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January 19, 2002: Shake that groove thang

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On a recent grocery trip as we wandered down the cereal aisle, I noticed something I'd never noticed before. This particular grocery store has divided the cereal into sections: Adult, Family, and Children.

Does this strike no one else as slightly peculiar? I would really like to know what the criteria are for each of these categories. What defines adult cereal - lack of flavor and high fiber? What about family cereals; how are those distinguished from children's cereals? Is the presence or lack of toys in the box a factor, or perhaps the ratio of sugar to any other useful nutrient? Does a minor need a parent present to buy adult cereals? Is this something the cereal industry came up with or is this just unique to this store?

You see what happens to me when I don't get enough sleep.


Friday night we went to a combined concert of Tempest and Golden Bough. Tempest I'd seen before, but I'd only heard of the other group. And this time it was in a slightly different venue - a larger building with no cat to supervise while they set up the stage, and much more comfortable seats.

There was a clear area in the front for people to dance. In the beginning of the concert, the dancers consisted mainly of a small group of young girls who were spending more time looking to see if anyone was watching them than actually dancing. Soon, however, some adults who migrated there, a few at a time, joined them. This is where the fun began.

Most adults do not really know how to dance. But most adults have figured out that dancing to rock music really only requires the ability to bounce in time to the music, occasionally swinging the arms slightly at the side, snapping the fingers, and nodding the head. In this way, they blend into the crowd with the rest of us who are similarly unskilled in any of the more complicated moves. However, there are some adults who never even managed to figure out what the beat of the music is, let alone how to move to it. Seinfeld had a classic episode revolving around one particular character - Elaine - whose dancing was almost painful to watch in its lack of coordination and style. One would think that this particular episode might be an exaggeration. One would be wrong.

We learned this Friday night because the floor seemed to be peculiarly covered with people who subscribe to the Elaine style of dancing. One woman executed a chicken sort of maneuver which involved jerking her elbows back repeatedly. Another couple seemed to have no sense of balance and ended up leaning on a wall to recover from the dizziness. But one man stood out from the rest. He seemed to be going through what Richard described as the Full Body Heave. He alternated between grabbing at invisible objects located around his ankles, above his head, or hovering near his knees, and doing some sort of odd jerking motion that made it seem as if he was a marionette left to dangle in a strong breeze.

The concert was extremely enjoyable, even despite my usual minor complaint that they played far too loud, to the point that the music began to blend together until it was difficult to tell one song from the next. The dancing spectacle on the floor in front of the stage only made it better.

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