Also, I read a book called The Vikings and America it was really interesting. The guy argues that the Vikings settlement in the New World, Vinland, was probably in northern Maine, not Newfoundland like some people say. He makes pretty logical arguments about it, and it's an interesting book anyway, talking about the history of the Vikings' western exploration.
I guess the fall is making me think of cold stuff, because I also read some interesting articles on the affect of global warming on Alaska and the Arctic. Pretty neat. Here is number one and two.
There's also college basketball weather, which is similar, but I feel like is more chilly - from going to GW games early (noonish) on Saturdays. Word.
But anyway, they had a lot of historical reenactments, like soldiers and drum and fife corps, craftspeople making wigs and furniture and blacksmithing and such, which was interesting. Some of the reenactors were interesting and funny, but some were insufferable and annoying, especially the younger ones. I guess they are probably all theater types who think they're great actors. It was also weird seeing black reenactors dressed as slaves - accurate, but sort of unsettling. Anyway, here's a picture of soldiers marching outside the Kings Arms Tavern, which had pretty good food.
The town is centered on the old main street, Duke of Gloucester Street, and most of the historical stuff is within a block of two of that. It's actually laid out a lot like DC, with the Lincoln Memorial corresponding to William and Mary's oldest building, the Mall being Duke of Gloucester Street, the White House where the Governor's Palace is, and Capitols in the same place. I assume L'Enfant used Williamsburg for inspiration (map of the historic area here). There's also a few museums, like the Dewitt-Wallace Decorative Arts museum, which had silver and jewelry and crap like that, but also a really interesting exhibit on old maps, with lots of originals - John Smith's map of Virginia, lots of others from the 1600s, and so on. It was neat. The William and Mary campus is neat too, lots of old buildings. Here's the back of the Governor's Palace. It's sort of hard to tell, but there are 10 foot tall cylindrically trimmed boxwoods that look really cool.
There's also the normal, modern day town of Williamsburg, which is nothing special, but there was a good Mexican restaurant called "Casa Maya". I recommend it, it was more Mexican than Tex-Mex, and things were flavored differently than normal Mexican food.
After Williamsburg, we went to Jamestown, which is actually two parks. There's the original site of the settlement, called Historic Jamestowne, which is run by the Park Service and a group called the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, and there's the Jamestown Settlement, a reconstruction, run by a pseudo-state government foundation, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. It's kind of confusing. We went to the reconstruction first, and I expected it to be corny, but it was actually the better of the two. They have a huge visitor's center with movies and food and all, and a gift shop with lots of stuff, from historical things to cheesy tourist crap. The park itself starts with a rebuilt Indian village, which was sort of interesting. The tour guide was a big high school looking kid in a Pocahontas-ish costume that was sort of funny, but was probably accruate. Then we went to the ships, pictured above, which were really interesting. One of the ships was being worked on, so it wasn't there, but the biggest and smallest were, the biggest is pictured. They're reconstructions also, but seemed very well done, and are seaworthy - the big one sailed across the Atlantic, and apparently is in an upcoming movied called "The New World" about Jamestown and such, with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. It actually looks pretty good, and also has Wes Studi, who is also cool. He was the bad dude in "Last of the Mohicans."
But anyway, we got to walk all over the ships, which was really intersting - it would suck to have to cross an ocean in one. The smaller ship was meant to be for exploring the area around the colony, and was actually built smaller than it should have been, but was still pretty tiny. The fort and town inside were really neat too, very primitive, and the reenactors were doing things like making food and working on armor. It was very hands on, more than at Williamsburg. I enjoyed it, you really got a feel of how much in the wilderness they were.
