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Rooftops of Tehran

I just read this book - Rooftops of Tehran

It was so amazing that I've been recommending it to everyone. I got it from the Amazon Vine program. I've read so many books set in Iran and the majority of them have been boring. This one did not bore me at all. It actually got me interested in Iran. Maybe because it was set in the pre-revolution Iran, which makes it a very different place.

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highlights & lowlights

Yesterday I had some great food and some terrible food. The terrible food was so bad that I can't stop thinking about it - even had a nightmare.

We were down in CT and I wanted to take some friends to a great restaurant I remembered from my days working in New Haven, Roomba. It was a little trendy but I used to be able to get a drink, appetizer and dinner for less than 50$. On the way down we got directions, where I found out that Roomba was gone, replaced by a place called Sabor around the corner. The reviews on Yelp were mainly positive about the food, and negative on the service. I wrote that off to cheap college students getting poor treatment due to usually bad tips, especially since some said they were in fact cheap college students who were angry about paying 7$ for a beer.

It was one of the most disappointing meals of my LIFE. Here's my review
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The good food, though? It was great & cheap. Lesson learned - trust your friends that live there to bring you to the right places and don't try to get creative! We went to this amazing hole-in-the-wall Mexican place, really authentic - Iguanas y Ranas. I had a delicious gordita (nothing like what Taco Bell calls a gordita) and two tacos al pastor. Alli had a taco sampler of her own design, carnitas, lengua y al pastor. Our friends stuck with their favorite - the burritos - which also looked amazing.

Later that night, to take the taste of "Sabor" out of our mouths, we stopped at Mortenson's, a local ice cream place. Fast-moving line (faster than JP Licks) and I had the best chocolate PB butter cup ice cream with hot fudge. It was so good that I feel I must re-create the experience tonight.


Reminder: Odditorium tomorrow night

If you'd like to see a fun show tomorrow night, the Odditorium hosted by Boston's premiere snakedancer - Zehara Nachash - promises something for everyone.  Well, everyone over 18 that is!
  • Burlesque - including the rare solo by our own spitcurl</lj> 
  • Fusion and Tribal Bellydance Acts (including Lilya and myself, performing with veil poi)
  • Comedy Vaudeville Acts, with Oddville Vaudeville
  • Juggling and Contortionists, Hula Hoopers, the Amazing Human Floor
  • With  Music by The Wood Spider and Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band
And now with the  Eight Corner Globe - one of those old school cabinets of oddities - for intermission

You can still purchase tickets at the door for $15.00.
This show is expected to sell out so get there early. Doors open at 7 pm. Once these are
gone they are gone....

8-10:30 PM
YMCA Theatre
820 Mass. Ave.
Central Square, Cambridge
18+ & Over Only

Doors Open At 7:00 PM

T-accessible  & PLENTY of parking (on street and off)
For driving and public transportation directions visit the
 YMCA Theatre Website


Jan. 19th, 2009

Doomsday was AWESOME.  Thank you for the recommendation, Forrest - even though you prefaced it by telling me it wasn't actually a good movie.  It was so fun to watch.  The soundtrack was quite enjoyable too, quite a flashback to the 80s.

Of course, it wasn't a realistic portrayal of such things.  No, an entire city wouldn't have gone punk rock and still have perfectly intact fetish gear to wear after 30 years.  Nor would manic panic have been available in such supplies to dye the hair of every person in the city.  People wouldn't have figured out how to create metal suits of armor in that amount of time.  The sports car wouldn't have operated seamlessly after 30 years not being driven.  But who cares?  It was awesome.

It was like Robin Hood, Road Warrior, and Escape from New York all in one movie.


Review of 1-2-3 Drum Solo with Bahaia

This is a review of one of the newest releases from Cheeky Girls Productions - 1-2-3 Drum Solo with Bahaia.

This is one of the best beginner drum solo DVDs I have seen. It does an excellent job of describing and drilling the movements, and then the simple choreography is demonstrated in 6 sections, each with 3 opportunities to practice. This drum solo choreography includes three different types of shimmies, and creative use of directional changes to spice up the hip and chest articulations. Best of all, the choreography is very adaptable. I learned the initial choreography and have already come up with some more advanced variations and ornamentation, so that I could use this choreography in my own shows.

