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Archive for August, 2009

President Obama’s job approval rating is now at 52%, according to the latest polls at RealClearPolitics.  This is due to two things, I think:

  1. The war in Afghanistan is not going so well
  2. But the bigger issue is that the health care debate is taking its toll on Obama’s popularity

14 years ago, Bill Clinton tried to reform health care and he paid the price; in 1994 the Democrats lost control of Congress for the first time in many years.  It looks like Obama’s presidency may be headed for the same thing, but it’s still quite early.

There are various theories as to why his numbers are slipping.  From the Democrats side, they claim it is all a big conspiracy.  Republicans are spreading lies about health care reform and that the proposed bill is a really, really good thing.  Furthermore, the people in their own party (so called Blue Dogs) that are not on board should fall into line.  The public, unfortunately, is falling for these lies and therefore they are obstructing what is best for the country.  Here is my perspective:

  1. The claims that health care reform will lower costs is incorrect.

    The Democrats claim that by reducing or removing inefficiencies in the current system, they will be able to lower the total costs of health care.  Furthermore, they can use their negotiating position as leverage against health care companies (ie, force them to lower their costs).  If gov’t has all the cards, they can get companies to lower their bills in a market economy (ie, by withholding payment, health companies will be forced to lower their fees).

    Yet I think this ignores basic economics, the law of supply and demand.  If the total number of health care recipients increases by 45 million people, but the total supply of health care facilities stays the same (doctors, nurses, medicine, etc), then the cost has to go up.  It’s a basic law of economics.

    There is the claim that with preventative care, people will catch diseases earlier and therefore will not be prone to less expensive treatment later on.  That will save costs.  This, too, is wrong.  Preventative treatment, according to a report released by the CBO, actually increases the total health care costs. The reason is that a person lives longer and therefore over the length of their lifetime uses the services more.  Costs go up.

  2. The ‘death panel’ claim is false, but people are buying into it – sort of.

    When the story broke that there would be death panels to decide whether or not people lived or died, it caught on.  People were afraid that the gov’t would decide who would live and who would die.  Of course, the gov’t bill contains no such provision for death panels, it only states that end-of-life counseling is a reimbursable cost.  This makes sense.

    But the problem is that if supply remains the same while demand goes up, somebody has to make choices to limit care in order to keep the costs the same, as the gov’t claims it will do.  Reality dictates that health care is cut off at some point in order to prevent escalating costs.  And in this case, a death panel seems eerily possible.  That would never happen, but either somebody chooses to limit the care of someone who is taking a lot of health care or the costs go up indefinitely.

  3. Health care reform is not actually a bad idea.

    Health care is paid for by the gov’t in Canada.  However, the US proposal is not the Canadian system.  In Canada, there are no private health insurance companies and there are no private hospitals.  If the gov’t pays for a service, then a private company cannot, by law, offer it.  It’s illegal to have private health insurance in Canada for a service covered by the gov’t (you can go to a clinic to get services not covered by the gov’t).  The public is dead-set against two-tier health care, that is, one health care system for the rich and one for the poor.  They are actually trying to pass two-tier health care in the United States, that’s what a public/private option will end up doing.  And eventually, someone will complain about that.

    Having said that, I don’t think public coverage of health care is a bad idea.  There are far, far worse things for the gov’t to waste money on than health care.  I think that it is humane to cover the cost of health, but let’s call it what it is – a privilege that we as a society wish to provide for others.  Having a society where the sick are taken care of, even if on the backs of others, isn’t the worst thing in the world.

That’s my limited view.  I don’t think gov’t provided health care coverage will make the system better.  I think it will be better for the proportion of the population that doesn’t have it, but it will make it worse for everyone else who currently does.

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A few weeks ago, I posted some thoughts on my current position at work (in a two part series).  I was saying that I wasn’t as satisfied in my role and that my influence was waning.

Well, today I had my annual review.  I don’t think it went well.

My manager acknowledged that I had a year where I delivered but things did not go smoothly.  I agreed with this, the glide path of everything was bumpy.  Everything got delivered on time I definitely dropped the ball a few times.  My ability to schedule and follow up on resourcing is not the greatest; I feel this is a menial task and I do not excel at it.  I try very hard at it, I want to do well, but as much as I try I don’t feel like I have gotten any better at it.  This showed in my review.

But more than that, in annual reviews there is feedback from your peers.  I requested feedback from people and some of them I thought might give me some harsh feedback.  However, I took a chance anyhow and decided to request it from them.  And they did not disappoint.