The Park Service/APVA Jamestown, however, was bad. There was a lot of construction going on, which is fine, but it seemed like they didn't pay much attention to park visitors. After going to a rebuilt glass furnace (pretty neat), we went to the main part of the park. We couldn't find a real visitors center, but did find a little gift shop. So we wandered across a bridge over the swamp which leads to the island the town was built on. It was basically unguided, since we didn't get a map (couldn't find the visitors center), and the park really didn't tell me anything. There was a big obelisk from the 300th anniversary, and there were foundations of buildings with some small plaques, a partially rebuilt church, and that was it basically. It left me with more questions than when I started, and that was after already learning about Jamestown - it must have been nonsense to people who didn't go to the other park. For example, there was a big plastic dome over one area. I assume it was to protect an archaeological dig, but there weren't any signs or anybody to tell me what it was. We didn't see a park ranger until after we had finished everything, and he was leading a tour. Where the tour started and how people found out about it, I have no idea. And it's not like we came in the back way, there's only one way in and one place to park. So the Park Service section was nice and peaceful, and gave you a good idea of where the place was, but I really didn't learn anything additional. I wrote them an email about the crappy experience, and they wrote back soon saying these were problems that were going to be fixed, but still. But not interesting park aside, I'm glad I went, and I enjoyed it all.
So that was the trip. Here are links and a couple more photos.
the non-Park Service, better Jamestown park. Dumb URL.
The Park Service site for Jamestown
Colonial Williamsburg. It's crazy they got "history.org" as their domain. They must have registered it 20 years ago or something.
Now pictures, here's the ceiling of the Governor's Palace. Those are guns. Apparently this was common back then.
Here's a crazy-shaped tomato from a garden in Williamsburg.
And here's me chilling with my pal Thomas Jefferson on the main drag in Williamsburg.
Yahoo has an interesting one about how hurricanes get their names.
Stereogum has a discussion about people who used to be in bands who now have real jobs.
the AP has an interesting piece about Congressional earmarks, which are programs that nobody asked for or recommended, but that congressmen put through anyway - i.e. pork. What struck me was that Alaska has the third highest amount of transportation earmarks, mostly for roads and bridges, which is ridiculous. It's not like these bridges link Manhattan to Brooklyn or France to England, it's linking some sparsely populated places to some other sparsely populated places. The Knik Arm bridge is the most ridiculous, they're spending $250 million on it this year alone, for a two mile bridge across a fjord. I guess they can sell a few more seals or ice cubes or something when they finish it. How stupid.
And the Post has a good article about local officials in Mississippi and Louisiana trying to get equipment for their cities - sometimes making them break into lots and take tractors out, because FEMA things take forever to arrive.
In other news, I forgot to wear a belt to work yesterday, which was kind of embarassing. i didn't notice until I was waiting for the elevator to go to my office. So i did the "pull the shirt out a bit and put it over the belt area" thing, which hid it pretty well. I think belts are kind of dumb anyway though, it's not like my pants are going to fall off. Sort of a pointless article of clothing. Maybe I should get one of the belt buckles with the LCD screen, I can wear it to work and have it say "WORK RULES" or "I LOVE MAPS" or something.
Then there was the whole Verve thing, where the Rolling Stones sued the band the Verve for using a very short and nearly impossible to notice sample of an orchestral version of a Stones song - not even the band themselves playing. The sample was in "Bittersweet Symphony," which was a huge hit for the Verve, and the Stones won all past and future royalties on the song, which they then licensed in lots of commercials - something I'm pretty sure the Verve had refused to do. So the Rolling Stones basically made a ton of money on a song they never wrote or performed and rubbed it in the Verve's faces. The Verve, who had been hailed as the one of the best bands of the late 90s, broke up not long after. It's not like they stole an entire song or were making fun of the Rolling Stones or anything - the sample was like six notes on a violin, nothing obviously by the Stones or really impressive musically or anything. I saw an interview on MTV or something with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards about the whole deal and they were furious that the Verve had dared do that. What a bunch of dicks. They're obviously just out to line their own pockets however they can.
