Archive for October, 2007

links for 2007-10-16


October 16, 2007 at 2:22 pm 1 comment

Prejudice Doesn’t Pay

The last two evenings have closed with me watching the famed Leeroy Jenkins battle on YouTube and laughing.  Before yesterday, I didn’t even know who Leeroy Jenkins was. 

How did I miss such an old and wide-spread Internet phenomenon?  Prejudice!  I’m biased against video games, thanks to their habit of sucking entire days of my life away.  It’s been almost a decade, but I still feel the sting with how fleeting my reign on the Wetrix Top Ten Board was in our apartment.  I spent days taking the entire list over.  Ryan Schutt eradicated me within a few hours and didn’t even break a sweat.  That memory of my own futility was so persistant that even when Discover Magazine pointed out the benefits of video games, my stereotypes stood firm.

And so, I’m certain when Leeroy Jenkins first found his way to me, I took one look at all those players strategizing, rolled my eyes and thought, “What the hell is this crap?!?” before closing the window.

And look at what laughter my bigoted ways deprived me.

At least I have chicken.

October 15, 2007 at 11:33 pm 9 comments


On Thursday, I have tickets to go to see Gogol Bordello at Blacksburg’s reinnovated Lyric Theatre!  My brother gave me their Gypsy Punks – Underdog World Strike CD at Bethany Beach in August.  Since then I’ve become a little obsessed with the music.  It’s been in my XTerra almost continuously.  I made sure to rent “Everything is Illuminated” to see Eugene Hutz and the Super Taranta! CD is my current programming soundtrack. 

There are four days between me and the live performance, so here are four songs I’m looking forward to seeing (accompanied by the “best” sound-quality YouTube link I could find so you could at least hear what I’m talking about).

4. Start Wearing Purple (Gypsy Punks – Underdog World Strike)
How can you not enjoy the energy of this song?!?  I’m also quite fond of the long violin note after the second verse.

This is the band’s video for Start Wearing Purple

3. American Wedding (Super Taranta!)
The very first grown up wedding I went to, I was psyched.  “I’m going to eat steak and dance!” I told my co-workers.  I showed up and the wedding was not what I expected.  The reception was in the basement of a church.  It had no dancing or fine dining.  Instead it offered card tables, potato chips and Pepsi.  So I can empathize with one being surprised at marital traditions.

Have you ever been to American wedding?
Where is the vodka, where’s marinated herring?
Where is the supply that gonna last three days?
Where is the band that like Fanfare.
Gonna keep it goin’ 24 hours

Footage of a live performance from Toronto

2.  Tribal Connection (Super Taranta!)
Well, I of course love the refrain “No Can Do This, No Can Do That, What the Hell Can You Do, My Friend?”.  It’s so much fun to sing.  But it is a line near the end of the song that really seals the deal for me. 

We’re gonna turn frustration into inspiration

It makes me think of Alfred Hitchcock and the stem cell researchers.

This is a neat slideshow of pictures of the band

1. Illumination (Gypsy Punks – Underdog World Strike)
I love absolutely everything about this song.  The intro makes me think of Flight of the Conchords.  I love when he’s singing about a different culture, he goes from “It’s them who do not think the same” to “It’s them who do not think.”  How often has the same leap been made by one society towards another?  I love the chorus:

But we who see our destiny
In sound of this same old punk song
Let rest originality for sake of passing it around

It makes me think of the repetitiveness of oral traditions

And I adore the line, “You are the only light there is, for yourself my friend.”  It hits home because I think there are too many people out there who point externally for the causes of their unhappinesses and failures, when all along the obstacles are within themselves.

An Iraq war slideshow to the song

Anyway, I fully expect this week’s concert to be a blast!  Not much longer to wait now!

October 14, 2007 at 8:45 pm 6 comments

Oktoberfest at Mountain Lake

My friend Mandy had some Oktoberfest tickets she couldn’t use, so last night Ann and I took Penn to the festivities at Mountain Lake.  The event featured a biergarten, traditional German food and the Sauerkraut Band.

