Sunday, November 20, 2011

Words of wisdom

Contrails below, originally uploaded by Titoxd.

A wise woman once said, "life is an adventure, live and love with no regrets." She is incredibly right. And I'll say, watching an airplane fly below me is quite an adventure...

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Dance of Life: Part 5

2011 UNLV Desert Challenge — IMG_9997.JPG
2011 UNLV Desert Challenge — IMG_9997.JPG, originally uploaded by Titoxd

The most fundamental similarity between dancing and dating is that they both are endeavors that require constant communication between two people. Both of them are undertaken by individuals who are striving to reach a goal neither one can reach independently. Both can only work when the goals of both partners are shared and laid out in the open. The result of both dancing and dating can be expressions that are unparalleled in beauty. However, they required hard work by both the guy and the girl.

No single person can carry a partnership: the task is too complex and the difficulty is too high. As experience has let me know, relationships with a material unbalance in the expectations from each partner will invariably end up in disappointment, even if it doesn't occur immediately. So if you are planning on getting into some sort of commitment, be it before the dance floor or before the altar, be extremely clear of what you expect from the other person, and of what the other person expects of you.

The Dance of Life: Part 4

2011 UNLV Desert Challenge — IMG_2640.JPG
2011 UNLV Desert Challenge — IMG_2640.JPG, originally uploaded by Titoxd

We've been trying to draw parallels between ballroom dance partnerships and partnerships outside dance, and so far we have drawn a few interesting conclusions. However, dance really has a lot in common with life in general. Let's consider another example.

If you have two professional dancers who are performing an exhibition, and they have never danced with each other before (such as what happens in a Jack-and-Jill contest), chances are that they will look pretty good. Their technique will be [hopefully] flawless, and they will entertain the crowd with their flashy moves and their acting. (Ballroom dance does require some theatrics every now and then.) However, while both persons will move a lot, chances are that the combination will not move the audience, as my friend Jee would put it. If there are any disparities in skill or talent, this effect is magnified, and it will seem at times that one member of the partnership is showing off his moves, making his/her partner look bad in the process. As such, the partnership acquires a subtractive character, as the result of the partnership is lesser that the sum of the dancers' individual skill.

On the other hand, a professional partnership who has been dancing together for a considerable period of time is capable of adding a completely different dimension to their performance. I have watched couples who, by virtue of knowing each other's strengths and weaknesses, are able to tailor routines to maximize the appeal of their dance simply by working with each other. These partnerships are additive, instead of subtractive, as they are not based in showing off flashy trash.

Some couples are able to use this communication so effectively that they completely hypnotize a crowd, simply by doing basic steps in a way that exudes the characteristic of the dance. These are the couples that have reached a level of greatness seldom found anywhere else. The couple seduces each other during a Tango, and seduces the entire audience at the same time. Alternatively, the couple's Rumba makes the public wonder what the dancers really did after the performance. Outside the ballroom, the same effects can be achieved simply by knowing your partner, being open about your needs, working off each other's strengths, and avoiding each other's weaknesses.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Dance of Life: Part 3

2011 UNLV Desert Challenge — IMG_2476.JPG
2011 UNLV Desert Challenge — IMG_2476.JPG, originally uploaded by Titoxd

We can gather even more insight into romantic relationships if we continue to analyze the interactions between males and females in the ballroom. A Rumba pattern we tend to do rather often here in the beginning ballroom classes is what we call the "Around the World" dip. (I am sure it has a technical name, but hell if I know what it is…) In it, the guy and girl are doing Opposition Breaks, and the leader intercepts the follower, traps her right leg between his knees, bends her over backward, and allows her to snap her head right in front of his face. If done properly, this move is amazingly erotic.

The keyword here is "done properly": Since the girl is shifting her center of mass backwards by bending over, the guy will fall forward into the girl if he just stands there and looks pretty—and trust me, girls don't like guys falling over them. To avoid the epic fail, the guy needs to provide the proper support to the girl by pushing his bottom backwards, which shifts his own center of mass in a way that retains the common center of mass over their feet.

If we think about it, the girl is taking a large risk while doing this pattern. Her head is backwards in a position where if she just allowed herself to fall, she would hit herself in the back of the skull, possibly injuring herself. The support provided by the male is what allows her to do this pattern safely, and offers her a reward for her risk, as she ends up feeling hot and happy. The guy then becomes a beneficiary of the sensuality that the girl exudes during this dance move.

In life, girls will take risks when they feel they have the support from the guy. If the lady feels unsupported, she will be unwilling to risk injury—be it physical, mental, spiritual or emotional—and will be frustrated due to the lack of rewards. That frustration will be directly or indirectly pointed at the male, which is in her view useless. Now guys, do we want to be perceived as useless?

