Turf dancing: I don’t got nothin’ on these guys.

Sledgehammer and Whore: we live in a strange, strange world.

Bionic cat walks on metal feet: the video is heartwarming; the potential for abuse is chilling. Chilling! (There’s also a later video on YouTube where Oscar has improved feet.)

A little earlier I got a call from Brian, who needed cigars quickly for a bachelor party. I (er… Google Maps) directed him to the nearby Smoke Shack, whose reviews informed me they have a convenient drive-thru window, and they sell Cocaine (apparently some energy drink?).

Brian just reported back: the Smoke Shack sent him to Tobacco Town, where he “was quite possibly served by someone on drugs.”

Awkward Stock Photos: the name says it all. My favorite, so far, has to be this one:

Old Spice’s video responses: in the blink of an eye, a washed-up brand has become awesome. Don’t start with the one to “everyone,” and be sure to watch the one to Haley after you’ve gotten the feel for them.

Ragdoll Cannon 3: Not quite as visceral as watching Skate crashes, but more interactive.

Birthday Eve retrospective

I’m a couple months late, but I did turn 30 sometime here. So old!

Birthday Eve I was invited to join a hardy band of OSU dancers—Barry, Meredith, Sarah and Johanna—on a daring excursion to a U of O ballroom dance. Before the dance, though, there was a potluck dinner.

I learned about this dinner about an hour before I was supposed to show up, so I didn’t have any time to really wow people with boxed macaroni and cheese or pigs in a blanket. Instead I hit Safeway—ingredients for stealing your wallet (but so conveniently located!)—and picked up ice cream and strawberries while en route to Barry’s.

At Barry’s I found Meredith finishing up a fancy-pants salad and dressing; once that was done we headed over to Sarah’s. Sarah made macaroni and cheese from scratch; Johanna made (I think) bacon and kale. There were a few gajillion people in the kitchen, so I mostly stayed out of the way, though I did grate some cheese to keep from feeling totally useless.

[As you’ve gathered, I don’t cook too much (or too fancy), so I’ve never really noticed how limiting my essential tremor is in the kitchen. Starting that evening, though, when Meredith kindly offered to slice the strawberries I had brought, I’ve begun to see what others can do that I cannot. Slicing food in your hand, cutting towards your thumb? Only if blood is an essential ingredient!]

Dinner was quite tasty, and Sarah’s housemates gave me a taste of the college social life that I never had. (Never living in the dorms is something I both regret and do not regret at all.) The meal—and preparation—took longer than expected, though, which meant we would have exactly one hour of dancing to look forward to.

The five of us piled comfortably into my Prius (everyone in that group, save me, is thin as a stick, so that’s not actually all that impressive—but I’ve been quite happy with how roomy my car is) and survived my attempt to drive to Salem/Portland on autopilot.

Oregon dances are remarkably different from OSU dances. For one thing, their formals are actually formal; my khaki pants were slightly underdressed, and my female friends were the only gals in attendance who were wearing pants (versus skirts or dresses). Even the formal at OSU will have a handful of people in jeans and t-shirts, and they’ll be a sizable minority (if not a majority) for most other dances.

The floor was definitely nicer. As rumored, every other song was a latin dance (OSU tends to favor west coast and lindy hop, but in general keeps the genres pretty well mixed). Most surprising to me, though, was how specialized the dancers seemed to be.

I asked a random gal to dance a foxtrot; she said that she was a tango dancer (?), but was willing to give it a go. And she really didn’t know the foxtrot—I was teaching her on the floor. (To her credit, she picked it up quickly despite my haphazard instructions. She wasn’t a bad dancer—she just didn’t know the foxtrot.)

When a waltz played, there were people doing the box step in the middle of the floor for the entire song. Lots of them.

I can’t really overstate how much that surprised me. I don’t really care or mind—if they’re having fun, then I have no beef—but I honestly didn’t know that you could become good at the tango, say, without knowing the basics of a progressive waltz. (Really: the basic step is pretty much walking forward/backward to the beat of the music. If you want to do it with proper form, of course, there’s more… but faking the general look isn’t hard.)

Post-dance we visited Off the Waffle, where we inspected a bizarre painted paper-mache sculpture of a female torso and the females applied crayons to coloring books. (Sarah took it upon herself to improve an already-colored dinosaur picture, and did a darn fine job of it. She also didn’t order anything to eat, though, so she had more time to devote to her project.) Barry and I refrained from the Crayola; instead I simply read through a horrifying coloring book tale about two old guys who want a son, and so create a Frankenstein monster on Halloween. They eventually turn their monster into a real boy, who gives them the love they so desperately craved. I’m sure the next coloring book this publisher released featured an old guy asking young kids if they’d like some candy.

On the way home I realized it was past midnight, and announced that it was an honor to have spent the final minutes of my twenties with my present company. Happy Birthday was sung (infinitely better than the office singing of old), and soon after the gals all fell asleep… leaving Barry and me to bear silent witness to our drive home.

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