Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dance Like A Conductor

I suppose this is as good a time as any to talk about salsa dancing.

I don't think I've said much about it on this blog. What can you say really about something you like? With wrestling and comedy, I often talk about what I appreciate ABOUT it in an attempt to share why I like it.

But there's a difference between appreciating something and liking it. The former is something that you can express; the latter...forget about it.

So yeah, I like dancing.

I also find it frustrating. For the most part, I take mistakes in stride. I've learned enough new things in my life to realize any skill worth developing takes time and that if you put that time in, the results will come. As I used to tell my peers in martial arts so many years ago: "Tenacity trumps talent."

But one aspect of salsa dancing I take personally, and that's leading.

I'm not bothered by my footwork or timing being off--although as a former musician, you think I should be bothered by it. But a failure to lead properly really hits me hard.

Maybe it's because if I screw up a lead, it's my partner that looks bad.

Maybe it's because I've never really been comfortable leading in any other area of my life either. I can be assertive when I need to be, but my 'need' bar is set lower than many. It shouldn't bother me, but I do get sensitive about it in my less-confident moments.

So when I lead a move wrong when I dance, instead of just being a mistake, it's just another piece of evidence of how hopeless I am at taking charge or going after what I want.

I was talking me to Bastet about this, and she shared this link with me.

And something about it hit me really hard.

It helped me realize what I want to do when I lead, and knowing what you want to accomplish is a pretty good first step to getting there. Some might even say it's the ONLY step.

I'm sure I've mentioned in this space about how I want to "do comedy like a wrestler."

After seeing that clip, I know how I want to lead.

New Suicide Girls Article Up

It's on the bar scene. In fact, it was inspired by a post on this very blog some months ago.

You can read the article here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Absence of No

(This is a repost from one of my other blogs Hot Chicks & Strangers, where I often riff on dating issues in preparation for turning them into more polished articles. I'm posting it here, because I'm actively soliciting people's opinions on the issue and this seems to be the blog that hits the broadest demographic)

There's an idea a lot of folks in the dating advice biz(including myself sometimes)encourage, especially when we're dealing with the male side of the equation and even more especially when dealing with shyer, less confident males.

When it comes to approaching women, asking for phone numbers, or even "physcial escalation" (a euphemism for everything from hand-holding to kissing to...um...well, you know, THAT), we often encourage guys to err on the side of assertiveness. Better to be too aggressive, we tell than not aggressive enough.

A lot of guys are uncomfortable asking women out or making moves on them. One of the things we try and reinforce is that it is okay to be attracted to someone. It is not bad to strike up a conversation with a stranger and ask for her phone number. You are not a bad person for wanting sex.

We also try to educate them to the fact that women, for the most part, are not going to be mean to you or embarass you for talking to them. In fact, many women enjoy meeting attractive guys. To paraphrase Hitch, "No woman wakes up in the morning thinking, 'I sure hope I don't get swept off my feet by some awesome guy today."

However, some men--some of whom sadly enough are giving advice to other men--take it too far. According to them, "anything that is not a 'no' is a 'yes.'"

And that's simply not true.

The party line to support this argument goes something like this:

1 - Women like sex.
2 - Society punishes women for having sex.
3 - Therefore, any resistance a woman has to sex that isn't an outright 'no' is just societal programming.

In other words, she wants it, but she doesn't want to feel like a slut. By not forcing her to give us an explicit 'yes', we're leaving her the 'it just happened' defence.

And you know what? Sometimes that's exactly true. But using it as an across-the-board argument for steamrolling ahead in the absence of any explicit resistance... That makes me nervous.

I am friends with many women. I have heard a lot more stories about women having sex when they didn't really want to than times when they wanted sex and didn't get it.

Why would a woman have sex when she doesn't want to, you might ask? And if she didn't want to have sex, why wouldn't she resist or say something?

Believe it or not, there are reasons. Maybe she was worried about her physical safety. Maybe she was impaired. Maybe she DID say no and the guy didn't hear it or recognize the signal.

And then there's that whole social pressure thing. While it's true that society isn't always the most encouraging about women having sex. But there are also times when there is an equally strong social pressure on a woman to have sex even when she doesn't want to.

