If It Kills Me (Jason Mraz)

These days, I seem to get all my new music from So You Think You Can Dance. It’s a step up from liking a song because it was attached to a cool music video – if the choreography was killer and the dancers nailed it, chances are that I’m also running to iTunes to snap up a copy of the piece they danced it to.

This song caught my attention through this exact process. The funny thing is that as a fan of Jason Mraz, I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times on my iPod without paying it any real attention before. Guess it took the interpretation of Travis Wall and tonight’s amazing performance by Jason and Jeanine for this piece to finally sink in.

And as to be expected of Mraz’ music, getting familiar with the lyrics only makes it better.

If It Kills Me

Hello, tell me you know
Yeah, you figured me out
Something gave it away
It would be such a beautiful moment
To see the look on your face
To know that I know that you know now

And baby that’s a case of my wishful thinking
You know nothing

Well you and I
Why, we go carrying on for hours on end
We get along much better
Than you and your boyfriend

Well all I really wanna do is to love you
A kind much closer than friends use
But I still can’t say it after all we’ve been through
And all I really want from you is to feel me
As the feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me
If it kills me

How long, can I go on like this
Wishing to kiss you
Before I rightly explode?
Well this double life I lead isn’t healthy for me
In fact it makes me nervous
If I get caught I could be risking it all

Cause maybe there’s a lot that I’ll miss
In case I’m wrong

All I really wanna do is to love you
A kind much closer than friends use
But I still can’t say it after all we’ve been through
And all I really want from you is to feel me
As the feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me
If it kills me
If it kills me

If I should be so bold
I’d ask you to hold my heart in your hand
I’d tell you from the start how I’ve longed to be your man
But I never said I would
I guess I’m gonna miss my chance again

Well all I really wanna do is to love you
A kind much closer than friends use
I still can’t say it after all we’ve been through
And all I really want from you is to feel me
As the feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me
If it kills me 
If it kills me

Oh, I think it might kill me

And all I really wanna do is to feel you
Yeah the feeling inside keeps building
I’ll find a way to you if it kills me
If it kills me
It might kill me

memorable moments at the george michael concert.

Flawless

Quotables

S pondering George Michael’s entrance options: “Will he fly down from the ceiling, rise up from the floor, or condense from a mist?”

S on George Michael live and up close: “It’s like seeing a unicorn for the first time!”

L and K on the vibe inside the stadium:
L—”It feels like one giant gay dance club.”
K—”Haha…[looks around]…well, that’s actually pretty accurate.”

Catcalls to George Michael:
L—”I want to have your baby!!”
TC—”I want to you marry my daughter!!”

S during the intermission: “By the end of the night, I think he will have impregnated every woman in the room.”

N during the intermission: “He looks like he just had a fake-and-bake this morning, and it doesn’t look good.”

TC and K after the concert, to L:
TC—”How are you gonna tell T that you’re pregnant with George Michael’s baby?”
K—”You could pass it off as his…until it comes out and starts talking in a British accent.”

Quicklinks

hong kong travel diary: day 5.

Back in Hong Kong and ready for breakfast! Finally got up the nerve to try the little congee house across the street from my hotel. I was worried about the language barrier but something about me must have screamed tourist (the giant camera in hand, perhaps?). An English menu was plopped promptly down on my table.

my congee house find

My usual congee of choice includes duck or chicken. This time, I risked trying a bowl of “salty meat” (they insist it is just pork) and century egg, which is typically duck egg preserved in soot for 100 days. If you’ve never tried century egg before, the visual is a little off-putting. It looks like a slice of egg that has been gelatinously petrified and stained with black shoe polish. Tasted great: salty egg with a slight Jell-o mouthfeel. Downed the congee with relish as well as the shrimp rice roll that the combo came with. All for only $27 HKD–that hotel buffet was a total rip-off at $75 HKD!

preserved egg and salty meat (pork) congee

As with the Shanghainese cafe from Tuesday, I shared the tiny booth with total strangers. It was a little boy and his mother today, who ordered what practically everyone else at the restaurant ordered for breakfast: macaroni soup with bits of ham plus a butter and egg sandwich on white bread, crusts removed. Would have taken a photo but I don’t think they would have appreciated such an invasion of privacy…

I saw this same meal being enjoyed by other cafe dwellers on the way to work. Even arrived at the desk to find Alan eating it one morning. Was somewhat curious about the ubiquitousness of the meal but was not curious enough to ingest Wonderbread while abroad.


