so this is my favorite jam of the year, "Great Salt Lake" by Band of Horses. I like the video too. It makes me want to buy a pickup and go play softball. Thanks to some guy with a shitty blog (get it!!) for turning me onto them.


My Big Road Trip, Part 3

So I realized I haven't written the rest of my big road trip that I took this summer - driving from DC to San Francisco. I've written the first and second entries so far, and now we're going from Omaha to the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.

Leaving Omaha pretty early, we continued to see tons of signs for something called Wall Drug. We'd seen them in Missouri (I think) but as we went west, they get more frequent. They're all pretty weird, some say "Free Ice Water!" some say "as seen in USA Today" or some other random newspaper, some say "There's a sign for it in Kenya", and on and on and on. I've never seen so many signs for anything in my life. About lunch time we decided to stop in Mitchell, SD.

Wall Drug Ice Water
Originally uploaded by tiffibunny.
We were trying to avoid chain food on the trip, and we found this little wood building with a gravel parking lot in the town, maybe the size of two vans, that sold burgers and shakes and the like. The place seemed like a real local place, folks were coming in and talking about local news and stuff. And for some reason, there was a signed photo of the stars of Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place on the wall that said something like "thanks for the great food." I have no idea what they were all doing up in a little town in South Dakota, but that was pretty funny. The peanut butter milkshake was tasty, I wish I remembered the name of the place.

The Corn Palace!
Originally uploaded by bp1101.
The other main highlight of Mitchell is the Corn Palace, a pretty wild building - this big auditorium which is decorated in murals made only of different kinds of dried corn. The corn isn't dyed or anything, it's all brown and yellow, and they usually change the design every year. However, because of a big drought, they hadn't changed the mural in awhile. It was still pretty interesting, however. A nice tourist trap.

As we drove west, it gradually got drier and less green. However, the radio stations stayed basically the same - we heard the exact same songs from state to state, and not just hit songs - random album cuts by 70s bands, hits from the early 90s we'd never heard, over and over, and so on. It just showed how much the radio monopolies make everything the same, there was zero variety, whether on classic rock stations or on top 40 type stuff.

Eventually we got to the turnoff for the Badlands. I wasn't really sure what to expect, other than some inhospitable land. The landscape was unlike nothing I'd seen - these striated dirt cliffs with different colored stripes, layered on top of each other. All the formations were caused by erosion, the area used to be the bottom of a sea. It went on and on, completely dry and without much foliage. That played tricks on the eyes - it was extremely difficult to tell if something was 20 feet away or a few miles, like this photo. These cliffs are only about 50 feet tall. And I'd see people out on ridges that looked miles away, but they were clearly much closer. It was strange and hard to describe. It made for some great photos, and I wish I hadn't lost my camera (more on that in the San Francisco post to come - a cliffhanger!).

Badlands Nationalpark
Originally uploaded by Dracs.
You start out on top of a plateau, and there are some nice hikes, we went around the spires and saw a rattlesnake. It smelled really nice too, like pine and wildflowers. We then drove down into the valley, where the park gift shop is, and I got my stamp for my National Parks book. The drive out of the park was equally grand - different colored cliffs, more spires, twisty roads that open up to crazy vistas of layered sand. The only radio station we could pick up was a Native American station (maybe this one) playing chants and drumming, which was really neat and added to the atmosphere.

After leaving the Badlands we came into Wall, SD, which is maybe 45 minutes from the park. Liz and I finally convinced Adam to go to Wall Drug - it was like the dad saying "ok, kids." He gave us ten minutes. I was thinking the place was just going to be a kiosk that sold bumper stickers, a big practical joke on all the tourists, but it's actually an enormous, ridiculous place. There are tons of different rooms - one with western leather stuff, one with just coffee mugs, and so on.

Wall Drug!
Originally uploaded by mexican 2000.
We missed the giant animals, the huge cafe, and some other stuff. This one gives the idea though, the place is really enormous - an entire city block. The bumper stickers were free, which is cool, but we never did get to the famous free ice water or 5 cent coffee. According to the corny history of the place that was the big selling point when they built it back in the day. Everybody who worked there was young, European, and friendly. It was kinda funny thinking of a bunch of European kids partying in a small town in South Dakota. I guess they came here to work and such, which is pretty neat. I'd do that.

On from here we went to Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park, which included buffalo surrounding the car. But you'll have to tune into the next episode for that one.



