6.01.2016

Rueda de Casino!

This week, I found a new favorite quote about dance. I am reading/listening to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and there is a line at the beginning about attendees of a wedding:

"Some do not dance anything at all, but simply hold each other's hands and allow the undisciplined joy of motion to express itself with their feet."
 
The undisciplined joy of motion...I can't think of a better way to express how I feel about dance, though I lack the eloquence of Sinclair (and boy is he eloquent in this book) in my expression. I have been quoting this to myself all day, while thinking about salsa class tomorrow and looking forward to it more than usual.


I mentioned a while ago about taking a salsa class as a means of completing part of a New Year's resolution. Well, here's that post I promised I was going to make about my salsa class. The style I'm dancing is called Rueda de Casino. The video above is actually some of my instructors and classmates dancing this style! Maybe one day if they get me on video, I will post that, but don't hold your breath, guys.  It's a group dance that started in the streets of Cuba and is danced in a circle or rueda, where moves are called out and partners are constantly switching. In Cuba, the moves would differ a lot even between different areas of the same city because people would make up their own and then groups jealousy guarded their own moves in their communities. The history of this dance and the flexibility and variety of moves is one of the things I have loved most about learning it! I've talked about dance as a passion of mine on this blog before; one that, in different phases of my life, hasn't been maintained as regularly or thoroughly as I really need in order to to feel fulfilled. Taking this class has been slowly filling that gap, teaching me to be confident in movement again and helping me feel that undisciplined joy of motion, and I am so happy and thankful to have dance to look forward to every week again!

4.24.2016

Book Reviews: Why Not Me? and Catcher in the Rye

In keeping with my resolutions, I recently finished two more books! The first, was Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me? which I basically knew I would like before I even started. Full of her usual charm and wit, Mindy Kaling rocked it yet again. I really enjoyed the glimpse into her life and how well the autobiographical and comedic components complemented each other to make this book so enjoyable. Also, reading the whole thing in her voice and with her delivery helped a lot. I would highly recommend this book.

The other book I read recently was J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Somehow I managed to make it through the entirety of my primary education without ever having to read this book, but I'd heard a lot about it, namely that the characters get more and more annoying the older you get. I can't really speak to what high-school-me would have thought about Holden Caulfield, but adult-me definitely found him a little over dramatic and judgy. That being said, I didn't have any trouble at all getting through this book and found the story pretty interesting overall. I've notcied that when I read books I had to read for school over again, I like them A LOT more than when I struggle to read a chapter a day and identify themes and symbolism and whatnot, so for those of you who didn't like this book much as a student, it might be worth another try. I'm not sure I would choose to read this again, but overall, I would recommend this book, especially as a one-time adult, re-read.

In other news, IT'S FINALLY WARM OUTSIDE. I'm pretty sure my mood has improved like 1000% since March.

3.29.2016

Tuesday Tunes!

Spring is in full swing here, and as I've been trying to spend more and more time outside walking in the warmer weather, I've been on the lookout for music that matches this significant uplifting of my spirits. Here's a few songs I've been enjoying!
1. "Summertime" - The Mowgli's
2. "Bounce With Me" - Ben Drake, John Clay, & Josh Radden
3. "Words I Never Said" - Lupe Fiasco ft. Skylar Grey
4. "Nothing Without Love" - Nate Ruess
5. "High Society" - Betty WHO

Also, there's the Hamilton: The Musical soundtrack, which I haven't included above because otherwise this Tuesday Tunes would be 30 songs long, but is a complete goddamn masterpiece through and through. Happy Tuesday, friends!

3.22.2016

Review: The Ghost Map


Second post this month?!? I bet you thought you were going crazy. But, I just couldn't wait to share a little bit about this book I finished over the weekend. N understands my profound love of all things infectious diseases and epidemiology and very astutely Googled "best epidemiology books" while looking for a gift for me last year. The one that had the best reviews was The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, which I later opened up, complete with nerdy squealing, as a Christmas gift. N wins all the Christmas present points for this one.

The Ghost Map tells the tale of one of the worst Cholera epidemics to ever hit Britain, and the story of how, eventually due to this outbreak, it was discovered that cholera was transmitted by drinking contaminated water. It seems like common sense now, but Johnson talks at length about how the leading theories at the time were basically that all disease was transmitted through air, and the way you knew this was the case was how bad it smelled. Now, we're talking pre-running water Victorian England here where people were chucking their waste out the front window down onto the street, so with a little imagination, I'm sure you can guess just how bad it probably smelled everywhere in London. If smell were truly a representation of disease, surely...everyone would have been dead or heading there. And then it talks about Dr. John Snow, now known as the father of modern epidemiology, who had just that thought and put it to action. In the end, with a little help from a local reverend, Snow not only managed to prove the waterborne theory, but discovered the source of the outbreak, how the water had gotten contaminated and by whom. Finally, Snow truly revolutionized the way we understand disease spread by mapping the span of the outbreak in a way that hadn't ever been done before. Overall, I would highly recommend this book. Even if you're not a public health person, it's an incredibly fast-paced and addicting read and not that this makes any difference, but you'd probably win a bunch of points in my book!

And happy spring, friends! Hope it's starting to warm up where you are!
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