The good side was that I have a tremendous depth of antispam knowledge that I bring to the team and that I like to share it.  I am good at representing the team at outside conferences, and that I have a quirky sense of humour.  That was all pretty consistent feedback.  But the negative feedback was blunt, to say the least (I’m doing this from memory, I only heard it once):

  • It was said over and over again that I don’t do all the program management stuff very well.  That was a consistent theme and I could accept that if it was as far as it went. 
  • It was said that I need to familiarize myself with the processes of outside teams.  But then more attacks came and I felt that they were personal and crossed the line.  Continue reading.
  • Someone said that I had a huge ego and was unwilling to listen to other points of view.
  • Someone said that I had never driven a project end to end and had no interest in doing so.
  • Someone said that I didn’t care about being a good Program Manager.
  • Someone said that I had absolutely no skills as a Program Manager and that the only reason I was there was because of the title and it would help my career.
  • Someone said that I only cared about working on my own pet projects and not about other ones that mattered.

Ouch.

I don’t mind if people criticize me for my failings like not being good at some program management tasks.  But I feel that attributing motivations to me (like not caring, having a huge ego, having no interest in being a good PM) is stepping over the line.  It isn’t true; doing all the busywork doesn’t come naturally to me.  I like data and statistics, I always have and so when I get a chance to do that, I gravitate towards it and get lost in it sometimes.  But I have to work extra hard to do the PM tasks.  I write notes to myself reminding me to do stuff.  I go through my email all the time and make sure that I have followed up with everything.  I try to make sure that I don’t park myself into a position to the exclusion of all others.  It is true that I defend my positions sometimes, but that is because I feel strongly about the right way to do things.  The other person’s point of view is not beyond me… but accuracy counts.  Some things are right, and other things are wrong.  I have changed my position many times if I believe that the other point of view is better.  But when I have seen something before and know how things work in real life, then I will take a stand.

Anyhow, as I reflect on the feedback, I think that it is only partially true.  Some of the other specific stories were partially inaccurate (such as collaborating with another team) or completely inaccurate (such as the time I supposedly advocated a position and refused to listen to others, which is totally incorrect because I was out of the office for three weeks when they changed it… and applauded the change upon my return).  All I ever wanted was to fight spam, and have fun doing it.  That’s it.  Being in the position I am now allows me to do that, and I thought that being in Program Management would allow me to have more influence to step outside the boundaries of doing normal spam fighting; doing that, I could more effectively leverage my knowledge to improve the customer experience.  That’s always been my goal – ensuring that the user of our technology has a seamless experience, they should never even know that we were there. 

I do get frustrated with myself when I see that I not performing to the best of my ability.  I am not angry at others, I am angry at myself for not knowing better or doing it better to begin with.  After being in this business for several years, I should know better.  And sometimes I don’t.  And that bothers me.

I don’t believe that I can be the Program Manager that they want me to be.  I now doubt that I can even be the Program Manager that they need me to be.  This year did not go smoothly and I now think it is because I am doing things that do not flow towards my natural talents.  It’s looking like it is time for a change.

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Well, that settles that

As I was saying in my previous post, the other day at a different dance studio, there was a girl there whom I could have sworn I had seen before.  Yet no matter how I racked my brain, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Tonight, I had a lesson at my regular studio, taking Salsa lessons.  Afterwards, there is a Salsa open dance which I only stay a few dances for and then leave.  Tonight was no different, but as I was about to leave, one of my friends walked up to me and begged me to stay.  So, I did as a favor to her.

I did another dance or two, and guess what happened?  This same girl from earlier in the week showed up!  She was at the same dance studio that I normally go to.  Of course, she didn’t recognize me as she walked right by me.  But I managed to grab her later on for a salsa dance and I asked her if she came there often.  She said yes, but later elaborated that it was once in a while.  So that settles that, I must have seen her there at the studio before and that is what triggered my memory.

Or was it?

I can’t recall seeing her there on Wednesdays, but then again, I rarely go on Wednesdays.  I would have left before she turned up (I did the math in my head).  So maybe she was there on Fridays.  But if she was there on Fridays, then I am pretty sure I would have recognized her from before.  I would have gotten her name or something (because I’m great at remembering names… and apparently good with faces).  At that point I had to conclude that seeing her there tonight was the first time I had seen her at the studio that I normally go to.

The puzzle has not been solved.  I had pretty much stopped thinking about it until the plot thickened.  This is going to bug me.