Color Lights
Originally uploaded by ??????.
So I was thinking how we have to put all of our electronics to sleep now - the iPod, cell phone, electric razor, laptop, and so on recharge at night just like we do. My room is full of little colored lights at night - red, green, orange, yellow. Sometimes it's sort of neat looking, but it also makes me think of how much we rely on batteries and electricity, often for stuff we never used to - phones, razors and toothdbrushes, for example. I wonder if that'll be some kind of movement - unplugging yourself.


so here's my new concert list. not much going on really.

Wed Jan 03 The Nunchucks, Five Four, The Faboulous Funky, Once Okay Twice $ 8 - DC9 - my ex roomie is in Five Four, and Nunchucks sounds like a funny name

THUR JAN 4- VCR, THE POINTS $7 backstage 9:00 - Black Cat - VCR is a Richmond band I hear good things about

SAT. JAN. 20 The Dears w/ Annuals $15.00 - 930 Club - the Dears are a cool moody Canadian band. i saw them in Philly, good stuff

FRI MAR 16- SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM, SECRET CHIEFS 3 $13 mainstage 9:00 - Black Cat - great band name

SUN APR 1- DO MAKE SAY THINK $10 backstage 9:00 - Black Cat - mellow


so here's something useful for those of us flying home for the holidays:

this dude is awesome


Robbers on High Street playing on thurs

Robbers on High Street
Originally uploaded by slambang.
so the guy in the previous post apologized here and at the DCist post, which was cool of him.

But I also learned that Robbers on High Street are playing Thursday at the Rock and Roll Hotel, I like them. They're pretty straight forward, solid indie rock, a little like Spoon I suppose. Just well done rock songs. I've seen them a bunch of times. they're playing with Office, who are getting some hype, but have the worst name, because it's impossible to Google.

The new Robbers on High Street stuff is good, and I have all the old stuff, which is also good.


so i saw this on DCist, which really pissed me off. This band, Norfolk & Western, were playing at DC9. I was thinking of going, but thankfully couldn't, because they seem like a bunch of morons. Here's the quote from their tour diary
Washington DC proved to be a less pleasant experience for all of us. DC is not the safest city in the world to begin with, and according to my sources, the club we played at was located in a particularly bad area. The guy running sound at the club was hands down the worst soundman any of us have ever worked with. He obviously didn’t give a flying fuck about making it sound good and actually alternated between seeming annoyed and laughing at us when we demanded unreasonable things like, oh, turning the microphones on, or turning down the bass. During Corrina’s set, Joe looked like he was either going to kill somebody or cry. After the show, as we were loading out our equipment, our van was surrounded by what I can only assume were six or seven gang members complete with bandanas and masks over their faces. They just stood there, staring at us shoving thousands of dollars worth of equipment into the van piece by piece. A couple of them even leaned up against the van, casually smoking cigarettes. Corrina got pissed off and said, “You guys want some of this shit?” to which one of them replied, “Fuck yeah, I want some of this shit. I’ve got thirty years, bitch.” They didn’t leave, even after all of the gear had been loaded into the van. I’ve never been so happy to leave a city in my life.

The icing on the cake? We got paid twelve dollars for the gig.
Fuck you. First off, "DC is not the safest city to begin with" is bullshit. DC still has the Marion Barry murder capitol reputation with some people, which has been wrong for years. I've lived in DC for 8 years and never had a problem - as I always tell people who say "Oh! Isn't DC dangerous?", the only really dangerous parts are the places you'd never go to. There are muggings and that sort of thing (though I don't think I know anybody who's been mugged), but that happens in most cities. "and according to my sources, the club we played at was located in a particularly bad area" - are you fucking kidding me? I guess a particularly bad area means $800,000 houses, like the ones right around the corner from DC9 on T St (I looked it up on DC's website). Your sources obviously haven't come to DC in 10 years, or are from some college town or something. There are a few dumpy looking places around the club, but that hardly equates to a dangerous neighborhood. Did he expect the club was going to be in the middle of a bunch of hoity toity houses in Georgetown or something? Furthermore, I've been to a lot of shows at DC9 and have never seen any "gang members." I think people always want to say they've been to a dangerous place, like whoever this guy's sources were. This guy needs to get a grip and skip DC next time. I'm not going to see them.


so this video is pretty cool, and the song actually sounds pretty cool - it sounds like an indie band I'd like or something.

you have to click it, even though it looks like it's broken



Originally uploaded by squidpants.
So I went back to Knoxville for Thanksgiving. I live in a pretty rural part of the county outside the city limits and was looking forward to it, as Knoxville has some character and it's good to see the fam and all that. The city's really changing fast, sometimes in good ways, like a lot of new nightlife and shops in the Old City and Market Square downtown, but there are a lot of changes I don't like going on too. One thing I like about the city and its environs is all the typical rural, Southern/Appalachian stuff you see. I drove down this time, and you can tell you're in the rural South when the gas stations start selling kerosene.

