KS DMV, Back to the past?

This is the third state I have lived in and it was time for me to get a Kansas license. I first obtained my license in IL where I took the test when I was 18. I did not really have the need for a car until then. My Dad was actually all upset that I passed the test the first try after it took him a couple of times. I guess he was overconfident when he took the driving test since he had been driving for years in Colombia. If you have driven in Colombia, Chicago driving is a Sunday stroll.

My coworkers started to tell me how I was going to have to take the written test again, which I have not done probably since I got my license. I was thinking, oh great… study the rules of the road one more time… then I heard it was an open book test. I decided to take some time off work to get it done since some people were talking about a two hour ordeal.

The first problem I encountered was that there is no consolidated website for information. The information is all there but it is in like 3 different places and even though it is not conflicting, it is not really concise. After I figured out what I needed to take and how much money I headed out there. I knew from experience that most DMV’s did not take credit cards, so I had cash ready. I knew where the place to get new license plates was, and assumed since the address was very close that it was the same place. I was wrong, the place to get your license is a separate building and it was like going back to the 80’s.

The place did not scream high tech at all, and I started to realize how local government was really not at the same level as some of the other states I have lived in. If it was not for the great service that I was provided I would probably have had a pretty bad experience.

As I walk in, there is a lady that checks to see if you have all the document required which I thought was a very convenient way to check people in. The line was not horrible but it was a little slow. I think their computer system was back in the green screen days but I cannot confirm it. After the eye test I was informed that I had to take the written test which I already knew. I was only worried about making sure that I retain my motorcycle endorsement. Since Michigan uses the endorsement CY for motorcycle instead of M like many other states, she had to look it up. Not only that, she had to print a piece of paper with proof of what she looked up which to me screams non integrated systems.

She was pretty quick and answered all of my questions. She then sent me to the payment lady who was very friendly and gave me the test. She handed me a folded one page test and a very small pamphlet. She then told me it was open book, and I asked her where is the book. She looked at me and then my hand and I realized that the little pamphlet was “the book”. I tried to answer the test without looking at the book and I was about to answer everything but two questions. Thanks to one of my coworkers that had to “prep” me for the test with the 500 ft question, “Thanks Jordan”, which confused the heck out of me. I was able to look it up and finish up. I ended up getting one wrong, I don’t know which one. I also filled in my voter’s registration card which I had not done before. I know, I have not voted here… but I do have the excuse that I have spent most of the last 8 months traveling.

I was off to the picture station where a dude that did not seem pretty happy about taking pictures made me sign on a digital signature pad. I was excited, finally some technology. He told me to smile at Mickey Mouse which made me more uncomfortable than amused (the camera had a little toy Mickey attached to it close to the lens.) I then started to read a notice about a temporary license… that was when I felt like I was in a movie about the past.

I have always received my license right at the DMV in all the other states I have been in. I also happened to work with the MO DOT and I know that they also give you your license the same day. A lot of people in KC have the attitude that it is better to live in the KS side than the MO. I did not care either way until now… KS has one strike against it… I did not expect to have to wait for my license to arrive in the mail.

Can you learn rhythm

I am not talking about the rhythm method, that`s what my parents were using when they had me. This week I watched some of dancing with the Stars. I have to admit it was not as good as I thought it was going to be, except for laughing out loud when the dance coach also called Joey Fatone, The Fat-one. The whole fat thing and how it is funny is another good post, but we are just talking bout rhythm here.

KC has a pretty healthy dancing community when it comes to latin dances. You can find a good party every single weekend, and even though it helps to be personal friends with one of the DJ’s there are plenty of ways to find a club that is going to be playing some great music. There are two groups of people that go out to the clubs to dance latin music. I belong to the group of people that grew up with latin music around them, I learned to dance because my Mom taught me how. The second group are the ones that learned from a dance studio… and do I dare to say, they have no rhythm…

I know I am being unfair because not simply because you grew up around the music you know how to feel the music. I see that every weekend too, other latin people trying to do a dance that does not look anything like it is supposed to, worse yet they are so lost that the music is going one way and they are going another. I am only talking here about the people that can actually dance and stay with the music. Some know how to because they feel it, some know because they have been trained to do a movement with the beat.