Lunch was at a nearby lahksa house with Johnny and Winnie. Had the roasted duck lahksa, spice level #1 of 4, as Winnie warned us of the exponential increase in heat. Neither of my lunch companions were as into spicy food as I was so I took her warning with a grain of salt. Sure enough, my broth was super mild. Winnie called the server back to give me a side of level 2 broth after boasting that I should have gotten a level 3 soup. When the broth arrived, I took one tiny sip and went beet red from the heat. Johnny was thoroughly entertained. I added a couple of spoonfuls of the new broth into my soup bowl, hid my tail between my legs, and enjoyed the best of both worlds.

duck laksa


Alan played chauffeur the rest of the evening to Lisa, Winnie, Johnny, and I. First stop was to Shatin in the New Territories. It is a 20-minute drive across the harbour and north of Kowloon. Winnie kept a running commentary on the points of interest that we passed (coincidentally, most had shopping centres attached to them!).

inside jun jun

Dinner in Shatin was at Jun Jun, a local favourite that I was privileged enough to be taken to. I am not even sure if Jun Jun has a proper interior: we sat at the end of a long curvy patio with a low tarped ceiling. The place is famous for its Shatin chicken congee and its many incarnations of pigeon. While Winnie decided what to order for the table, I taped Johnny sterilizing our dishes and chopsticks with hot tea (a common ritual at dodgier restaurants, he says).

Tonight’s menu: crispy pigeon with shrimp crackers; oyster pancake; Shatin chicken congee; vegetable and scallop stir-fry; chicken “soft bones” with deep-fried tofu. Downed with copious amounts of tea and a bottle of Hong Kong beer called Blue Girl. The pigeon looked and tasted like a leaner version of peking duck, so I quite enjoyed it (unlike the duck in the lahksa, which looked and tasted like Oscar Meyer weiner. Cringe.). Johnny plopped the pigeon’s head into my bowl at the end of the meal. Er, yum? Unfortunately, I was much too full by then to try eating it (darn).

famous shatin chicken congee

oyster pancake

vegetable and scallop stir-fry

deep-fried pigeon with shrimp crackers

pigeon head

My favourite dish was the chicken soft bones. Alan explained that it was, in fact, the cartilage from chicken feet that has been softened, battered, and deep-fried with a variety of spices. I am a huge fan of tendon as evidenced by our regular pho outings, so I suppose chicken knuckles are not a very far cry from that.

deep-fried chicken knuckles with tofu

Dinner was accompanied by a sudden and vicious summer thunderstorm. We were well protected by the tarp above our heads–no worries there. But it was a real delight for me to sit there, outdoors in the pouring rain as the thunder and lightning played, experiencing exotic food, taking in the colourful restaurant scenery, and enjoying the company of a terrific group of people.

winnie

lisa and alan


On the way back to the parking lot, Winnie and I took a quick pit stop into the KFC and McDonald’s inside the Shatin Galleria. She pointed out the differences between the North American and Asian menu offerings. You can order a side of corn with your McDonald’s combo or eat chicken curry at KFC. The Happy Meal toy selection advertised a Hello Kitty plushy, which I attempted to get for Kookie: unfortunately, Hello Kitty wasn’t available for another week yet. Another souvenir procurement foiled. Curses!

the menu at the shatin KFC


We took a different scenic route back to Kowloon and up the winding path to Victoria Peak. Conversation up the mountain included a small lesson on how to say bubble gum in Cantonese–nothing else was taught, I swear 😉

The best views from the Peak are to be had on the massive two-tiered roof of the newly constructed observation building. One has to scale several sets of floating glass elevators to reach the top. Had to fight the onset of vertigo and my fear of heights throughout the ascent and descent, but it was well worth the panic attack and the jests of my colleagues. Winnie was even nice enough to anchor me on her arm during the worst parts. Such great hosts =)

pretty glass escalators

Hong Kong at night is dazzling. My non-DSLR camera and lack of travel tripod cannot adequately convey the blaze of lights that we observed up there on that windy deck. Victoria Peak is a must-see at night, despite the crowds of tourists and the off-chance of fog / smog. The folks let me wander around to take photo and video until my battery warning started to blink. Below are the highlights of this outing:

hong kong island at night

tst and the avenue of stars

winnie, lisa, karen, johnny, alan


Got back to the hotel with just enough time for a quick change into salsa dancing apparel and a hail to a cab for my one night of dancing in Hong Kong. Tonight’s venue was a bar called Swindlers in the Wan Chai district. It’s one of the seedier neighbourhoods this side of Hong Kong Island but that night, I didn’t notice it. Swindlers itself is a narrow and intimate bar with a 15×15′ dance floor, a hallway of hardwood flooring cleared of its usual tables, and an open entranceway to the street. You could hear the enticing percussions emanating from the place from almost a block away. Getting excited!