Another example of what I think is a sell out are the Black Eyed Peas. They don't make me as mad as the Rolling Stones, but have been in so many commercials, magazine ads, etc, sometimes for the most tenuous reasons, that it's ridiculous. I feel like they're more of a spokesband than a real musical group now. Which is too bad, because their old stuff was pretty good, like Bridging the Gap, which was before they got the girl singer. I also think part of what annoys me about them being in so many commercials is that a lot of the commercials basically say that they're a cool group. If you have to be told that something is cool, then it's probably not. And since when is Best Buy or some car company the arbiter of cool? Plus commercials seem to decrease coolness exponentially - being in one commercial is not bad, but you rapidly get less cooler as you appear in more commercials. I thought Moby's Play cd was great, but after he licensed every song to commercials, it became not very cool. He's almost a joke now, and none of his CDs after that have sold very well. Even Snoop Dogg in commercials is getting old, it's almost rote - here's Snoop, he's dressed like a pimp, he says "izzle" a couple times, and our company is now cool.
But along the same lines, I wonder what else it is that makes me feel like a band sold out? I think what a band is selling is a big factor - Ikea wouldn't be too bad, but some chips or Pontiac cars would be pretty lame. Devo let the Swiffer mop thing use a version of "Whip It" in a commercial as "Swiff It," but apparently they said OK because it was such a bizarre idea, which I think is a good reason. Maybe how obscure the band plays a role too - for example, I think I heard an Iron and Wine cover of "Such Great Heights" by the Postal Service in a car commercial, which I thought was cool. But I heard a Postal Service song in another car commercial and thought it was lame. Iron and Wine are definitely more obscure, and I've heard the Postal Service a lot more often, so it seems like more of an attempt by them to get famous. But why don't I think that way about Iron and Wine? They were both in car commercials? It's odd. Maybe something about Iron and Wine makes them seem less corruptible or something.
And a corollary is that if the band is obscure and a little old, I think it's fine - like I just heard Civ's "Can't Wait One Minute More" in a Nissan or Toyota commercial - good for them! That was a minor hit maybe 10 years ago, I think it's cool they're getting paid for it again.
But if I ever make music and people want to use it in a commercial, I'll only consider it if it's a cool commercial that isn't on very much, and it's some product I like. Assuming that ever happens of course. I probably would need to music some kind of music first.
Stereogum has a thing about Paul McCartney in a commercial too.
Somebody on a message board for an annual Kris Kross Day website, where you are supposed to wear your clothes backwards, says that Chris Smith (Daddy Mack, I have no idea which guy that is) is working on a solo album, but I can't find anything about it online. A Canadian website says he had an album a couple years ago as "M.A.C." There are a couple results on Amazon for a rapper called Mac, who was on No Limit, but I dunno if it's the same guy. This Mac is young though, and his albums got a lot of positive comments. My favorite review, however, is this one:
Not since Gambol Freer made a public renunciation of his obsolescent depilatory tactics in 1985 has the rap world seen anything like Mac's multi-thyrsoid panegyrics. Not that it matters very much, because such lubricious manticorical entities are about to become a dime a dozen, and getting there first won't count for much when all we'll want by then is a cool draught of C-major tonic! Did Mac (whose real name, by the way, is Stavros Mapplethorpe) ever stop to consider the ramifications of his rather glib brand of fatti maschii? Medoubts it highly. Plugging away at soft-core pulp is all he knows. And calling it "woolly bear" ain't gonna fool no one!
Hell, even Snoop could tell his momma a thing or two.
Peace out, y'all.
Weird. And according to this, Jermaine Dupri wrote all the songs on "Totally Krossed Out". Interesting. But as for where they are now, I dunno. Maybe I'll look for them.
And then I went to one of my favorite sites, Spamusement.com, which is always funny. It's a bunch of cartoons based on spam emails the writer gets. Good stuff.
9/10 - New Hall - 11:15 p.m. - case closed
UPD responded to a room in the dorm after receiving a loud noise complaint. CLLC accompanied the officers to find a large number of students having a get-together. There were no violations of policy, but an inordinate amount of what appeared to be cake was served, according to a student close to the event.
Referred to Student Judicial Services (SJS)
And the other day, a girl bit a cop. Weird.
And my pal Rae has a very funny photo riddle thing on her blog, check it out.
Also, this dog is very ugly. It looks like a mummy from some Indiana Jones movie or something.