I also like all the old barns and rickety houses, like this one above, which are mostly (but not all) abandoned and are still standing. Outside the subdivision where my folks live (which is a pretty average subdivision) there used to be an overgrown old barn in a depression, and sometimes there'd be a horse wandering around the barn, eating the grass or whatever, and I always like to see it when I drove in. However, they flattened the land and put a new, gleaming Food City in its place. There was a country store on a big plot of land across the street from that, which was only a few years old but was pretty authentic, but the folks who owned the store split up the land, so now there's a Honda repair shop and some other generic construction going in. And when I was driving through the little Karns community (which is continually getting more chain stores and fast food), there was always this neat old 2 story building, probably from the 30s, which I used as a landmark. Unfortunately this time I drove through there and it was gone, replaced with a new Walgreens. I could go on and on with examples.

I guess that's progress, and the city and county probably get more tax revenue from a Food City and Walgreens than an old fallen down barn and a two story mom and pop store, but I think all of this stuff is taking away Knoxville's Southern-ness. Most of this stuff might as well be in Omaha or New Jersey or Anywheresville, USA.

Something else similar that's happening around Knoxville is that development is changing the area's geography. One thing I always noticed is that people refer to geographic features a lot, especially in the more rural areas of the county - for example, I live near the Ball Camp community, which is in Hines Valley between Beaver Ridge and Blackoak Ridge, and my uncle and aunt live near House Mountain over towards Corryton. However, as subdivisions and chain stores expand, those sort of things are less noticeable - there's a big subdivision that covers part of Blackoak Ridge now, and I assume that once the ridge is covered, nobody who moves in there is going to know it has a name, it's just the hill the cul-de-sac goes up. In Farragut, which is a more dense suburb, people use only the subdivision names to say where they live - Fox Den, Fort West, Village Green, and other names with no connection to anything, and everybody knows which subdivision is which. Nobody says they live on Sinking Creek or Taliaferro Bend or Canton Hollow because they don't know the names of those places, they're all covered by a mass of interconnected subdivisions.

Knoxville and the surrounding area is more than some barns and old buildings and ridges, but I feel like those are some of the few things left that are unique about the place. I was listening to NPR on the drive back and they said something about how the land defines the people in Appalachia, and I think that's exactly right. It's sort of tough to see the character of the area get taken away a little each time I go back.


so this is the bank I go to. This is absolutely terrible.

(update: sorry for the quietude)


so my homie Edmund just posted this: the greatest blog ever


So lots of people have probably seen this video,it's all over Youtube and such. It starts off with "In the spring of 1999, the Family Learning Channel commissioned animator Don Hertzfeldt to pthe Family Learning Channel rejected all of them upon review, and they were never aired..."

The commercials were never aired because the Family Learning Channel doesn't exist. I guess that's part of the joke, but no matter what you google, "family learning channel -video -nipples -promo -rejected -cartoon -hertzfeldt" for example, you only get links about this video. So that's kind of lame. The Wikipedia page also says it's a fictional network.


so I grew out a mustache for Halloween and I decided to keep it for a few days because it looks ridiculous. I laugh everytime I see myself in the mirror, and I've gotten some funny comments from people: I look like an uncle, their dad, a cop, a pedophile, etc. I've also been noticing mustaches more, even on people I see everyday. It's like a fraternity, the Mustache Fraternity. I'm also feeling a little self-conscious about it, when people look at me I wonder if they're thinking "what a dumb looking mustache." In which case, they're right.


so I was looking at the CDs released this week and saw a band called the Slumber Party Girls. I figured this was a pretty funny name for one of those twee indie girl bands, like Pony Up! or All Girl Summer Fun Band, or maybe an even funnier name for a band with all dudes. But unfortunately it's one of those manufactured teenie-bop pop groups, which makes it one of the lamest, most uncreative band names I can think of. "I want a group to make cheesy, stupid music for girls' slumber parties. I'll call the band the Slumber Party Girls." Why not just call it "The Band For Girls Who Like 'That's So Raven' and 'Lizzie McGuire'"?


My Big Road Trip, Part 2

So I wrote about the first part of my big road trip awhile ago - got a little lazy there. Here's the second part, St. Louis to Omaha.

