. More photography. More writing. More tango. Hackneyed. The year behind. The year ahead. Goals and aspirations. Overdone.

It struck me this morning that this one is also the end of the first decade of the new millennium. It seems like only yesterday that it was Y2k, the year 2000. An entire decade flashes before your eyes. Wow. What a ride. SweetiePieHoneyBunch and I were sitting in bed this morning, watching the sunrise, drinking coffee (Bailey's for her, mocha for me), talking about what I could write about. She's my muse, as women are in men's lives. She doesn't realize it. I don't think I realized it until I just now wrote it.

I'll tell a little story. It was our second date. I was living at my brother's place having just moved back from Georgia - he was off in Florida on business. Bacon wrapped shrimp were sizzling and smelling delicious on the grill, and I was running around trying to get dinner cooked for her - for us. She had just come from a gig and had her guitar in the car. She asked if I would like to hear a song. Of course.
As she tells the story now, she expected that I would just keep on cooking in the kitchen while she sang a song in the living room. I turned down the burners, topped off our pinot noir, and moved a comfy chair in front of the fireplace for me to sit in. I pulled up a chair with no arms for her to sit in - right in front of me.

Apparently the "no arms" made a big impression with her. It was without thought on my part - obviously guitar players sit in chairs with no arms. We sat directly facing each other - I was intently attentive. This was a first for me. A beautiful woman with a beautiful voice playing beautiful music on a beautiful guitar on a beautiful night in front of a beautiful fire. I was compelled to listen, compelled to a heightened level of attention. Every note, every word, every nuance, every little grace about her.

I cried. Hey, it was a beautiful song. I think I won her heart right there. She was touched by my tears. Tears of joy you might say. I do cry at beauty fairly often. Then I started chuckling, then laughing, growing into a full blown guffaw. She was taken aback, thinking I was laughing at her or about her, or something. She didn't know me - remember, it was only our second date. She asked what I was laughing at. I said "I'm just so happy that you're good, and I don't have to fake it." Faking it would have been "oh yeah honey, that was real good, now put that guitar away and let's eat..."

We savored those moments after the song, savoring the wine, savoring each other. I finished cooking, we ate, and ended up falling asleep lying in each other's arms in front of the fire. Not a bad second date.

But I digress.

So, we were sitting in bed this morning talking, as we do every morning. The image of Pegasus had come into my mind earlier. I asked her about Pegasus - she has a song called "Child of the Big Sky" with a strong Pegasus reference, so I figger'd she had done some research. I cry every time she sings that one, too. We google'd it, then wiki'd it, allowing the laptop into the bed for a moment. Somehow Pegasus and his birth of Poseidon and Medusa, somehow this winged horse whose hoofs strike the Earth and make springs well up, somehow this bearer of lightning bolts, somehow this glorious beast/myth/image represents this time for me. This day. This moment. This spot on the earth. The coming year. The coming decade. The coming years of my life. The coming years for all of our lives on this Earth. Hope. Beauty. Struggle. Love. Enlightenment.

Somehow this Pegasus represents what I want to write about. Not Pegasus himself, but the imagery, the mythology, the feeling. Something. Can this Pegasus save us from ourselves? Does he hold the lightning bolt in his quiver that will strike the Earth and wake us up from our materialistic oblivion? Hmm. I dunno.

We got to talking about security or perceived security. The want of people who avoid risk in favor of "security". Security in the form of a 30 year fixed mortgage, a 401k, diversified investments, a white picket fence, a gold watch. Security in the form of the conformism. The Conforming American Dream. Events of the past two years, of the past decade, have made anyone with any sense wonder about wisdom of the Conforming American Dream. The CAD evolved over the past hundred years or so into something unsustainable, unhealthy I believe - environmentally, socially, culturally, emotionally. I won't go there. You get my drift.

We talked about the metaphors of this life - like driving through a National Park and never getting out of the car. I don't know where I'm going with this. I like that about writing extemporaneously - something will be born of the words, of the flow. Something. Hopefully.

We were thinking of a close friend, retiring this year, doing all the right things. Conforming. Good job. Secure financially. Secure in a long marriage. Nice house in a nice suburb. Kids grown and gone and doing well. But at what cost? The cost of lost life experiences? The cost of a love affair on a beach for two weeks in the Cayman Islands? Lost writing or painting or making music? Lost love? Lost self? The cost of other dreams set aside? Not too late for a course correction. Not too late to recoup any losses - perceived or otherwise.

At the end of my first marriage, when I decided to walk away from conformity forever, I felt like I had lost my "self", my soul. Twenty years of doing what I thought was expected of me, doing what I thought was mandatory of me, doing the corporate thing - raises, promotions, increasing responsibilities, bigger house, better car, more and better "stuff". Twenty years of that, when my heart wasn't in it, was too much for a man to bear. I hid my depression by crying in the shower each night, after coming home late from work. It stripped me to my core. Perhaps I had to lose my "self" in order to find myself.