Most of all, I'm uncomfortable with anyone presuming to know what someone else "really" wants. When people do it to me, it pisses me right off. Not only that--even if you have good intentions, it's a dangerous attitude, whether the subject is sex, religion, money, power, or anything else.

I'm not against well-meaning guys approaching women and screwing it up. It sucks to be on the receiving end of these graceless attempts and I wish women didn't have to go through it, but I just don't know any other way for guys to learn but making mistakes.

Most of the women I know have dealt with worse problems than an awkward conversation at a bus stop. If it eases the sting, think of it as a compliment that the guy was interested or as a public service to other women--you're helping a guy learn so he's maybe a little more poised with the next woman he meets.

It's when guys don't take no for an answer--or don't recognize the signals of the 'unspoken no' that things turn scary. And when you bring sex into the equation and all of its potential physical and emotional consequences...not recognizing someone's comfort levels can have some pretty dire consequences.

The absence of no is not a yes. Moreover, deep down, I think we all know this. Telling lies to the contrary--to women, to less-experienced guys, and to ourselves--is a dangerous path to tread.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Scene From A Relationship: As You Wish

Dan and Bastet are concluding a rather tumutuous state-of-the-union discussion re: their relationship

DAN: Well, if you want to break up, I just want to make things as clean and easy for you as possible.
BASTET: I don't want breaking up with you to be clean and easy. I want it to be slow and lingering and painful.

A moment passes as Dan is bewildered into silence. Finally...

DAN: That also can be arranged.

Throw me down a hill and call me Westley.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Upcoming Comedy

Wednesday, November 28 - The Laugh Shop, Edmonton
Monday, November 9 - The Comic Strip, Edmonton

I'll be MCing the 9th show, which is very exciting. The MC spot is the most challenging spot on a show, but also the most creatively rewarding.

Sometimes you even get people saying, "You're pretty funny too. Maybe YOU should try being a comedian."

I'll keep that in mind.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WIshing You The Best In All Your Future Endeavours (Joke Training Camp)

Guest spots are joke training camp.

For those of you who don't know, a guest spot is when a comedian makes a brief five to seven minute appearance early on a show. For me a guest spot is the best time to work new material since it's a) a short set and b) early in the show so there's little chance of derailing the whole night if you bomb.

If I do a five to seven minute spot and I'm NOT doing working on fresh material, I feel I'm cheating myself and I'm cheating those jokes.

Sadly, just like in training camp, sometimes I'm forced to make cuts. Sometimes it's obvious which jokes aren't ready for the big leagues. Other times, a joke shows flashes of brilliance, but just isn't consistent.

In such cases, the decision is a lot tougher? Does it just need more stage time to grow? Or is this as good as it will ever get?

It's tough to cut some of those jokes. Many are hard workers, show a lot of heart, and the raw potential is there. They just aren't getting it done. Maybe it's a chemistry thing. Maybe the joke just needs a little work on its fundamentals before it's ready for another shot.

The toughest part though, is sometimes I feel the fault is mine. Maybe I didn't perform the joke well enough. Maybe I didn't put it in a position to succeed. Maybe I'm a bad joke coach/GM.

Such is life.

Thanks for coming out jokes. Those of you that made the roster, you'll see your name on the list posted outside the dressing room door. The rest of you...

...well, like I said, thanks for coming out. Wish there was room for all of you, but you know how it is. Cap space and all that. You've got a lot of grit, kid.

Better luck next year.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Dating Article Up

New article up. It's on the Progressive Buddhism blog and it's about how Buddhist training can help you with dating.

Read it here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slices Of Dan's Life and A Couple Of Links

SLICE # 1

I wanted to write an extended blog post about the OSCW afterparty on Saturday which included drinking, dancing, women, overloaded vehicles, missing wrestlers, Transformers: the Animated Movie quotes, getting pictures taken with random drunk strangers, and the most unconvincing declaration of fidelity ever(*).

Too much happened. You'll have to settle for this moment, which was representative of the evening.

A bunch of the wrestlers and I are wedged in one of the Sanchez brothers' car following Boris' vehicle to our next destination. I unwisely have my backpack with me instead of in the trunk and it is wedged under my chin and into the side of Mentallo's face.

