Whenever I am in a bar or night club having a few drinks with friends I find it impossible to stop myself from tapping my foot in time with the music being played. It doesn’t even matter if the music is terrible. Half the time I don’t even realize I am doing it.
It’s as if a little devil and angel are sitting on either shoulder while they argue with me in the center. The subject of their argument is not my mortal soul however. The debate that rages between them is much more important then that. To dance or not to dance?
Despite my involuntary foot tapping I have always been someone who initially resist the call of the dance floor as if everyone’s attention will be on me as soon as I step a single foot upon it.
However, I always find it impossible to stay on the side lines for long. Slowly the foot tapping turns into a head bob. The head bob turns into a sway. The sway turns into a dance and before I know what has happened I suddenly realize I am out on the dance floor getting jiggy with it as if guided by some unknown mystical force. This might partly explain why I ended up dancing like a maniac last Friday while wearing a large novelty pimp hat. I was later described as a dancing machine but still have no idea of where the hat came from. Hopefully it was not from an actual pimp.
Threw my experience with involuntary dancing I believe I have worked out the mathematical formula that predicts what will make someone dance. I have worked out this highly scientific theory using a percentage system. The closer to a 100% scored during the course of the night the higher the chance that dancing will ensue:
If there is no one on the dance floor: -20%
If there is a small group on the dance floor: +15%
If there is a large group on the dance floor: +25%
If there is a really embarrassing drunk person on the dance floor who will over shadow even your worst moves: +15%
If the really embarrassing drunk person is alone on the dance floor and you will be in direct competition with them -20%
After consuming four beers: +25%
Every additional beer after four: +10%
After every beer over eight: -12%
After 12 beers: You are the really embarrassing drunk person.
After 16 beers: Call an ambulance. Find a stomach pump. Reset to 0%
Your favorite song (otherwise known as the Catalyst Song) is played: Multiply score by 1.5.
The Catalyst Song rule also applies to the following: YMCA, Fame and the head banging part of Bohemian Rhapsody.
I freely call myself an accident prone man. I am comfortable with doing so because it is something that gives me a lot of funny stories to write about. Lately I have been a lot less accident prone but I still got a chance to live up to my blogs reputation this week when I met fellow blogger Blonde but Bright.
We had arranged to meet at a bar for a few drinks along with another of her friends but I was having trouble finding the place. After some unsuccessful searching I decided to give BBB a call.
Me: “Hi. It’s Stuart. I’m near the cinema but I’m not sure where this bar is.”
BBB: “Ok. What tram stop are you near?”
Me: “Er… None I think. I don’t know this area too well.”
I’d only ever been there to go to the cinema.
BBB: “Do you know The Heineken brewery? It’s right near there.”
All I could see was the Heineken Music Hall but I didn’t think they would be hiding a distillery behind the bar where any drunken customer could get to it and drink them into bankruptcy.
Me: “Umm. I don’t really know where that is either.”
I suddenly felt like I could not truly call myself English because of my lack of beer related landmarks.
It sounded like she could not believe I was English anymore either.
BBB: “It’s South of the flower market.”
Me: “Flower market? They have one of those here?”
I knew of a flower market but that was a few miles away.
BBB: “Yes. It’s near the big clock tower.”
I knew of a big clock tower as well but that was also a few miles away near that flower market. Slowly realization started to dawn on me…
Me: “Oh… wait.”
… and then I suddenly knew what I had done.
Me: “You’re in Amsterdam aren’t you?”
As soon as my brain reorganized the landmarks into their correct setting I knew exactly where the place was. It was in a part of Amsterdam that was very hard to mistake for any where else and I wasn’t even in Amsterdam. I had got the address wrong by a few miles. Another train journey later and the charming Blonde but Bright got to meet Ginger but Dim.
To say it has been a bit windy lately would be an understatement. Yesterday Holland suddenly descended into complete chaos as a large storm swept across the country coursing more damage then a visit from Godzilla.