The DVD begins with technique practice. Bahaia explains the muscle dynamics and body positioning needed to execute the movements, and then the student has ample opportunities to practice it to movements, with variations. This section contained 9 different techniques, including the Saidi hip drop, the choo-choo shimmy, and the 3/4 shimmy. Next, the choreography put these movements together, with Bahaia facing towards a mirror, so you could see both the front and the back of the movements. The DVD ends with a live performance in costume. Because of the way the choreography was taught, I have it completely memorized only having done the video once. I loved the fact that the full choreography itself was repeated three times. Often, a dancer completes an entire choreography video and only has the chance to do the whole thing once - or even not at all on some videos.

Cheeky Girls Productions is known for their excellent videography and this video is no different. The camera angle choices and panning made it very easy to follow. As dancers themselves, the producers understand that the audience can't get enough practice, and that we love to see costumed performances by the instructor we're already inspired by. This DVD also contains a number of extras, from a delightful performance by Bahaia to an Oriental composition, to descriptions and demonstrations of the drum rhythms used in this drum solo. There is also the opportunity for extended practice and drilling of the technique without the instruction.

I would not shy away from recommending this video to beginner students. For advanced students, the vast majority of the instruction would be review, although the choreography is cute - and the DVD footage of Bahaia is a nice to have. Intermediate and Advanced Students may also enjoy Michelle Joyce's Pop, Lock, and Shimmy, which shares a similar format, but has more advanced combinations and movements.
I'm reading The Historian and it is one of the scariest books I've ever read. It gives you the feeling that by reading it, you too could be in grave danger. Set in such a familiar world, you can piicture the scenes occurring at your own alma mater. I have read it twice now before sleeping and each timeI dreamed of danger and awoke afraid. Effective at its job of a horror novel it is.


color me impressed

OK, Andrew Zimmern is definitely the equal of Anthony Bourdain now. Why? I just watched Bizarre Worlds: Turkey. Andrew Zimmern not only talked about the history of male bellydancing in Turkey - he DID it himself, finger cymbals and all. Instead of the obvious, going for the tv-friendly Turkish nightclub dancers, he went to a little cafe with male bellydancers (who apparently dance for up to 2 hours at a stretch). Having the cohones to get up there and JOIN them when requested, that's why Andrew Zimmern rocks.


Oct. 19th, 2008

I just had the worst experience on Facebook and I want to write about it to let other people in case they make the same mistake I did.

Somehow, this "Social Profile" item showed up in my Applications.  I hadn't seen it before.  I opened it and saw that I had been rated (by one anonymous person) fairly low in all areas.  That kinda sucked.  But it said  "Rate your friends to get better ratings."  I said to myself, well, let's see how it works.  Then I will better understand why one of my supposed friends has rated me so low - maybe it's just a stupid algorithm.

So I open that up and it's another app, Compare People.  It looks sorta like the Hot or Not interface, only it asks different questions ranging from "Which one of these people is funnier, talkative, crazier" "Who would rather spend a week on a desert island?" and "Who is more hot".  Often I was presented with two ridiculous choices.  for example, some guy I don't know and one of my friends' husbands.  Well, which one smells better?  I chose the one I know vs. the one I didn't know, even if I couldn't recall smelling them.  I would see two  male former co-workers for "hotness" and be like "Well, I guess this one is hotter. *shrug*."  If I didn't know someone very well, they never won the comparison, even if the person I was comparing them to didn't fit the adjective either.  

Then I noticed the very small print "Notify your friends of your comparison?"

So basically, I think - and I can't be sure - that my friends were notified that either I didn't think they were as hot, crazy, talkative, fun, kind etc as another friend - which could have been purely whim or fancy.  And I have co-workers who were notified that I think they are hot.  I had been playing with it aimlessly for quite a while - about 100 questions.  I only saw 12 notifications and was able, I think, to attempt to cancel them all.  I also went into the app and "opted out" saying I never wanted to be displayed in anyone's "Compare People" app ever, and I never want to see this application again.  I removed it from my profile.  I considered deleting my account.  I was so mortified!  If I had known people would be notified, I wouldn't have been so cavalier.

I also think that "comparing" your friends is fucked up as a concept.  I wouldn't want to be compared! I don't want to see a ranking where I am ranked as #22 hottest.  We all want to be the #1 hottest even though I can probably think of 21 people that ARE hotter than me - I don't want to imagine that people are actually comparing me to others.  I don't want to rank or compare my friends.  Even on my Top Dancers application, I "ranked" the dancers by alphabetical order!

also, I hate those ads that pop up in Facebook that tell you that 3 people hate you.  WTF?  I don't need to know that.