The crowd was a mix of locals, ex-pats from Europe and Asia, and a good smattering of visiting dancers from abroad. I was warned that the scene in Hong Kong was rather small, so I didn’t expect a lot of quality dancing, but was I ever mistaken! Even the worst dancer at Swindlers was better than the average dancer you come across in Vancouver. Danced LA- and casino-style salsa with people from Hong Kong, Israel, Italy and even another Vancouverite (what a small world). Had the best salsa dance of my life with a Peruvian instructor by the name of Gino Mayaute, who now lives and teaches out of the US. Everyone should get the chance to watch this guy at work–he really is beautiful to watch, whether he is leading or following. Also happy to see that bachata is alive and well in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, my camera was already kaput from Victoria Peak so had to rely on those of my new salsa connections for a couple of snaps of the evening.

chuen chuen and karen

karen, ilan, judy

Got back to the hotel by 2am, thinking with a happy sigh that this was one of the best days of the trip thus far.

Mi dulce niña (Los Kumbia Kings)

Elmer is becoming such the source of great latin music that I am struggling to keep up with all the translations…but I’m not complaining 🙂 We both adore cumbia, which sadly is not danced very much in the salsa circles that I frequent in Vancouver.

So here is Mi dulce niña by Los Kumbia Kings, the latest cumbia song stuck in an endless loop in my head. Enjoy the clip and please do correct my Spanish if I’ve messed up anywhere (and thanks to Victor for providing some initial guidance).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXdkt8wNfXY[/youtube]

 
Chiquilla te quiero!
Vas a ser mi dulce niña…

Ya lo ves, estoy tan loco por ti
Cuando te veo venir no se ni que decir
Y no encuentro la manera de decirte lo que siento
que tengo un nudo por dentro, que de amor me estoy muriendo

Ya lo ves, yo voy siempre detras de ti
Para ver si tu al fin te fijarias en mi
pero no encuentro el camino para que tu estes conmigo
mas lo tengo decidido voy a ser mas que tu amigo

Ya te lo tengo advertido
Lo tengo bien decidido
Yo te voy a enamorar
conmigo tú vas a estar
no quieras disimularlo
si en mi tambien has pensado
vente conmigo que yo quiero estar contigo

(Na na na na na)

Mi dulce niña… (na na na)
Tú me fascinas (na na na)
Por tu sonrisa
Por tu mirada linda

(Na na na na na)

Mi dulce niña… (na na na)
Tú eres mi vida (na na na)
Contigo niña
Quiero pasar los dias

Desde que eres tú
La niña ideal
La que me tiene mal
Con la que quiero estar
Y todo lo que pido sin querer ser atrevido
Es que tú vengas conmigo por favor eso te pido

Quiero verte asi…
Tan cerquita de mi
Para poder decir
Lo que siento por ti

Te juro que te quiero
Que tengo un amor sincero
Y que yo me desespero
Por alguno de tus besos

Ya te lo tengo advertido
Lo tengo bien decidido
Yo te voy a enamorar
Conmigo tú vas a estar

No quieras disimularlo
Si en mi tambien has pensado
Vente conmigo que yo quiero estar contigo

(Na na na na na)

Mi dulce niña… (na na na)
Tú me fascinas (na na na)
Por tu sonrisa
Por tu mirada linda

Mi dulce niña… (na na na)
Tú eres mi vida (na na na)
Contigo niña
Quiero pasar los dias

Ya te lo tengo advertido
Lo tengo bien decidido
Yo te voy a enamorar
Conmigo tú vas a estar

No quieras disimularlo
Si en mi tambien has pensado
Vente conmigo que yo quiero estar contigo

(Na na na na na)

Mi dulce niña… (na na na)
Tú me fascinas (na na na)
Por tu sonrisa
Por tu mirada linda

Mi dulce niña… (na na na)
Tú eres mi vida (na na na)
Contigo niña
Quiero pasar los dias

Mi dulce niña… (na na na)
Tú me fascinas (na na na)
Por tu sonrisa
Por tu mirada linda

Mi dulce niña… (na na na)
Tú eres mi vida (na na na)
Contigo niña
Quiero pasar los dias

Y ves?…

Continue reading “Mi dulce niña (Los Kumbia Kings)”

karen, leanne, and cheryl at robson square.



DSC00374, originally uploaded by SalsaVancouver.net.

My cousin Leanne and her friend Cheryl were walking downtown post-Gay Pride Parade and heard strains of salsa music from below. Figuring I was already down there dancing it up, the two stood on a bench taking in the scene.

We eventually found each other, as you can see 🙂 Thanks Jennifer for the photo op!

so you think you can dance: sara and neil’s disco.

Only 10 dancers remain and the choreography just keeps getting better. My favourite one from last week is, oddly enough, a disco routine. The styling for Sara was amazing; there are quite a few things I’d love to incorporate into salsa. So my darling leads, please take note of the dip at 2:06, the rejection combo at 1:59, and especially the crazy death-spin-turned-aerial from 2:11-2:16. I expect to be tossed in the air and dipped to the floor next time we dance!