MENTALLO: What's in that thing anyway that you need it with you--the fifteen thousand dollars from the Big John Studd Bodyslam Challenge?
BORIS: Hey, if I'm in here with you guys, who the F*** is driving my car?

SLICE #2

I am giving Bastet a backrub.

BASTET: You know you've gotten a lot better at giving back rubs over the past few months. Have you been practicing?

Dan's brain immediately flashes back to being locked in a community hall bathroom rubbing fake tan lotion on Heavy Metal's back at the past few OSCW shows.

DAN'S BRAIN: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DAN: I don't know, sweetie. It must be just because of how much I love you.

I'm performing comedy at the Rouge Lounge tonight on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton. If you have the night free, come on down.

OTHER LINKS:

For those of you interested in women's issues, here are a couple links I posted on my Facebook page today. One is from Poetry of Flesh on why she isn't a feminist. The second one is on why women have a hard time trusting men.


(*) "Overall, I've been pretty faithful to my wife." Put that on a 25th annivesary card, Hallmark.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Horse First, Cart Second (The Dan-ist Conspiracy)

I love ideas. There seem to be as many ways to perceive the world as there are people to perceive it.

However, when it comes to the various -ologys and -isms--be they capitalism, feminism, compassionate conservatism, or even...gulp...Buddhism--I try to write myself a memo.

Memo to self: Horse first, cart second.

There are a lot of interesting ways of looking at the world. The catch is when peopele start trying to make the world conform to their way of looking at it. Their view of the world shifts from being a description of what is to a prescription for what SHOULD be.

Here's an example. We'll call it Dan-ism.

Here are some tenets of Dan-ism.

1 - The world is fundamentally a good place
2 - In social situations, self-expression should be the most important thing
3 - Being Judgemental is bad
4 - People have the right to say shocking or inappropriate things as long as they are funny.
5 - People have the right to choose their sexual partner

I don't think this is a totally unreasonable way of looking at the world. Tenet 4 might give Dan-ists some trouble, since humor is so subjective, but overall, not a bad way to live.

HOWEVER...

Let's say our Dan-ist accidentally makes a judgement about somebody else's beliefs. He has violated the central tenet of Dan-ism, which means he must do one of two things. He can deny it ever happened and start making up increasingly elaborate rationalizations about how what he did/said was not judgmental. OR he can drown himself in guilt and self-loathing for "being a bad Dan-ist."

Neither will make him or other people particularly happy.

Or maybe one Dan-ist expresses that the world isn't always so great. Dan-ists everywhere go into a tizzy. What is more important? Self-expression or the view that the world is fundamentally good? The result is a schism in between the Orthodox Dan-ists and the Dan-ist Orthodoxy, where two groups of people with nearly identical beliefs suddenly find themselves locked in a bitter struggle over dogma.

Or let's say our Dan-ist lives in Canada. Let's see he suddenly realizes, "Hey, wait a minute. There are women in Sweden I've never met. I have the right to choose my own sexual partner, so therefore, I demand that all women in Sweden--nay, all women in the WORLD--move to my city so I can choose whether or not to have sex with them."

The women of the world may have something to say about that. Oh, he can try to make it happen. He can lobby or send his Giant Robot Army (did I mention our hypothetical Dan-ist is a Super-Genius? Well, he is) out into the world to bring back the feminine population...but it will result in great misery for himself, the women, and the rest of the world at large.

Or if he has no Robot Army, he may start an internet blog railing against the social injustice of Women Living In Other Countries. He might even sell stickers and have a PayPal account where "donations are gratefully accepted." He may even organize rallies at his local University campus.

Probably not though that last part though. Complaining over the internet is way easier than taking action [/cheap shot].

There are lots of ways of different world views out there. But a world view is not the same thing as the WORLD. Getting stuck on one is like staring at the guidebook to Paris while standing on top of the Eiffel tower. There's a lot of use to be found in a guidebook, but not at the expense of missing out on the actual experience.