Level III - 30 day Shred

Tonight I tried Level III of 30-day-shred (in my continuing review of it.)

I thought I might be up to it.  Honestly, that is the hardest I've worked and the most I've sweated in a long time.  If it weren't for my knees, which are started to ache, I would be able to do most of Level II.  But Level III?  There were moves on there I just couldn't do - had never even seen before - probably never could have done in the best days of boxing.  Like rock star jumps.  if it wasn't for my knees, honestly, I probably could keep up.  Still, this is the first of the three levels that actually taxed my cardio capacity, leaving me slightly out of breath.  After all, with all the bellydancing I do, my cardiovascular is in great shape compared to my muscles, which usually tire first.

The strength started out deceptively easy with a walking plank and supermans.  Core moves, I'm strong on.  Most of the cardio moves had weights added to them, or involved plyometrics.  I even reluctantly did the hated mountain climbers.  It was the final circuit of strength that finally destroyed me.  Imagine plank position, but instead of being on your hands, hold hand-weights.  Now alternate pulling back those handweights (while balancing in plank) and lifting a rear leg - still in plank.  There was also a travelling pushup where I had to move back down to my knees.  I hope I can do my 100 Pushups tonight given what I just went through!



My department is looking to hire two more Applications Analysts.

Please feel free to forward this on.
I couldn't find the link to JobGoth anymore on Yahoo Groups.
I have several positions open in my department.

IS Applications Analyst - 080525
Job: Information Systems/Technology (IS/IT)
Primary Location: USA-MA-Wilmington
Plans, conducts, and directs the analysis of complex business problems to be solved with automated systems. Provides technical assistance in identifying, evaluating, and developing systems and procedures that are cost effective and meet user requirements. Configures system settings and options; plans and executes unit, integration, and acceptance testing; and creates specifications for systems to meet business requirements. Designs details of automated systems. May provide consultation to users in the area of automated systems. May lead cross-functional linked teams to address business or systems issues.
Supports the existing application, reports and tools, participates in the development of systems software, as well as enhancements, modifications and corrections to existing software. Codes, tests, integrates and documents software solutions.
A bachelor's degree in computer science or MIS from an accredited four-year college or university or equivalent relevant experience plus 3-5 years of related and progressive experience
Experienced with any .NET and Java.
Experience with reading, authoring and editing XML documents.
1-3 years experience in developing application-level software, display/GUI development.
Experience with Microsoft SQL Server 2000 or 2005.
Experience making positive contributions in a team environment.
A diligent work ethic and the discipline to prioritize and manage multiple tasks.
Excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to communicate solutions.
Preferred Experience:
Analog Devices will give priority consideration to candidates who have one of the following:
Experience using Savvion, Remedy ARS, Crystal Reports .
Working knowledge of building and in particular, consuming web services.
Experience with reading, authoring and editing XML documents.
Schedule: Full-time
Education Level: Bachelor's Degree (±16 years)
Employee Status: Regular
Travel: Yes, 10% of the time
Job Level: Individual Contributor
Job Type: Experienced

IS Applications Analyst - 080462
Job: Information Systems/Technology (IS/IT)
Primary Location: USA-MA-Wilmington
Provide application development support for manufacturing-related projects, including collecting requirements, implementing solutions, and managing upgrades and enhancements. Manage multiple tasks and responsibilities. Act as a liaison to other manufacturing groups (Test, Yield, Planning, and Quality). Design data collection and delivery mechanisms on the SQL and Oracle platforms. Create and maintain documentation for all development activities. Create system monitoring solutions and automated notification systems.
Bachelors Degree in Computer Information Systems plus one to three years of directly related work experience or equivalent education and experience required.
In depth knowledge of JAVA, SQL Server, and Oracle development tools such as TOAD. Experienced with large-scale database design and administration. Moderate to advanced knowledge of Solaris (8-10), Red Hat Linux, and Windows Server environments. Familarity with Oracle 10g database structures and design, PL/SQL, as well as MES systems such as PROMIS. Application development project

For both of these, I work for the people who are hiring and can pass your resume along.
More jobs at Analog are listed here: http://www.analog.com/en/careers/job-search/content/index.html