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Some stories

This past Sunday I checked out a dance studio that I have been to three times now and I have a couple of short, but entertaining stories.

  1. My first Viennese Waltz

    The Viennese Waltz is like a regular waltz, but on steroids. The music is fast, and you and your partner whirl around each other again and again and again… ad nauseum.  To combat dizziness, you do what I call a “stutter step” which is really a transition step and then you rotate around each other the opposite direction. 

    I have always shied away from Viennese Waltz.  It’s too fast for me; I tried once and it was a disaster, I couldn’t move quick enough.  But yesterday, I managed to do one.  I asked this one girl to dance (possibly a Rumba, I don’t recall) and she said she was sitting the dance out.  However, she said that she would catch me for the next one.  I don’t normally believe follows when they say this because it’s usually me hunting them down.  But, sure enough, after the dance was over she came over to me in preparation for the next dance.  I obliged.

    The music then started to play.  I listened for about five seconds.  It was a Viennese Waltz!  Sh*t!  How am I supposed to appear all suave and sophisticated when I am doing a dance sequence at which I am incompetent?

    I decided to give it a shot.  We were together earlier in the night and I managed to fake my way through a Fox Trot.  Could I do a Viennese?  Luckily for me, the first part of the Viennese Waltz is a rotation to the left.  I am quite capable of this with a normal waltz, so I pulled that off.  It’s done very fast, the same as Samba and I pulled that off as well.  At this point I was feeling good but I realized that I had to change directions because I was getting dizzy.  I did the stutter step (somehow) and started to rotate to the right.

    That didn’t go so well.

    I was doing the move, certainly, but I wasn’t doing it well.  The move was not smooth.  Yes, we were not bumping into each other but it wasn’t quite so good as the turn to the left.  She offered me some advice; “you should put your feet between mine as that will make it easier.”

    I replied “What do you think I’ve been trying to do?”  Sheesh, it was difficult.  You see, in a dance like that, the lead has to step “through” the follow.  That means that your feet/legs kind of intertwine with each other if you want to get around each other quickly.  It also means that you have to kind of hold onto each other tighter (ie, closer) than in a normal dance position (at least that makes it easier for me; not sure if that is proper technique or not).

    In the end, the dance ended and I think that for my first Viennese Waltz, I did not too bad a job.  I never do the right-turn in any other dance so this was a moderate success.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I give myself a 6.5.

  2. Names and faces

    Speaking of this particular follow, I have mentioned in the past that I am excellent with remembering people’s names.  It’s one of my skills that comes from being awesome.  I had only been to this studio three times (last night was the third, so maybe it’s only twice) and I managed to remember plenty of names of people.  My facial recall is excellent.

    At least I thought it was.  It turns out that is not completely accurate.  I’m only superb at remembering the names of the young, attractive women. Hmm, who would have thought?

    But that’s not the point of this story.  Continuing on from the story of the follow from the story above (the one from the Viennese Waltz), I couldn’t quite place my finger on it but I am absolutely certain that I have seen her before.  I know that she wasn’t there the first time I went to that studio, and I don’t believe I saw her the second time (which was last week).  If she were there last week I would have gotten her name – so I could remember it for next time.  That only leaves this week.

    But the first time we danced together, I looked at her and she seemed so very familiar… but it was only the first time we interacted.  Where have we met before?  I scanned my memory banks, thinking of when I may have seen this cute, little redhead in the past but I have come up empty.  I asked her if we’d seen each other before and she responded in the negative.  I got her name but I still couldn’t place it.

    I still can’t.  The only possibility is that I may have seen her at the Seattle Easter Swing convention this past April.  I’ll ask next time but it doesn’t ring a bell.  Man, this is really bugging me.

Those are my stories.

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This past week, I started to experience pain in my other hip when doing a rotation to the right (not inwards though, like my left hip).  I’m hoping that this is just a temporary thing due to exercise and does not represent another labral tear.

That would really suck.

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Taking a risk

This upcoming weekend, I am going to a campout.  At this camp, they have a talent show and I have been asked to perform.

Last year when I did an effect, I did the one where I reveal the serial number from a borrowed dollar bill despite never having seen it.  It’s a mentalism effect.  The interesting thing is that I picked this effect before I decided to go heavy into mentalism.  Perhaps it was a case of foreshadowing.

