DJing Friday Night Waltz (Mar 24, 2012)

I’ve been to Friday Night Waltz for over two and a half years, and last night I had the pleasure to DJ the evening, which was awesome. I’ve become notorious for hacking so many pieces that everybody cringes at something or other I’ve done, but fortunately the music tonight was well-received – even the dozen or so new pieces. I have a lot to thank Jason Anderson for that, who is very good at constructive crticism for set lists.

[The full set list is at the end of this post. For now, it's also available for streaming here.]

Tonight was the last night of Finals Week at Stanford (and apparently also Vintage Invasion) so some of my friends already had Spring Break plans and turnout was not huge (which means more space for dancing, though!). But it was certainly over 100 people, which was pretty cool.

Some highlights:

  • Jen was nice enough to drive me over to the venue at 18:00 to test the speaker balance. Unfortunately, it was a bit confusing, and even with Nick’s help I didn’t get a reasonable balance until right before I had to cede the speakers to Cristophe, who was teaching his Waltz for the Moon (from Final Fantasy VIII) choreography lesson. But after that the balance was fine. Whew….
  • Caroline suggested Waltz for the Moon to me for a waltz a while ago, and it was interesting to see a relatively faithful choreo.
  • No one remembers Chip’s Challenge. Or Cro-Mag Rally.
  • Despite trying to be careful, I once pressed the wrong button, and iTunes advanced to an unexpected song: Never Gonna Give You Up. That’s the third time my computer’s rickrolled me by now. In the category of planned rickrolls, it turns out the drums at the beginning of Never Gonna Give You Up blend pretty well with the beginning of Kerry Sets; everyone went right on dancing!
  • Scott has a metric called the “11:30 retention rate” for measuring how many people stayed because they liked the song. Apparently I did pretty well on that, and I did get a few compliments. So hopefully I’ll get to be back some times this year. It was certainly a lot of fun.

Some Notes

I certainly didn’t know everything about what I was doing. So:

  • Ask Scott to connect the tinny church speakers, and figure out how to adjust the volume *early on* during setup.
  • DJ from the floor instead of the table (although the table looks more impressive).
  • Leave  12 seconds between songs by default instead of 8. Make sure people are finding partners before you start the song
  • Talk slower and make sure the mic volume / balance reaches the room well.
  • Make it clear to the dancers when a song between sets is an extra song.
  • Aiming for sets of decreasing length is a good idea.
  • Don’t forget to include a line dance that everyone knows, like Tokyo Polka
  • Most important: The music should be a bit more quiet than one might expect. It should be loud enough to give a clear, lively beat, but not so loud that the dancers can’t socialize without raising their voices. (Unfortunately, it’s very hard to judge this from the stage, because the reverb is rather chaotic.)

Friday Night Waltz Set List – March 23, 2012

Note: Many of the songs I played were significantly different versions/edits from the ones linked here.

Set 1

  1. [Cross-Step Waltz] Trine Main Theme (Cross-Step) — Ari Pulkkinen
  2. [Polka] I Will Dance (When I Walk Away) — Katzenjammer
  3. [Rotary Waltz] Love Will Come Through — Travis
  4. [4-Count Swing] You Belong With Me — Taylor Swift
  5. [Cross-Step Waltz] Lighthouse — The Hush Sound
  6. [Cha-Cha] 5 Years Time — Noah and the Whale
  7. [Rotary Waltz] Someone Like You (Instrumental Waltz) — Adele
  8. [Tango] Blue Tango — Leroy Anderson
  9. [Lindy Hop] Holiday — Green Day
  10. [Cross-Step Waltz] Between — Vienna Teng
  11. [Congress of Vienna] Congress of Vienna — Bangers & Mash
Set Break:
  1. [Waltz for the Moon Choreography] Waltz for the Moon (Dance Scene) — Final Fantasy VIII 8 Soundtrack
  2. [Polka] CHIP01 Remix — Lemon Demon

Set 2

  1. [Cross-Step Waltz] The Winner is (Cross-Step) — DeVotchKa
  2. [Schottische] Best Friends — Madagascar Soundtrack
  3. [Lindy Hop] Runaround Sue — Dion
  4. [Redowa / Rotary Waltz] Yun Bap — Dae Jang Geum
  5. [Hustle] Friday Night Waltz (Parody) — Duck Sauce (via gobarbra.com)
  6. [Polka] Save Me, San Francisco — Train
  7. [Rotary Waltz] I’m With You — Avril Lavigne
  8. [Salsa] Arranca — Manzanita
  9. [Bohemian National Polka] Feuerfest Polka — Josef Strauss
  10. [Fast Waltz] Married Life — Michael Giacchino
  11. [Swing] So They Say (Swing) — Dr. Horrible Cast
  12. [Cross-Step Waltz Mixer] The Clock Stopped — KGB
Set Break:
  1. [Peanut Butter Jelly Time] Peanut Butter Jelly Time — The Buckwheat Boys