Here's a website I found with a bunch of pictures of balanced breakfasts. I like this line: "Studies by Atkin and Gibson (1978) have shown that most children are unable to remember any other foods shown with the cereal and that they often believe that the sugared cereal alone would constitute a healthy breakfast." The guy did make good choices for his pictures though. Some of my favorite cereals.
In other news, I think Shaq is the man. He's training to be a Miami Beach reserve police officer, which is cool enough, and the other day he helped officers arrest a guy who was throwing bottles at a gay couple. And he's been doing a lot for the hurricane victims too lately.
Wed Sep 14- Hockey Night $8 w/Baby Teeth & Head of Femur DC9
FRI. SEP. 23- Southern Culture on the Skids $15.00 930 Club
TUE. SEP. 27- Sufjan Stevens w/ Liz Janes $15.00 930 Club
FRI Sep 30- EARLIMART W/ RICHARD SWIFT AND SONS OF NATIONAL FREEDOM W/ JOE RATHBONE 9:30PM $12 Iota
SAT OCT 1- ELECTRIC 6, OUTRAGEOUS CHERRY, HER DAILY OBSESSION $12 mainstage 9:30 Black Cat
SUN. OCT. 2- The Decemberists w/ Sons & Daughters $18.00 930 Club
SUN Oct 2 ROBBERS ON HIGH STREET W/ KING OF FRANCE 8:30PM $11 Iota
MON OCT 3- THE RAVEONETTES $13 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat
TUE OCT 4- NADA SURF, SAY HI TO YOUR MOM, acoustic ARMY OF ME $13 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat
OCT 5 - Beck, Patriot Center
SAT. OCT. 8- Metric w/ The Most Serene Republic & The Lovely Feathers 6pm Doors $15.00 930 Club
Mon Oct 10- My Morning Jacket w/ Kathleen Edwards 9:30 Club
SAT. OCT. 15- The New Pornographers w/ Destroyer & Immaculate Machine $15.00 930 Club
Sat Oct 15- Sleepytime Gorrila Museum $10 w/Crashlander DC9
TUE OCT 18- CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH $12 mainstage 8:30
Fri Oct 21- Assrockers Velvet Lounge
SAT OCT 22- AMBULANCE LTD, PEOPLE IN PLANES $10adv/ $12door mainstage 9:30 Black Cat
SUN OCT 23- LOCAL H, RIDDLE OF STEEL, SKYLINE DRIVE $12 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat
TUE. OCT. 25- Social Distortion w/ Mest & The Dead 60s $25.00 930 Club
WED. OCT. 26- Broken Social Scene $20.00 930 Club
Wed Oct 26.- Green Milk From The Planet Orange(Japanese space rock/psych-prog) $8
w/Ostinato (atmospheric post punk), & Vincent Black Shadow - DC9
Oct 31- OK GO and Rufus Wainright 9:30 Club
WED NOV 2- THE KINGSBURY MANX, THE STANDARD $7 backstage 9:00 Black Cat
Thu Nov 3- Say Hi to Your Mom $ w/tba DC9
SUN NOV 6- TOM VEK, MOBIUS BAND $8 backstage 9:00 Black Cat
TUE. NOV. 8- Super Furry Animals w/ Caribou $15.00 930 Club
SAT NOV 12- BROADCAST, GRAVENHURST, TRALALA $12 mainstage 9:30 Black Cat
THUR NOV 17- ANDREW BIRD (accompanied by DOSH), HEAD OF FEMUR $13 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat
SUN NOV 20- TRISTEZA, TONE $8 backstage 9:00 Black Cat
Tue. Nov 22.- Mandible w/Mosquito Death Squadron & Warning Danger of Death $6 DC9. I dunno who they are, but they are great band names.
Sun. Nov 27- Wheatus Enemy of Three $10 DC9 - Teenage dirtbag.