This year, I had been wondering for a few months what trick I could do this year, and several weeks ago I settled on it.  I have performed it a few times for others but this particular variation of the effect contains a huge personal risk for me – I am going to reveal how it is done.  Never in any of my effects or performances do I actually reveal how something is done, but that is what risks are for.  You see, I think that the reveal is just as entertaining as the effect.  I was inspired to do it by a Derren Brown trick and I think I can recapture the fun feeling that he created.  I only have six minutes to do my act, and the shortest I can get it down to is 10 minutes.  But hopefully, it will all be worth it when I test drive this guy.

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Yesterday, I got a letter in the mail from my leasing agency where I rent my apartment.  I opened it up and it read something like this:

Dear Sucker,

Well, that’s rather rude, I thought.  Continuing on:

Your lease expires in about two months.  As part of a special offer to you, we would like you to renew at the same price you paid last year for renting, and your monthly parking spot that is reserved for you will go up by $10 per month.

As part of a special offer to you, we’ll give you a special VISA gift card valued at $250!  Hurry now and sign your lease!

I’ve been wondering about whether or not it is worthwhile to move to a new place to save on rent.  After all, I’m cheap and my condo is getting any less expensive.  The only problem is that I like living where I am because it is so convenient in the town where I live, there’s some traffic problems but I avoid most of them due to how close I am to the freeway. 

So, I searched Craigslist for some places.  Guess what I found?  I found an apartment in my own complex for $150 per month cheaper than what I am paying now… for the exact same size.  Oh, it’s true, it’s true.  That represents a yearly savings of $1800 compared to the $250 they offered me.  I went down to the leasing office to ask how I could get the Craigslist deal, and they’re going to call me back Monday.

But seriously, what kind of clown do they think I am?

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I’m taking another dance class (finally).  I haven’t taken a group class since August 2008 when I was learning East Coast Swing.  Since that time I have either been injured, traveling, or simply taking time off.  This month is my glorious return.

At my latest class, something pretty cool happened.  I’m learning Salsa, which is not one of my better dances.  In fact, out of all the ones that I do, it is one of my weakest.  I made a resolution to finally start learning it.  Anyhow, we were learning a move that has a lot of rotations and is quite lead-oriented.  We were learning the move, practicing it with a follow, rotating partners, practicing with a follow, rotating, and so forth.  Then the instructor put music on and we continued doing the same.  At the end of the song I was randomly mixed up with another follow; we did the move over and over and over again.

After the song ended, the instructor asked the two of us to come up into the middle.  I kind of had an idea of what was going to occur.  He then asked us to demonstrate for the rest of the class!  For you see, I was doing the move so well that I got to serve as a model for everyone else.  The instructor commented on my fine form and timing and afterwards, everyone applauded. 

I was feeling pretty good after that, I tell you what.

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I have a huge complaint with Bing Travel.  I went to Bing’s travel page in order to search for a hotel in Milan, Italy, where I plan to go before my stay over in Switzerland.  I wanted to stay near the center of the city.  I found a reasonably priced hotel that looked near the city center.  Here’s a screenshot on Bing maps from Bing Travel’s listing information:

image

That looks close to the city center, near some big park which would probably be interesting to go to.  So, I decided to book it based upon the good price and geographical proximity to stuff that would be interesting.  But after I got the reservation, I checked the location again on Orbitz and the location was way out of the city center by six miles!  I double-checked on Bing maps and it, too, confirmed that it was on the outskirts of the city, the exact opposite of where I wanted to be.  I purchased a hotel because this stupid website told me false information.

Remind me never to use Bing travel ever again to book a hotel.  It just cost me $227.

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Frustration with myself

I’m currently reading Enhancing Trader Performance and I’m enjoying it quite a bit.  Today I got to the piece about why some performers who have been performing at elite levels suddenly start to turn in poor results.  Consider the athlete who is batting .325 all year in the regular season and down the stretch starts going .100 when he is close to attaining a record.  Or why do soccer players suddenly flub penalty kicks?

The answer, at least in part, seems to be in self-awareness.  When an athlete is in the zone, they are stars.  But when they begin to think about themselves and how they are performing, they start turning in poor results.  To a large degree, our moods are moderated by our perceptions — and especially perceptions about our own competence. 

Tonight, I was invited back to poker.  I was looking forward to going.  Armed with my knowledge of knowing how to read tells, I was quite excited in my new-found confidence.  I knew it wouldn’t be a cake walk because people would be trying to conceal their emotions but I knew that most people would slip up somewhere.  I knew that most people don’t bluff, it occurs maybe 5% of the time (or so I’ve heard).  Thus, I would have to look for clues of confidence.