The Dance of Life: Part 2

2011 UNLV Desert Challenge — IMG_2060.JPG
2011 UNLV Desert Challenge — IMG_2060.JPG, originally uploaded by Titoxd

It turns out that the similarities between dance, life, and even sex do not stop there.

One of the principal elements in ballroom dance is connection between the two partners. We practice connection by standing in front of the partner, touching the other person with slight pressure only at the sides of the palms, and asking the lady to simply try to retain balance. We then ask the guy to lean forwards and back with no discernible rhythm.

The beautiful thing about this exercise is that it works properly only when there is sufficient connection between the couple. If the girl tries to backlead, she will not be able to correct whatever perturbations he causes in the partnership's balance, and they will fall down. It takes following—listening with the body—to maintain balance.

In a relationship, a similar concept applies. It takes listening with the heart to maintain the relationship's balance, but in this case, the following must be in both directions, as the guy needs to follow the girl's lead as well. If a guy or girl does not listen to the other person's needs, the relationship is doomed regardless of the efforts made by the partner.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Dance of Life: Part 1

2011 Phoenix Challenge (NQE) — IMG_6331
2011 Phoenix Challenge (NQE) — IMG_6331, originally uploaded by Titoxd

A few weeks ago, my friend Noël and I got into an awesome conversation, and concluded that awesome dance partners would make for amazing sex. We found that girls prefer a man who is dominant and confident, yet respectful and mindful of a girl's needs—and since we all know that happy wife = happy life, that constitutes one of the keys to a successful relationship. However, there is another very important requirement in a relationship: the girl has to respect the guy, trust him, and follow his lead. This can only happen when the girl is fully convinced that the guy has her interests in mind. What happens when she doesn't believe this? She starts to backlead, and at that point, nothing works right anymore. It works the same way in ballroom dancing and sex.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back from the future

I'm not sure I've ever seen this before. 64 packets were sent during a ping session, but we got 65 back? Where did the extra packet come from?

According to Occam's Razor, the most simple explanation is the one that is usually right, so there can only be one explanation...

The other packet... CAME BACK FROM THE FUTURE!

Ladies and gentlemen of the peanut gallery, listen to me for a second. This is a packet from the future, and things that come back from the future can only do two things: They can come to warn us about impending doom, or they can come to kill John Connor. Since Connor is already busy dealing with machines that look like old bodybuilders, we can safely assume that SkyNet would not send a packet to finish the job—that would be wastefully redundant on the machine's part. So what we have here is a crystal-clear case of a packet that is obviously trying to warn us about something. But what is it trying to tell us? It didn't come in a DeLorean, so it cannot have anything to do with Marty's kids... so what could it be? Will we be able to sleep at night again?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Choosing the right Pokébra

pokebra, originally uploaded by faseextra.

Now that you know how to make a Pokébra, we are found in a different dilemma. Which Pokébra to use? To save you time, here are a few quick-and-dirty rules to help you choose which one to wear in your next adventure...
pastedGraphic.pdf Poké Ball bra: the standard bra you want to use for easy-to-catch prey.
Great Ball bra: slightly better in catching prey than the Poké Ball bra, but usually overlooked for the Ultra Ball bra, which is only slightly more expensive. Besides, the red things might look rather weird under your top.
Ultra Ball bra: twice as likely to catch unsuspecting prey under all circumstances as the Poké Ball bra, with the added bonus that it is rather easy to get.
Safari Ball bra: useful only when you want to catch someone while in a wild safari adventure. You might need to throw some kind of bait at the victim before the Safari Ball bra does any good, though.
Master Ball bra: you use this one to catch the man that you MUST have.
pastedGraphic.pdf Level Ball bra: use this bra to catch prey that is not as experienced as you. Most effective for cougars, but be always on the lookout for jail bait
pastedGraphic.pdf Lure Ball bra: used to catch prey while fishing. You have to be rather patient to use this one, unless you are into using your bras to catch Magikarp
pastedGraphic.pdf Moon Ball bra: used to catch men that are cute and fluffy. Not sure why girls would like to do that though...
Friend Ball bra: this bra is used to make prey very friendly towards you. Mind you, if the prey are seeing your bra, they are friendly to begin with...
pastedGraphic.pdf Love Ball bra: it is has a really high catch rate on prey of the same species and opposite gender as you. Those who are into same-sex relationships and into animals might not want to use this one
Heavy Ball bra: it is effective in catching prey that are heavier than 451.5 lb. Which makes me ask why on Earth anyone would use this
pastedGraphic.pdf Fast Ball bra: used to catch prey that run from the encounter with you in the first turn. That is, it’s most effective on shy people
pastedGraphic.pdf Sport Ball bra: used to catch prey who are in the Bug-Catching Contest. Why would you want to grab bugs with your bra? eww
pastedGraphic.pdf Premier Ball bra: used to celebrate an event of some sort. If the prey is seeing your bra, it’s already a special event… ;)
Repeat Ball bra: used to catch people you have already caught before. Most useful for people who want to get together with their abusive ex-husband
pastedGraphic.pdf Timer Ball bra: it becomes more effective as the encounter goes on. Useful if you are a tease or if you are into foreplay
pastedGraphic.pdf Nest Ball bra: useful to catch baby prey. If you wear this, expect a visit from Chris Hansen
Net Ball bra: most effective for people who are into swimmers or those who are into bugs. Crikey!
Dive Ball bra: used to catch prey during underwater encounters. THAT would be a story to tell the grandkids...
pastedGraphic.pdf Luxury Ball bra: used to catch those who need to be pampered to like you. Sugar mamas’ Pokébra of choice
Heal Ball bra: fully restores the health and stamina of the prey you caught. HOW exactly did you catch it? o.O
Quick Ball bra: most effective when used right away, which makes it the best fit for exhibitionists
Dusk Ball bra: since most bras are exposed at night, the Dusk Ball bra gives you a very high prey catch rate, for nowhere near the cost as a Master Ball bra! Great value!
pastedGraphic.pdf Cherish Ball bra: you get this one as a gift, but can never actually use it on anyone
pastedGraphic.pdf Park Ball bra: it catches prey of older generations without fail. Useful if you are into Hugh Hefner or are a gold-digger
pastedGraphic.pdf Dream Ball bra: useful for catching prey that came out of your dreams. Nobody really understands how this one works, so just enjoy it