TUES DEC 6- AMERICAN ANALOG SET, CHRIS BROKAW $10 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat
In other news, my pal Mollie sent me this link to this cool Regrowth: Katrina shirt where for every shirt you buy, they'll give $10 to the Red Cross. So far they've raised $72,000. I bought one
"Doctors emerging as heroes of Katrina" from the AP
"Mexico Army brings aid to Katrina victims", also AP. It's the first time the Mexican army has been across the border since 1846. Somebody I was talking to said this reminded him of that lame movie "The Day After Tomorrow" with Jake Gyllenhall where all the disasters hit the US and everybody is forced to flee to Mexico. It's like the tables have turned was the guy's point. Forget who I was talking to though.
"Embattled Brown taken off hurricane duty", AP. A longer piece about him leaving, with questions about his qualifications, etc. He seems like the prime example of one of Pres. Bush's boys getting put into a job for what he did during the campaign with no regard for his qualifications.
"For a US platoon in Iraq, merciless missions" - a great Washington Post article following a platoon for a few days. Really interesting.
In other news, I saw Akira Kurosawa's Ran the other day. I remember seeing a movie a long time ago about feudal Japan with lots of cool battles and guys with flags on their hats and I thought I'd try to figure out what it was. I guessed it might be a Kurosawa movie, and I read this one was good, so I got it. It wasn't the one I was looking for (my friend thinks that is Kagemusha, so I'll get that next), but it was interesting. It's basically a version of King Lear played out in feudal Japan. Unfortunately I didn't get to finish it because it's 3 hours long and I waited to watch it the day I had to return it, but I saw probably 2.5 hours of it.
While I was watching it, I was sort of annoyed, because some of the subtitles were messed up with typos, and the old king character was obviously a younger actor with lots of bad makeup. The jester character was kind of weird too, (which is the idea, since he's a jester, but still) and it was strange already knowing most of the story but seeing it in a new way - I sort of knew what to expect. Also, the battle scenes were confusing in that I didn't know whose army was on whose side, and thus who was winning and so on. One line like "oh no, so and so's army is attacking us with so and so!" would have helped that immensely. Also, some of the emotions and acting seemed very stylized, but I guess that's Shakespeare and a Japanese costume drama for you. So I didn't think I liked it very much. However, a couple days afterwards, I'm still thinking of certain scenes and themes and images, there were a lot of great landscapes and shots of castles and plains and so on - really cool looking places I'd never seen before. So while I wasn't having that great of a time watching it, the fact that it stayed with me for this long makes me want to see it again. Maybe I'll be more used to the stylized acting and the bad makeup.
But what really made me mad is this transcript from the photo-op Pres. Bush had with the two black ladies, where he hugged them. This is what was said, from Froomkin's column
Bush strides up to two African American women, who are sisters. Hovering nearby is a white guy wearing shades and shorts.
With the cameras rolling, Bush hugs the two women, one of whom starts sobbing.
Here's a partial transcript:
Bush to women: "There's a Salvation Army center that I want to, that I'll tell you where it is, and they'll get you some help. I'm sorry... They'll help you... . "
Woman 1: "I came here looking for clothes. . . . "
Bush: "They'll get you some clothes, at the Salvation Army center... ."
Woman 1: "We don't have anything. . . . "
Bush: "I understand. . . . Do you know where the center is, that I'm talking to you about?"
Guy with shades: "There's no center there, sir, it's a truck."
Bush: "There's trucks?"
Guy: "There's a school, a school about two miles away. . . . "
Bush: "But isn't there a Salvation center down there?"
Guy: "No that's wiped out. . . . "
Bush: "A temporary center?"
Guy: "No sir they've got a truck there, for food."
Bush: "That's what I'm saying, for food and water."
Bush then turns to the woman who's been saying how she needs clothes and tells her: "You need food and water."
Also, this is cool. Little tiny cubical houses, 2.6 meters on a side.
First, here's a really interesting Livejournal of a guy in downtown New Orleans. He works at some kind of technology company apparently with a diesel generator, and has a live cam of what's going on. He uses lots of weird military terms too for some reason. Scary and strange but very cool.
A funny Choose Your Own Adventure game, which I found in the weekly email from insound.com.
Streetsy, a site with pictures of graffiti.
An interesting article about tourism in Greenland.
A funny Doonesbury comic about blogging. Sounds like my blog.