An hour and a half into the game, I was up $120 on a buy-in of $20.  I was feeling pretty good.  With a little bit of luck, playing some good hands (my tight/aggressive strategy), and reading people I was playing a very good game.  And that’s when it happened.

I became self-aware.

I started worrying that others would be able to figure out what I was doing.  I started thinking that I wouldn’t be able to read others.  I started worrying that I would lose my money after playing some poor hands.  And worse still, I relaxed my tight/aggressive strategy and started taking more chances rather than playing the cards on the table and trying to read people.  It was a huge mistake.

I lost one hand.  Then another.  And then another.  I took a chance and lost again.  And eventually, I lost it all.  I simply couldn’t get back on my game because I was aware that I was losing.  My emotions were coming into play — I was losing despite the fact that earlier I was winning.  And I knew that I was winning but was worried about my own performance.  I tried to force myself to read people and get back to my earlier strategy but it was too late.  I couldn’t control it.  The emotions took over and I was done; there was no going back.

That was very frustrating to me.  In stock trading, I try to keep my emotions under control because when I don’t, I get sloppy.  In card playing, I try to do the same thing and I run scared.  I make money by playing the hands I think I can win, and I should have been able to read others and minimize my losses.  I didn’t do that and I knew I wasn’t doing that.

That was what frustrated me, the fact that I losing control and allowing myself to lose it.

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Today, over lunch, my friend remarked to a couple of others "So, did you hear that they are going to extend the cash-for-clunkers program?  They want to pass a bill by the end of the week."  In case you haven’t heard, cash-for-clunkers allows you to trade in your old car to get a new one if it meets certain criteria for crapiness, like having a mileage-per-gallon of 18 mpg average (when it was new), and being not older than 25 years.  The cash part comes in that the government will give you back up to $4500 for your old car.

"It’s a win/win situation for everyone," my friend said.

"Except the taxpayers," I replied.  He looked at me a little weird.  "The free market won’t make a crazy deal like this, giving $4500 for a lousy vehicle so why should the gov’t kick in the money to something that isn’t worth it?"

"Yeah, well," he answered, "the government exists to step in and take control of the economy when the free market makes mistakes."  He was already wrong but continued to dig deeper.  "A lot of people made these mistakes and the government has to step in and fix the economy."

I sighed.  "Try reading the Constitution," I said.  "The 10th amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

That means the federal government cannot expand its power whenever it wants, its powers are limited to those specified by the Constitution.  If it’s not in there, it falls back to the states.  Stepping in to fix the economy, give money for cars, and so forth, are hardly defined within its powers."

He replied "Well, the individual states aren’t doing it so the federal government has to step in."

"No," I corrected, "the federal government shouldn’t step in where it sees fit because its powers are limited to those outlined in the Constitution.  That’s why we have the 10th amendment!"

This went on a little bit, and then he said the following: "The government is allowed to do whatever it wants except where prohibited by the Constitution."  Yes, that’s right, he actually said that.  In other words, he completely contradicted what the 10th amendment said.  It was completely bass-ackwards.

"What?" I exclaimed incredulously.  "If the government can do whatever it feels like, then it can do almost anything!  That’s how we ended up with the Patriot Act!"

Then the conversation wandered into the realm of political opinion.  "Yeah, well, for the last 8 years we had a government that trampled the Constitution and did whatever it wanted… blah, blah, blah…"

At this point I stopped listening.  Like most lefties, he was clearly in favor of ignoring the Constitution when it came programs he agreed with, and against ignoring when it came to programs he was against.  Everyone on the left (and many on the right) are part of the mentality.  I am, too, but at least I admit it and at least I don’t give a bass-ackwards interpretation of the 10th amendment.

Incidentally, there are different interpretations of the 10th amendment.  The first is that the 10th amendment only limits the federal government to the powers expressly stated in the Constitution.  This is the doctrine of positive assent — that the government can only do what Constitution says and no more.  The second interpretation is that the Constitution grants Congress the authority to do anything that is not explicitly prohibited by the first eight amendments.  My crazy friend obviously agrees with the second opinion.