And here it comes, finally it gels. Sweet. This decade for me has been one of "self". I had to find my self. By myself. Find him and know him. Knowing versus knowledge. Knowing him, and loving him. I had to figure out how to love myself before I could find love. Writing this, I can't see through the tears right now, damn them. I had to love myself and find love before I could love this life. A good life. A life with just enough of everything. Enough love, laughter, beauty, kindness, cash, food, water, wood to build a workshop or a warm fire in the woods, whatever. Enough. Not more. Not better. Not increasing responsibility. Not a better title. Not more recognition. Enough. Just enough.

My Facebook profile says something about "I've been pondering self-actualization these days...", from Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Food/Water/Shelter/Self Esteem/Love/Self-Actualization or something along those lines. I am thankful that I am coming into these years of self-actualization, with the other "needs" largely met. For my second half-century on this planet. For the coming decades. Content. Happy. Hopeful. Full of love. Another year older. Another year wiser. My daughter called last night for advice on selecting a wine to go with seafood gumbo. That's a new one for me. I'm a dad, he realizes, 21 years after the fact.

In this coming year and decade, thrive my friends. Flourish. Bring yourself to your fullest potential as a human being, dad, citizen, spouse, friend, lover, son, brother, tango dancer. That's my plan.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Vals 15

My iPhone randomly played this one yesterday...Track 15 "Vals Mix"...???

Can anyone help me with the title/composer/orchestra/singers/version...?

Thanks in advance!

My apologies for the quickie "music video" post haste mode, I just stuck one of my photos up there with the audio track...

Atlanta Tango Festival :: April 15-18, 2010

This is a re-post of an old post, from April of last year. I "drafted" or hid the post for some reason back then, I'm not sure why. Perhaps because I felt like I was being too negative, or perhaps I felt like I didn't want to "review" milongas.

Anyway, here it is in it's entirety - new title though. Originally it was Atlanta Tango Festival :: O horror, horror, horror! because of an issue the organizers had with the hotel.

My friends in Atlanta put on a great festival - estilo milonguero/close embrace - by dancers for dancers style, so don't let the title of the original post mislead you. Make your reservations now.

Atlanta Tango Festival Website


Imagine making your hotel reservation for a festival weeks or months in advance, arriving to check in, and being told that the hotel was booked, and that you were being bumped to a hotel about five miles away from the festival venue. This happened to a friend, and although I have not confirmed this, she said that a large block of rooms was bumped.

Now there is the hassle of dealing with the shuttle - 20 minutes to get to the new hotel - 1 hour to get back to the venue for the welcome milonga. There is the hassle of not having the convenience of your room just minutes away - freshen up, take a power nap, just rest, whatever.

I haven't confirmed any of this with my friend Angel - one of the organizers - but I'm sure they are livid - this is not a good thing for a hotel to do - no matter what the reason.

The only saving grace is the rooms are now comp'd - as in free.

I didn't make my reservation soon enough. I'm staying "in a van", "down by the river".


Two dickweeds were wearing fedoras at the "elegant" milonga last night. Any southern gentleman knows you take your fucking hat off when you come inside. The sun isn't shining at 3am inside, it's not raining or snowing inside, leave the hat at home or in your room.

Plus, if you know anything about tango, then you know the history of the fedora. Wearing it in a milonga just shows everyone what an idiot you are.

It shouldn't matter, I shouldn't care, but it irritates the shit out of me.


I stayed until the bitter end. It started out good, then I went into a slump, and it ended on a good note. I was having an off night in general. My walk was weird, everything was weird - internally - my issues.

THE A/C ::

The air conditioning was off for the first couple of hours or so. Here was Alex ::

Angel was very responsive in getting the hotel engineering staff to deal with it in short order.

Not a big deal.


Nice, smooth, 36" panels making 36" lanes. In spite of the organizers' announcement about using the "lanes" - most leaders disregarded this. Guys didn't seem to be able to stay in the middle of their lane, preferring, or defaulting to the edge of the lane.

I liked the organizers' choice of words - it's about "floorcraft discipline".


I bummed two bucks to add to my four to buy a glass of wine. It's nice to have the cash bar in the ballroom, but not many people were drinking.


I would say it was "normal" for most festivals. The only thing I can suggest is that teachers need to spend a lot more time on floorcraft and navigation with beginners. Also, it would be nice if festival organizers produce some sort of flyer or pamphlet. Beyond that, you can't really do much unless you want to start policing the floor, which would not be good.

I frequently found myself trapped between a nuevo and one of the many idiot leaders. I think a lot of my floorcraft/navigation issuses (with other leaders) are my own issues resulting from dancing on a crowded floor. The better I get, the more I can navigate around the yahoos.