And finally, a news article saying that wasting time at work costs companies millions. Good thing I never do that!
However, I am getting pretty pissed about this. For one thing, why did this happen? Some people probably chose to stay in New Orleans, but a lot probably couldn't, because they were sick or poor or didn't have a car and so on - why were they left behind? It's like the government said "see ya, hope you don't die." Obviously it would be difficult and costly to evacuate people, but considering the number of people who've said this would happen (FEMA, academics including GW professors, New Orleans Times-Picayune reporters, among others that I've heard mentioned on CNN), it's boggling that no one tried to evacuate them. I mean, it would have saved thousands of lives, at least. Are poor people's lives not as important? It's what it seems like now.
I think part of the problem is that the director of FEMA said that the victims bear some responsibility for staying. This guy is the director of FEMA? Come on. I read somewhere that flights were full, assuming you could afford them, and I assume it's the same way with rail and buses.
Some other interesting news - Baton Rouge is the largest city in Louisiana and may stay that way for some time. As someone rightly points out, Galveston was as big as Houston before it was hit by a hurricane in 1900. Same with Indianola, Texas, not mentioned in the article, which wasn't resettled.
People around the world are shocked and surprised at the poor response to the hurricane and its aftermath.
Local officials are furious about the slow response. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has told the federal government to "get off their asses". Of course, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, former head of the GOP, has been pretty quiet, saying on CNN it'll take time, etc.
Pres. Bush did say results were "not acceptable."
A pretty interesting thing from the Gawker blog, about Anderson Cooper giving hell to Sen. Mary Landrieu, which I watched on CNN. He was angry that politicians were patting each other on the back and such. She said "Anderson" maybe 80 times. And "I have the anger in my heart" was pretty corny to hear.
"The Big Disconnect," a CNN piece comparing the federal goverment's statements about the disaster to those by the mayor and other locals.
"To me, it just seems like black people are marked,"from the Post.
This piece from Ariana Huffington's blog basically blames Pres. Bush for the tragedy. Interesting. Although I read that some of the denials of funds happened in 1998, which would be the Clinton administration. I wonder if Clinton and HW Bush are wondering if they could have done anything more when they were president. Not that I think they are to blame anyway.
Item twice - The Brickskeller is CLOSING!
Yep, the rumors are true. The Brickskeller is closing her doors. After 47 years the unthinkable has happened. On Sunday, September 11th, those trying to enter our downstairs bar will find the door locked. However, if you walk up to the second floor entrance you will discover we are now showing NFL FOOTBALL IN OUR UPSTAIRS BAR ALL DAY EVERY SUNDAY FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON! YeahBABY! The upstairs bar is opening at 12 noon to allow all our football loving beer keg chuggin armchair huggin ballcoach mugging shirtsleeve tuggin waitstaff buggin spill on the ruggin beerguy buddin pals to watch the best football games in the best beer bar drinking the best beer on the best earth!
The Brickskeller close? R U Kiddin? Do you believe the morning papers too?
This sucks, the downstairs is the best place. Plus they keep all the beer down there, I wonder if that means the selection is going to be a lot smaller. I could give a shit about football, since no other bars in the city ever show football. I don't know if the guy is tired of running it or wants to focus on the not-so-great RFD or what, but this is bad news. Or I guess it might be a joke, but it's pretty bizarrely written and unfunny if so.
I emailed the owner, he said the downstairs will only be closed on sundays during football season. So it was just a terribly written email. Here's what he has to say.
The downstairs will only be closed sunday nights during the football season, we put TVs upstairs so we're going to show the games during the season, then all will return to normalcy. The complete beer list will be available upstairs, unlike downstairs where the taps are not. So we'll have about 100 more seats, be open 6 more hours and offer 12 more beers than any Sunday ever before. It's all good, not to worry.
In other news, I think it's weird when an athlete gets injured and they say on ESPN, "Smith hurt his leg. X-rays were negative." What, could you not see his bone? His leg is hollow? It means they didn't see a break or tear or whatever, but it sounds dumb. Maybe "X-rays didn't reveal any damage" would be better or something.