When we first stood in line for the buffet, it dawned on me that this was a disaster waiting to happen.  Penn’s a picky eater, a very picky eater.  And although the entrees sounded delicious to me, I could easily see how the likes of beets, sauerkraut, purple cabbage and smoked salmon would be less than appealing to Penn.  He was particularly disturbed by the roasted pig.  The devoured meat exposed the pig’s spine, meanwhile the pig’s head was still in tact.  Penn stared and had a lot of concern about the pig’s eyeballs.

This pig did not help Penn’s appetite

Luckily, Penn found one of the German sausages edible.  Though when he had eaten about half and suddenly asked, “Where does sausage come from?” I was very nervous to tell him “pigs”.  That knowledge didn’t make a difference to Penn, he continued to ingest his dinner.

A local bakery in Christiansburg has a sign that says, “Life is Uncertain, Eat Dessert First”.  I didn’t adopt the sentiment verbatim, but when I passed by the pastry bar and saw the inventory dwindling, I made sure to snag a piece of cake right away.  I balanced it on my two plates of food and carried it back.

Evidence of foresight– Cake!

Later Ann asked Penn to get a dessert from the bar.  He came back carrying a plate of crumbs (literally).  That was all that was left.  I was so very proud of my foresight and was eager to share my bounty and be the hero of the group.  Alas, Mountain Lake did eventually replenish the dessert table.  At least I can still snicker at those who had to wait ten extra minutes for their cake.  Suckers! 

Even though the meal started out shaky for Penn, he ended up having a fabulous time.  The Sauerkraut Band was a big hit.  He enjoyed clapping along, toasting his Sprite when the adults toasted and he seemed particularly enamoured with watching a little girl dance.  Later, the event took on another level of excitement when Penn discovered a number of children playing billiards upstairs.

Penn claps along to the Sauerkraut Band

Little Penn toasts his Sprite

The Sauerkraut Band

In the buffet line, I fully expected the evening would end with Penn driving our departure time.  In the end, it was Ann and I, the old fogies, who had to drag Penn home!

More pictures from Mountain Lake’s Oktoberfest can be found on my Flickr site.

October 14, 2007 at 4:37 pm 4 comments

Man’s Humanity to Man

On more than one occassion, Kurt Vonnegut wrote and spoke fondly about firemen and their mode of transportation– the fire engine.  When asked his thoughts about 9/11, the author simply said:

I can’t imagine a more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine.

Vonnegut’s symbol is certainly nice, but now I’ve found my own image of man’s humanity to man.  Last weekend, I witnessed an act that moved me more than a fire engine would.  I watched four men rescue a dog from the Appalachian Trail.

At the end of our backpacking trip, I shuttled some hikers back to their cars.  When I returned, I noted a particular couple still weren’t present at the trailhead.

“Brian and Akiko aren’t back?” I asked.

“They’re having a… dog malfunction,” someone told me.

It was the oldest dog in our group, eleven-year old Yoda, who was “malfunctioning”.  With two miles left to go, poor Yoda collapsed.  Shaking and completely spent, he could move no further.  His owner put him in a creek to cool down and came down the mountain to seek help.

At this point, four men *ran* back up the steep two-mile ascent, built a stretcher and carried the dog down to safety.  Their efforts were very touching.

Andy, James, Brian and Carl carry Yoda down the trail

Poor Yoda

Is it odd that my favorite symbol of “man’s humanity to man” involves a dog?  I don’t think so.  If those men would run up a mountain to rescue a dog… just imagine what they would do for you!

And actually, one member of our hiking group doesn’t even have to imagine.  He got lost (“I thought the blazes were more of a guideline”) and never made it to the end.  Some of the very same men who ran up to retrieve the dog, were poised to backtrack the whole day’s hike and/or explore steep side trails to find their missing co-worker.

The Group studying maps and trying to figure out how to find their friend.

And when cell phone contact with their colleague was finally made, a group of these hikers drove two hours to a trailhead in West Virginia, hiked up the Groundhog Trail and brought their lost friend home.

So if you don’t fancy the dog angle, how’s this:

If those men would drive two hours and hike up a steep hill for someone who disregarded blazes, just imagine what they would do for you!  🙂

October 14, 2007 at 3:31 pm 6 comments

links for 2007-10-12

October 12, 2007 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

links for 2007-10-11

October 11, 2007 at 2:22 pm 2 comments

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