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

24" of radar

24" of radar, originally uploaded by Titoxd.

There isn't much weather around here, but when there is, having a large screen makes monitoring the radar GLORIOUS!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Uh oh

Uh oh, originally uploaded by Titoxd.

Sometimes you are the bug, and sometimes you are the windshield…

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Feral cats

Feral cats, originally uploaded by Titoxd.

I went for a walk around ASU the other day. There are SO MANY CATS, it isn't even funny... but I decided to take a few pictures of them instead. Enjoy!

Mare Variabilis

Mare Variabilis, originally uploaded by Titoxd.

It's all a blur, until the final answer surfaces...

No, not the photo, the solution itself! :P

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


IMG_7928, originally uploaded by Titoxd.

Some of them are on the ground, others are on the sky...

Engineering graffiti

Engineering graffiti, originally uploaded by Titoxd.

Well this something you would expect during normal classes—or even during finals—but not after finals...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Flames of Prayer

The entirety of the state of Arizona is in shock over the unfathomable events that transpired not even 48 hours ago. The dust from the vicious, inexplicable attacks on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has not settled yet, but the ramifications of the event are already becoming clear. As a nation, it seems that we have begun to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror, and to paraphrase Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, we need to do a little bit of soul searching as a nation.

Unfortunately, some people are still stuck in their political bunker mentality, a warped state of mind that produces a toxic atmosphere. That is the message I glean from looking through the comments on multiple news websites.

It has been reported that Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged perpetrator, read the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. Wannabe pundits use that as a tool to blame either the Right or the Left, depending on which one is politically convenient for them at the time. It is patently absurd to imply that because someone read a book, they instantly became followers of that philosophy, without any influence from people in the outside world. Yet, since Loughner read a book, he's a left-wing radical—or a right-wing fascist cracker, take your pick.

Even if they don't directly attribute the criminal act to the opposing political philosophy, they refer to this assassin as a "left-wing madman" or "right-wing madman" to make the other party look bad. In reality, the only adjective that works here is "madman;" nothing more is needed.

That is exactly what the Pima Sheriff lamented: The political atmosphere has become toxic. America has become dominated by a sports-based political system: My team are the "good guys who want to save our country", while your team are the "evil bad guys who want to ruin our country". Neither side of the political spectrum even considers the possibility that the other side cares about this country as much as they do, just considers a different solution to be optimal. The media encourages us to villainize those who disagree with us, instead of trying to find a middle ground. We have an opportunity to pull together and figure out how to resolve our differences with decorum. However, I've also seen too much finger-pointing going on, which only perpetuates the problem.

It is in this atmosphere that ridiculous absolute statements such as "the government wants to slave us all", or "corporations want to slave us all" take root. It doesn't take much for somebody who has some loose screws to believe this garbage, and decide to act irrationally.

If this situation doesn't change, will we need to ask what's next? Or rather, will the appropriate question be who is next?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

This doesn't look like home

IMG_4621, originally uploaded by Titoxd.

The last storm produced a lot of snow in the high country, and also closer to home. A quick drive on AZ-77 just south of Globe showed snow on the road and all sorts of conditions you wouldn't expect in the desert. It was pretty sweet.

On other news, I launched #azstormwatch on Twitter to provide updates on weather phenomena affecting the state (which tends to be most of the content of my twitter feed nowadays). Check it out and follow it if you find those useful.