Set 3

  1. [Rotary Waltz] Trine 2 Main Theme — Ari Pulkkinen
  2. [6-Count Swing] L-O-V-E — Nat King Cole
  3. [Schottische] Stuck Like Glue — Sugarland
  4. [Rotary / Viennese Waltz] Potter Waltz — Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
  5. [Cross-Step Waltz] Sadame — Satou Naoki
  6. [West Coast Swing] Rolling in the Deep — Adele
  7. [Rotary Waltz] Caribbean Blue — Enya
  8. [Sweet Lindy] Beyond the Sea — Bobby Darin
  9. [Congress of Vienna] Congress of Vienna (Accelerating) — Bangers & Mash
  10. [Swing / Cha-Cha] 1234 — Feist
  11. [Fast Polka] He’s a Pirate (Polka) — DJ Scotty
Set Break:
  1. [Birthday Waltz] Piano Man (Classical) — Jeff Ginger

Set 4

  1. [Cross-Step Waltz] La Dispute — Yann Tiersen
  2. ( [Special Kerry Sets] Special Kerry Sets – Rick Astley )
  3. [Kerry Polka Sets] Cry of The Celts (Irish Kerry Set) — Ronan Hardiman
  4. [Club 2-Step] Science Songs — Jonny Berliner
  5. [Rotary Waltz] The Only Exception — Paramore
  6. [Tango] Triangle Tango — Cirque Du Soleil
  7. [Polka] Kung Fu Dancing — DJ Gauffie
  8. [Fast Waltz / Redowa] Odenall Pi — E.S. Posthumus
  9. [One-Step] Cro-Rag Rally China Theme — Cro-Mag Rally
  10. [Lindy Hop] Crazy Little Thing Called Love — Queen
  11. [Redowa] Wavin’ Flag (Instrumental Redowa) — K’naan
  12. [Accelerating Waltz] Accelerating Waltz (Scott and Fran’s Paso Doble) – Strictly Ballroom Soundtrack
  13. [Cross-Step Waltz] Down to Earth — Peter Gabriel
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Switching to Dvorak (Mar 12, 2009)

Dvorak

Dvorak

Why? I might as well learn to touchtype, and Dvorak is a sort of unofficial standard among cubers.

Here’s what got me to switch:

  • A wiki link in an
    arbitrary post
    led me to
    Macky’s familiar site.
  • I decided to peruse his Dvorak page.
  • He linked to the Dvorak Zine. I was still
    unsure, so I decided to read it. If it didn’t convince me, I would just forget about switching.
  • It was enough. :-)
  • March 11, 2009, 20:35:33PM, #rubik on irc.ircstorm.net:

    “lgarron: shellie: This is the first sentence I’ve written in Dvorak. :-)”

    Forgot to ;tell, but who cares? Further lines from my first Dvorak conversation (selected, related lines from others in parentheses):

     20:36:48 <%lgarron> This is going to be messy for a while. :-/
    (20:36:29 <+Ethan_Rosen> lgarron, keep going)
    (20:36:34 <+Ethan_Rosen> never look back)
     20:37:24 <%lgarron> Ethan_Rosen: Tryingv
    (20:37:32 <+Dene> lgarron: YAY!)
    (20:37:38 <+Dene> JOIN US!)
    (20:37:49 <+Dene> Oh man all us dvorakers are such a good influence)
     20:38:55 <%lgarron> Hmm, keyboard shortcuts are going to be annoying.
     20:40:33 <%lgarron> The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
     20:41:04 <%lgarron> "The" is fun. :-)
    (20:41:30 < qq> it's like you make a mistake every time you type a word)
     20:42:26 <%lgarron> qq: I'm doing that right now. :-P

I haven’t looked back. I use “Dvorak – Qwerty ⌘”, which preserves he arrangement of shortcut keys like copy/paste.
I used Keyboard Viewer for a while, but since I’d memoed the Dvorak layout, I eventually dropped it
(I began this page as my first blind touch-typing practice). For encouragement, I also got two friends to switch.

I almost got sick of typing too slow, but to prevent myself from ever reverting (even temporarily), I decided to switch my keys around physically (see picture).
I can now cheat by looking at the keyboard, but at least I can get used to it before I gain actual speed.
I’m also trying Caps Lock for Delete,
especially because of frequent learning errors.

Most credit definitely goes to the Dvorak Zine for simple, entertaining inspiration.

Trivia:

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