I found myself spending time in the corners - and herding certain guys to stay in their own lanes.

The reality is there will always be leaders who won't amount to JACK SQUAT with regards to floorcraft & navigation.

DJ'ing ::

Par excellence...there were only a few times that I wasn't "moved" by a tanda...but overall a fantastic traditional mix...great good as it gets...I think it was Shorey Myers...


I noticed Robert Hauk got a haircut. Then I noticed a few women who got their hair cut. Then I noticed a lot of women with either really short hair, or bob type cuts. A couple of them told me they cut it because of tango - to make it easier to deal with on the dance floor.


I was talking to a friend who is new to tango about "stuff". I told her that for me, when a woman falls into my "happily ever after" category, that I am intimidated to the point of not or never asking her to dance. She pointed out to me that I am an idiot for doing this - although she conveyed this much more nicely than saying that I am an idiot.

Miss "Happily Ever After" smiled at me and said good night at the end of the night. I will dance with her tonight.


Florentino Ariza, in order to dull the pain of his unrequited love for Fermina Daza, began sleeping with large numbers of women. Six hundred and twenty seven or something like that. He kept a journal, numbering them, and entering a brief comment about each.

Rather than continue with the blog commonality of nick names like "Miss Happily Ever After", I'm going to use Florentino Ariza's method...


#1 :: Thou shalt not covet thy new friend's partner...

#2 :: Young and beautiful...

#3 :: Her scent, like honey, is still with me this morning... a sweet kiss on her temple after walking her to her car...

#4 :: Trembles in my embrace... I like this one... I dreamt of her this morning...

#5 :: Pleasantly large breasted... in the natural sense...

#6 :: Saved me from myself in the end... noticed the salty taste of her perspiration after kissing her cheek... licked it from my lips on the way back to "the van", "down by the river"...

Six, maybe seven followers, nine or ten tandas. Not enough. Not enough for a man who very recently said "I just want to dance..."


It was an "off" night for you...your dance was "off", but don't let that get to more and sit less...don't let painful beauty scare you...think about the "one follower, one tanda" concept...drink less vino more discerning, but dance more your "quality over quantity" approach...overcome your floorcraft, navigation and fedora issues..."it's not what happens to you, but how you CHOOSE to react to it..."...don't let your pig-like sweating propensity deter you from inviting...bring a towel...

Don't let the "horror, horror, horror" send the wrong message - that was only about the hotel issue - the horror of guests getting bumped, and the horror for the organizers - a "worst nightmare" scenario...

Overall, it was a great milonga. Atlanta puts on a great festival. It's a "warm and friendly" atmosphere. Everyone is smiling and chatting and having fun. Put it on your calendar and come on down!

P.S. To the leaders carrying on conversations whilst dancing - shut your YAPPER ...

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Architecture of Tango

Nothing profound, folks, just a concept that popped into my head this morning - a photo/graphical representation to make us think about things in a different way with regard to the ongoing debate. "Us" being Me, Myself and I.

[ Some of us don't get out to dance much, and so are left with reading and thinking and pondering about tango as the only outlet to feed our addiction. ]

Thoughts, comments, philosophies, and/or observations on the subject greatly appreciated, as always...

The Architecture of Tango

Saturday, December 12, 2009

La Revancha del Tango [en vivo]

Someone made a really cool music video...who knows, perhaps it's Gotan's original...?

Round about midnight

I was just creating a playlist for today - to listen to while I work on building my workshop in the misty rain - and ran across this one. Gotan Project meets Chet Baker. From their "Inspiración Espiración" album.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A couple of bugs, or a bug couple...

Right around dusk last night, we were out on the deck visiting with a friend from out of town, and enjoying a nice fire in the chiminea. When I picked up a log, I noticed these two hanging out underneath. Naturally, I had to go grab the camera, twist on the macro lens, and start shooting.

The depth of field on that sucker is extreeemly narrow, and with someone holding the log (e.g. not a stationary target), and me manually focusing, it became difficult to get a focused shot. I used a remote flash unit with a small softbox diffuser on it.

As far as the bugs go, I'm not sure what they are - they appeared to be different species, but might have been a male & female, or momma and (big) baby, mating, or just hanging out trying not to freeze to death.

Don't worry, I gently urged them to crawl away before dropping the log into the blaze.

A couple of bugs, or a bug couple...#1

A couple of bugs, or a bug couple...#2

[Fotos by Alex.Tango.Fuego]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When we build

When we build, let us think that we build forever.
Let it not be for present delight nor for present use
alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will
thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on
stone, that a time is to come when those stones
will be held sacred because our hands have
touched them, and that men will say, as they look
upon the labor and wrought substance of them,
“See! This our father did for us.”
John Ruskin