Study hard 🙂

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6j2FtK1UwM[/youtube]

 

my favourite salsa song.

[Update: Found better lyrics matching the version of the song shown below. Si hablan espagnol, pueden ayudarme a corrigir las muchísimas faltas en mi traducción? Muchas gracias a todos!]

Ven, devorame otra vez by Lalo Rodriguez has long been a favourite salsa song, as much for its lyricism as for its musicality.  Such passion and ardor!  Unfortunately, the English equivalent is almost crude.  But it could very well be the fault of my extremely poor translation skills.

Found the video:  enjoy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IpggldF0Xs[/youtube]

canada day weekend review.

This weekend has been action-packed…generally the way I like my long weekends! It started out with a less-than-stellar salsa night at Diavolo. Not many of the regular crew around. I think we were all saving our energy for Robson Square on Sunday. Got a massive bruise on my right foot from some jerk that managed to step on both my feet at once…not even an apology. It’s now swollen and purple and I think will last all week. God, I hate the lack of dance etiquette sometimes.

Thankfully, Edwin and Elmer dropped by near the end of the night and made up for the dance suckiness with a lot of drinking =) When Diavolo wrapped up, we continued the dancing and gin-and-tonicking at the Red Room and Shine (which has *awesome* music on Fridays–gotta go back again soon!). By 4am I was pretty smashed but happy that the night ended on a fun note.

On Saturday, I paid dearly for Friday night. Kurt and I nursed our various illnesses instead of seeing Rumba Calzada at the Roundhouse as planned. By dinnertime, the nausea passed so made my way over to Coquitlam to spend the evening with the family. As usual, the night was filled of endless food, lots of music jamming and several hours of karaoke with the aunties. Funny how much I enjoy these nights with the fam as an adult…we all used to think it was torture in high school.

Sunday was a first foray into tennis with Jay, a short glimpse of the Jazz Fest and the bike race in Yaletown, and a great day of reconnecting with Jamie while Kurt and Dave watched the U20 soccer matches at Swanguard. Jamie and I took in the first Sunday Afternoon Salsa of the summer at Robson Square, followed by a very satisfying meal at Alpha (restaurant review updated here) with her and Kurt. The sake was flowing so we didn’t make it to Canada Place to see the fireworks up close. We did manage to take in a bit of it from our balcony, so I guess that was our Canada Day celebration!

One minor disruption was the breaking of my cell phone on the way back from tennis–not cool. My number is forwarded to Kurt’s cell for now. If you get the chance, please email, IM, or FB me with your number.

Coming up: Transformers movie, Ratatouille, and Lucas and Karen’s wedding in Oakville. Can’t wait!!!

so you think you can dance, season 3: first impressions.

The only reality competition I watch is finally back with season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance. I spent the last 2 hours catching up thanks to our trusty PVR. Initial thoughts:

  • The dancers this season are much more impressive than last year’s bunch! I don’t think anyone necessarily deserved to go home in the first round.
  • Top 3 fave performances this week: 1) Danny and Anya’s jive; 2) Lacey and Kameron’s contemporary; 3) Jesus and Sara’s routine
  • Yeah, yeah, Wade Robson’s choreography is really unique…but it gets less impressive the more routines I see. They all look the same, after a while. Mia Michaels is my favourite.
  • I’m constantly disappointed by the poor choreography of every salsa performance I’ve seen on the show thus far. Salsa seems to be lumped with the stiffer latin/ballroom style instead of with tango or street dances. I’ve seen better spontaneous routines from social dancers around the Vancouver scene!
  • Very happy to see lindy hoppers featured during the auditions and Vegas trials. Unfortunately, with the pseudo-period costumes and campy music, the pair made lindy seem rather quaint and didn’t showcase how liquid and freeing the movements can be.
  • I was sad to see Ricky leave the show so early. I thought he had an amazing solo and did show his range, whereas Domenic was saved by personality alone.
  • Benji is awesome and all, but did he really need to drop his pants?!

What do you think of the season so far?

atlanta bachata observations.

[These are imported from a Facebook discussion I had with Raf] 

I just came back from Atlanta and had the chance to go salsa dancing one Wednesday to the Tongue & Groove.

I loved the bachata music: significantly faster than the stuff played locally. Salsa speed, sometimes. They played 2-3 songs in succession just past midnight and again at the end of the night.

The proximity between partners is relatively distant. There must have been a foot of space between partners in closed position. Most stuck with the basics; not a lot of turning or combos. The more advanced bachata dancers took advantage of the faster beat and played with their footwork akin to the Dominican style. Saw only one couple getting steamy a la Rafael!

It may have just been this particular venue, though some of the locals mentioned that bachata isn’t as popular in Atlanta versus Vancouver.