There is some basis for the second opinion.  Article One of the United States Constitution, section 8, clause 18 says:

The Congress shall have Power – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

This is known as the Necessary and Proper Clause, that the government can pass laws that enable it to carry out the functions of Article 1, Section 8.  You can read the full article here.  Now, my crazy friend didn’t know what he was talking about, he just thinks that government should be fulfilling the role of overseer.  But one of the enumerated powers of the United States in Article 1, section 8 is the following:

To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States

What does "general welfare" mean?  Alexander Hamilton’s view was that general welfare was just how it sounded, the federal government could take care of anything that would benefit the public like assisting in agriculture or education — provided that spending was general in nature and does favor any specific section of the country over the other.  James Madison’s narrower view is that the general welfare is tied to providing for the military or regulating interstate commerce.  It is not a grant of power but a statement of purpose qualifying the power to tax.  Hamilton’s hippie view prevailed during Washington’s and Adam’s presidencies but the interpretation was repudiated in the election of 1800.  However, associate Justice Joseph Story eventually sided with the hippie view of Hamilton. 

Even with Hamilton’s hippie interpretation, you still can’t say that the government has the power to bail out the auto industries.  Hamilton’s view was the spending was to be general not specific to any part of the country.  The auto industry is specific!  How can it not be?  My crazy friend’s claim that the government’s role is to step in and fix certain sectors is not supported by the way I read the United States Constitution.

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I had a post on here that I forgot to publish and then I started a new one.  It was on reading body language… and now it’s gone forever.  Sigh…

Anyhow, I thought I’d tell a story on reading body language and deciphering attraction tells.  Many guys would dearly love to be able to tell when a woman was receptive to their advances.  It certainly helps to cut down on the anxiety when putting your ego on the line and hoping to avoid rejection.  The way I do it now that I know how to read body language is to look for subtle cues of openness that are beyond normal behavior.  If I don’t see the signs, then I don’t make a move.  There’s basically three scenarios:

  1. Woman is showing signs of interest — openness in body language
  2. Woman is showing signs of defensiveness – closed body position (bad — definitely don’t make a move)
  3. Woman is not showing signs either way – no defensive position, but no signs of interest.  In this case, I test it a couple of times and if nothing shows up, I move on.

Let me tell you a story and how I would interpret it.  Tonight I went to a different dance studio other than the one I normally go to.  This one was in Seattle and I had never been there before.  I was uneasy about going there all by my lonesome not knowing anyone, but I did think there might be a chance I would recognize someone there I had seen elsewhere (I was right, but that doesn’t factor into this story).

One thing that throws me off my game, when it comes to reading body language, is being in a new place.  I’m kind of uncomfortable so I’m concentrating more on fitting in.  Ergo, I had to work a little hard to looks for signs of attraction and do body language tells.  This club had a bit of a slightly older crowd than what I am personally used to.  However, eventually, some younger follows/ladies started showing up, and I asked various ones among them to dance.  One of them was a thin brunette, very attractive who was a few inches taller than I am.  I think the first dance we did was a West Coast Swing, one of my stronger dances.  I got her name and planned to ask her again later for another one.

It was getting later in the evening and I hadn’t asked her to dance again.  Sometimes opportunities don’t arise and I also try to dance with a wide variety of people.  She and her friend (mother?) were sitting near a corner table about 30 feet down from me.  I looked in her direction and I noticed that she was taking off her shoes.  That’s when I sprung into action.  I ran down towards her and then slid about five feet, stopping in front of her.  Dance shoes are great for sliding, btw.  I said "Wait!  You can’t go yet!  One more dance!"  I made hand motions signaling openness (palms up) and she readily agreed.  She re-strapped her shoes and we did one more before she left.

Afterwards, I was chatting with her ever so briefly when I decided I would invite her to come down to the studio where I normally go.  During the conversation, which was short, she threw out two signals:

  1. As I was talking to her, she put her hand up to her neck (palm to back of her neck).  That’s a sign of openness.  Well, technically, it’s a sign of mental duress but in this context it’s a sign of welcome to my advances; an attraction tell, if you will.  What makes it an attraction tell was the exposure of the underside of the arm.  Her arm was angled in such a way that her arm was bared out towards me.
  2. When I stopped her to tell her about the studio, she did something very interesting.  She turned to face me nearly completely square on.  I barely had to do anything… but I did adjust my body position slightly to make sure that the two of us were standing face to face and not angled at all.

    This is very important when you are trying to isolate someone.  If you stand square to them, shoulders facing each other, it prevents others from barging in (and it also creates a subconscious level of rapport).  What makes this such a big deal is that she didn’t stand facing me at an angle, she turned to face me nearly head on.

From these two signs, it signaled openness to me.  I may have been off my game tonight but I certainly was quick enough to recognize that.  This story should not be interpreted to mean that had I made another move, I would have succeeded.  That’s not necessarily true.  But it does mean that if I were going to make a move, I need to know where to concentrate my effort and this would be tipping the odds more greatly in my favor.

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