UPCOMING EVENTS

COMEDY
Wednesday, October 21 - Rouge Lounge, Edmonton

WRESTLING
Saturday, October 17 - OSCW Thriller, Hazeldean Community Hall, Edmonton

MEDITATION INSTRUCTION (I'll only be helping)
Saturday, October 17 - Strathcona Public Libary, Edmonton (10AM

WRITING
Dan Brodribb's Geek Love appears every two weeks at suicidegirls.com. Latest article is here

Miss Mercedes, Male Privilege & Today's Question

I'm happy to report that Miss Mercedes, a blogger focusing on relationship advice for women, used my blog post on Fear of Loss to inspire her own post.

Cool stuff. I'm flattered.

In other news, I've really been enjoying reading this article and the ensuing comments. Between the article, some conversations with Bastet and others over the weekend, and a couple incidents at the show last night, feminism and women's rights have been on my mind a lot over the last few days. I went so far as to start writing a blog post on it, but scrapped it when I realized I was two or three hundred words into it and nowhere close to anything resembling a point other than "My feelings on feminism are either way more complicated or way simpler than I would like to publicly admit."

Which brings us to today's question.

Does being ambivalent about something mean you should avoid it? Or does it mean that's the one thing you most need to address?

The answer to that question tells you a lot about a person.


UPCOMING EVENTS

COMEDY
Wednesday, October 21 - Rouge Lounge, Edmonton

WRESTLING
Saturday, October 17 - OSCW Thriller, Hazeldean Community Hall, Edmonton

MEDITATION INSTRUCTION (I'll only be helping)
Saturday, October 17 - Strathcona Public Libary, Edmonton (10AM

WRITING
Dan Brodribb's Geek Love appears every two weeks at suicidegirls.com. Latest article is here

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blogs, Breasts & Bodyslams

OSCW Thriller is this Saturday. 5$ of each ticket sold is going to breast cancer. So come out and show some support. The main event is a triple-threat match between Eclipse, "The Athlete" Alexander Hale, and "Cold as Ice (*)" William Saint.

Shoot me an email for ticket info or else pick them up at the door on the day of the show, which starts at 7pm sharp at Hazeldean Community Hall (9630-66 Ave) in Edmonton

I'll be assisting with meditation instruction this week at the Strathcona Library. I will be talking about Precepts. Which means I have to give some thought as to what I'm talking about it.

So I did what I always do when I need to work out ideas about something--I started a blog.

So now, in addition to my scandalously irregularly updated blogs about relationships, wrestling, comedy, and umm...psychotherapy for 80s toy robots (I'm embarrassed about that one), I now have a blog exploring Buddhism.

It's called the Compassionate Degenerate, and you can find it here.

See you at the show Monday, everybody. Have an awesome Thanksgiving.


UPCOMING EVENTS

COMEDY
Monday, October 12 - The Comic Strip, Edmonton
Wednesday, October 21 - Rouge Lounge, Edmonton

WRESTLING
Saturday, October 17 - OSCW Thriller, Hazeldean Community Hall, Edmonton

MEDITATION INSTRUCTION (I'll only be helping)
Saturday, October 17 - Strathcona Public Libary, Edmonton (10AM)

WRITING
Dan Brodribb's Geek Love appears every two weeks at suicidegirls.com. Latest article is here.


(*) And no, he doesn't use Foreigner as his entrance music. But he should.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Big Issues

Misty Christine is great. She always writes quirky articles.

Also, she quoted me.

Check it out here.

Reasons I Love Comedy (# 13352)

"I kind of like bad shows. Because all of us have done lots of good shows and we never remember them. But when you're part of something truly awful...that's a show people will remember and be talking about for years."

-Andrew Iwanyk

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fear Of Loss - 1 Dan - 0

You wouldn't think an album that came out two years before I was born would light the fuse to a moderate psychological meltdown followed by a reflection on the human condition, but I made it happen.

I've been going through my old music collection over the past few days. A lot of it is on CD and cassette and I'm trying to decide which songs and albums I want to upgrade formats and which ones I'm willing to let go.

I have several stacks of CDs teetering next to my computer. And even though I LIKE most of it, some of it is music I haven't listened to in years.