The streets turned into high powered wind tunnels populated by pedestrians struggling to keep on their feet. Anyone carrying an umbrella ran the risk of being blown into a near by canal or Belgium.
All trains came to a complete stand still by order of the traffic police due to leaves on the line. Normally this would not be too much of a problem but the trees were still attached at the time.
Roads turned into rivers, people in high rise buildings were getting sea sick, traffic took over an hour to go just one hundred meters and everyone was advised to stay indoors and off the roads.
My journey home that normally takes 20 minutes took four and half hours. I spent the evening listening to the high winds raging outside as parts of the house rattled and shook. I would not have been too surprised to wake up in the morning and discover that the house had landed in Oz after being swept up in the storm and crash landing, killing The Wicked Witch of the East in the process.
On the upside, all the wind turbines in Holland must have generated enough power to supply the rest of the world into the 25th century.
New Years Resolutions are never easy to keep. Seven years ago I decided my goal would be to learn Chess. To date my only knowledge of the game is that trampling the opponent’s peaces with a toy dinosaur while making roaring noises is sadly not a winning move. My only successful New Years Resolution so far has been to stop smoking which was very easy because I had never started (so officially I still failed).
This year I decided my task would be to exercise more, eat healthier and get in shape. These goals were not easy either. Every short jog was an exhausting marathon which left me in desperate need of an oxygen mask and a stretcher to carry me home. Every snack left on a co-workers desk was a tempting offer, triggering a whisper of a voice in my mind telling me to blame its sudden disappearance on the greedy office mice.
There was several times where it seemed I would give in and fail. However, I have managed to be good and things have slowly gotten easier. I am able to resist the temptation of liberating co-workers snacks (the mice beat me to it anyway) and I no longer need a paramedic team on stand by in case I keel over during my evening run. My health is slowly improving and I can now out run every enthusiastic dog who think I am inviting them to take part in a friendly game of fetch the jogger (as they drag their owners behind them). Soon I might turn into Stuart Austin, The Six Million Euro Expat.
However, jogging has a darker side as well as a good side, its own Ying & Yang or Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hide.
On the one side a jogger is someone with a mission. As they run through the streets and fields in their trainers and tracksuit they are someone trying to improve their health through exorcise. You can see the determination and commitment on their faces as they speed by. These are qualities to admire.
However, all that changes the moment any jogger slows to a walk. Suddenly they no longer look like a jogger. Suddenly they look like a Chav. With out the act of running they simply look like someone walking around in a tracksuit as a fashion statement. The fact that they are still out of breath could be mistaken for the results of a quick get away from a shop security guard. At least that would explain some of the strange looks I have got in the street.
It is possible that I am the unwitting participant in some sort of social studies experiment. What the aim of this experiment is I can not say but I definitely know I drew the short straw.
Recently my flat mate started a new job in an office much like my own. We both do a lot of work with computers and both work similar office hours. However, there is one major difference between the two jobs, a difference he likes to keep on reminding me about. I work in an office mostly inhabited by men but my flat mate is now working in an office almost exclusively populated by women.
It’s as if we have both been placed in very different controlled test environments while someone in a white coat with a clip board and a mustache watches via hidden cameras and takes note on how we react to our different situations.
Step 1) Place computer nerd 1 (Subject Alpha) in an office populated with men.
Step 2) Place computer nerd 2 (Subject Beta) in an office populated with women.
Step 3) Observe and document results.
I keep on looking over my shoulder for Richard Hammond and the Braniac team or members of the Dharma Initiative.
Unfortunately for me programmers with long hair are not a substitute for female co-workers, the stubble completely destroys the illusion and the idea of them in a low cut top is truly the stuff of nightmares.
However, my flat mate has not won in every aspect. There are some negative aspects to being a man in an office full of women. There is no one in his office that he can debate with about who was the better captain, Picard or Kirk.