My Mom loves to dance, and knows how to do must of the latin dances including Tango and “Paso-Doble.” I can follow her dancing those two, but I am really good at Salsa and Merengue. I have said it before, I am a total dancing fool. I hear a beat (even in a commercial) and I want to dance. My Mom also loves Ballroom dancing and watched it every time it was on TV. I also learned to love to watch the perfectly choreographed couples move on the dancefloor. They knew the steps and performed them with great accuracy, but did they feel the music? Do they have what I call rhythm?

No one is going to pay money to watch me dance like they do professional dancers; better yet, no one is ever going to pay for a dance lesson from me. I dance because it is fun and it makes me happy, I love feeling the music and it is one of the experiences where I feel like something is actully in my blood. A perfect example of this is the movie Dance with me that stars Chayanne and “Wilhelmina” or Vanessa Williams as she was known back then before Ugly Betty. You can see in the movie how different the two ways of dancing are. There is also a glympce of it in the movie Center Stage. When you dance to have fun and actually feel the music, it is a lot more beautiful than if you are repeating steps that coincide with a beat.

I have danced with people that learned dancing from just going out and having fun, and those that are trainned in a dance studio. I have no fun when I dance with someone that is not feeling the music, but its very mechanical about what they are doing. I am sure there are professional dancers out there that love to dance and actually know how to feel the music. Most of the professional dancers I saw in dancing with the stars looked like people that see dancing as a job. At that moment when it becomes a job, it takes the fun out of it.

Rhythm is something you feel inside for me, not something that can be taught. You can learn the steps from someone else, but the real lesson is how to actually feel the music. Have fun out there dancing.

Penguins, Yes, No, Maybe

The news around town has concentrated on the political race, and to be honest I could not care less. I was watching a sports news show and I became really irritated. It seems that the Penguins coming to KC is a possibility again, and the moron commentator immediately went to say that it would be a mistake. He then went on to use the Predators situation as backing evidence. I get really irritated when people that have never been to Kansas City dismiss it as a little town in the middle of cowville. Before jumping into the rant I will explain the situation for those of you not familiar with hockey.

The Penguins are thinking about leaving Pittsburgh. One of the cities among the list of possibilities is Kansas City, which actually has a brand new arena being built right downtown. Along with the new arena which Sprint is offering to the Penguins rent free, comes a downtown that is going through a huge boom and a city that loves sports. The sportscaster’s point was that the Tennessee Predators, the best team in the NHL at the moment, don’t fill up their arena when playing home.

I am not sure if the newscaster has never been to Kansas City before, but this city loves sports. Take the NFL team, the KC Chiefs have some of the most die hard fans in the league. While The Royals suck, they still have people go to their games, granted, not like people go to Cubs games, but still. I think a hockey team will do just fine in Kansas City, and I hope that people stop thinking of this as a little city. While it might have a small downtown, its surrounding areas and suburbs have enough people to rival other big metropolitan areas. So, Lemieux, make up your mind and bring he Penguins here already.

Life or death information just ahead

I am so tired of the nightly news holding back information, especially when they start scaring you early in the morning. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but come on, how scared do they want us to be?

They always use a trick that will hit you where it hurts, either kids, the elderly or like today, your pet. The teaser begins showing a beautiful Golden retriever, playing with children and ends with a dog that is so sick that you cannot quite tell what it is. This is at 7:00 A.M. in the morning and they are not going to tell you what it is that is going to kill your dog until 9:00 P.M. I am sorry, but if you are really trying to help me, why are you waiting all day for my poor puppy to die.

I understand, they are trying to get people to watch their T.V. show but I feel there is a lack of responsibility when you scare the crap out of people so that they can watch your show. When are they going to stop relying on scare tactics and actually produce a show that I am going to want to watch because of the great investigations that you show.

Recently we had a big fire here in KC. The coverage was horrible. They relied solely on pictures from their helicopter and repeated the same information over and over. I knew that officials had not released any statements, it takes time to asses a situation and give official word, but I found more tons of by using google than the producers of the show. It is a shame that even though they stopped regular programming and watching a chemical fire on T.V. was kind of amazing, there was no meat to the reporting.

In the information age, the regular news are suffering greatly. I like to watch the news for traffic reports and the weather. The national news are better served through the blogsphere, the international news I get from papers from all over the world. If the local T.V. news continue to get me to try to watch my scaring me, the only thing they are going to accomplish is to completely make me push the off button and fire up the computer for my news needs.