So now the decision must be made. Which songs do I like enough to rip to my computer? Which albums are worth my precious hard drive space. Yes, Aerosmith's 'Sweet Emotion,' but do I really need the wear and tear on my CD burner when I can turn on any classic rock station and be guaranteed to hear it within a half hour? As much as it meant to my teenager-hood, will my life be any worse if I never again hear Jake E. Lee's awesome guitar riff at the beginning of Ozzy's "Bark At The Moon?"

Besides, it's not like you can't find these things on YouTube.

But what if YouTube crashes? What if rock radio finally dies. What if I need to hear TNT's "10'000 Lovers (In One)" RIGHT NOW?

Love It To Death by Alice Cooper was the final straw. I was agonizing over how much I liked "Black JuJu" when I realized I was doing nothing more than creating misery for myself.

Is the "Hackers" Soundtrack really worth this level of emotional trauma?

That's when it hit me.

The music was not why I was upset. I was upset because I have a hard time letting go of things. I have a fear of loss.

Some people would be content with this insight, but I decided to try a self-experiment.

I challenged myself to throw out one thing in my apartment. I didn't care what it was, but it had to fit two specific criteria.

1 - It had to be something I haven't used in years.
2 - It had to have some emotional connection with me.

Guess what?

I couldn't do it.

Oh, I could throw out the stuff that didn't mean anything to me or that I forgot I owned. There was some stuff, I had fond memories of but wasn't particularly attached to--in those cases I batted about .500 with being able to get rid of it.

But anything of sentimental value--a paperback copy of The Godfather missing the cover, a DVD copy of the first Mortal Kombat movie, an old Vampire: the Masquerade Role Playing Game Supplement--stayed, no matter how useless.

I would reach towards them, and a part of me wouldn't even let me CONSIDER throwing them away.

Emotional attachment is a powerful thing.

It made me think of how we cling to things from objects, to jobs, to relationships,to ideas about the way the world works long after they've served their purpose.

I couldn't throw away a VHS tape containing a Utah Jazz playoff game from 1999 and some dubbed Sailor Moon episodes. So I guess that's a lesson that I can be a lot more empathetic to people who have a hard thing letting other things go.

Especially when one of those people is probably me.

New City Show tonight. Looking forward to it.

COMEDY
Tuesday, October 6 - New City, Edmonton
Monday, October 12 - The Comic Strip, Edmonton

WRITING
Dan Brodribb's Geek Love appears every two weeks at suicidegirls.com. Latest article is here.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

New Suicide Girls Article Up

It's about How to Ask Good Questions. It's one of those skills that seems simple, but with a little refinement, comes in handy when making connections with people.

You'll find the article here.

Tribes

I'm not a joiner. Never have been.

Even with causes I believe in, I'm more attached to the work or the people than the organization. I'm too socially restless to identify with any one group. I get what I need, give what I can, and move on, looking for new experience.

Groups are interesting though.

I've reconnected with a group I've known for years over the last month. I met them long before I started doing comedy (*) or published any of my writing, let alone the Buddhism, wrestling, and salsa dancing. They're gamers (any kind of game--board, video, or live action role playing). They are intelligent, funny, unconventional folks, and anybody who follows my adventures how much I adore unconventional people.

The thing that's really interesting about this group though, is that though it doesn't have a name or is registered with the government or is even acknowledged in any way, in some ways the group is as important as any of the individual people in it. Members come and members go. Relationships change. But the group bond is stronger than anything. It's like a family, though few of them are blood relatives with one another.

One woman who was part of the group called it a Tribe.

I think she's exactly right.

I'm grateful for them. They've been a constant in my life through a lot of changes and I often forget how much I enjoy their company. Where I'm a wanderer and a nomad, they've found their people and they hold together. And while I'm not part of their tribe, they've always made me feel welcome.

So to them I say thank you, for giving me a warm fire to gather around for a little while before moving on alone into the dark.


(*) One of them told me last night at the party: "You even LOOK like a comedian now." I was awake all night trying to figure out what the hell THAT was supposed to mean.

COMEDY
Tuesday, October 6 - New City, Edmonton
Monday, October 12 - The Comic Strip, Edmonton

WRITING
Dan Brodribb's Geek Love appears every two weeks at suicidegirls.com. Latest article is here.