So after a long and pretty uneventful drive from DC, we stopped in St. Louis, where Adam is from. We were there for a few days and met up with his sister there as well. St. Lou is a pretty nice city, I'd never really spent any time there. The downtown is big, which is always suprising to me after being used to smallish buildings in DC. The inner burbs where Adam's folks live are nice, and were a lot bigger than I would have expected - St. Louis metro area is pretty large, about 3 million. We ran some errands stuff and went to a neat nightlife area, the Loop, which is near Wash U I think. The crowd seemed more relaxed than your usual DC bar crowd, but still seemed like young professionals, so that was cool.

the future
Originally uploaded by sparkles..
Adam and Liz are big Cardinals fans, as are the whole fam, even the grandma, which was kinda funny. Adam said that people tend to stay in St. Louis for their whole lives, so I guess that makes sense. We went to a Cardinals game at the new Busch Stadium, which is a really nice stadium. The view is fantastic (pictured top), you see the Arch and lots of downtown, and the facilities are really nice too. I liked it more than Camden Yards, which is saying a lot. The Cards played the Reds, and I think the home team won.

I left the game early so I could get to the Gateway Arch, which is walkable far from the stadium, both are right downtown. The arch is pretty interesting, you go underground into this dark visitors center and wait in line for awhile until you get close. Then you get in these crazy, tiny little space capsule looking things, five people jammed into them, sitting down. I couldn't sit up straight either, I had to bend my neck over. Then the thing starts going up. At first it goes straight up, but as it gets farther up the arch, it begins to rock back and forth as it goes up each step - kind of like if you were lugging a bag up a flight of steps. The ride is pretty interesting. Here's a picture (left), but it seems smaller than that.

The viewing room
Originally uploaded by glynnish.
The view from the top is actually not that impressive. It's decent, and you are pretty high, but what I liked most is that the floor is still curved (pictured at right) which is pretty neat. You can see down into the stadium and can see a lot of downtown (pictured below), and from the other side you can see across the Mississippi and into Illinois. So I stayed up there for a few minutes hanging out, and there is one neat plaque that says "elevation 620 feet" or some similar number at the apex, so that's cool.

After that, we left for Omaha. The drive was pretty uneventful, and we didn't spend much time in Omaha, as we got in late and left again earling the morning. Seemed like kind of a blah city. Reminded me a lot of Knoxville. I didn't see Conor Oberst or Rilo Kiley anywhere either.

Originally uploaded by Steve and Brooke.
Stay tuned for the next episode on my road trip, full of further adventures, in which we will visit a crazy drug store, get trapped by bison, and other cool stuff.

Here's the first episode, and the next episode (number 3).


so I wrote about the Little Superstar the other day, and just recently found a Wikipedia article about the video, which is pretty funny. It translates the video clip too:

Mother: Hey, hey. What's with the party this early in the morning. Everyone leave, shoo, shoo. (Speaking to Rajinikanth, who's lying on the cot) Why not get some rest, honey. Go ahead and rest.

Rajinikanth: All right (lights up a beedi).

Thavakalai: Boss, give me a beedi.

Rajinikanth: Hey! Little kids shouldn't smoke.

Thavakalai: Brother, I'm ten years older than you, you know. You should give it to me.

Rajinikanth: And if I don't...?

Thavakalai: I'll skin you alive.

Rajinikanth: Here you go.




Originally uploaded by bensmithson.
so I went to see Ratatat last night at the Black Cat and they were fantastic, the best show I've seen in a long time. It's just three guys with a keyboard, guitar and bass (plus a drum machine, fog machine, and light show) and they tore the room apart. The music is entirely instrumental and most of the songs build before exploding into chunky guitar riffs and keyboard blasts. A lot of the first album is repetitive, in a good way, and kind of reminds me of video game music (specifically Castlevania for some reason), and the other songs they played were also really good. I especially like "Crips" and "Wildcat", which is on their myspace page. The music sounded great live too, the extra volume and fuzz and pretty energetic playing made stuff I like really great. The intro to "Seventeen Years" was probably the closest I've seen the Black Cat to going completely crazy.

I like these photos too:


Urban Prairie

Orange House
Originally uploaded by Allan M.
So I was goofing around on Wikipedia and was reading about Detroit. The article has a link to Urban prairie which is when an abandoned city block gets taken over by vegetation and eventually wildlife starts to move it - pheasants, possums, raccoons, and so on. It sounds fascinating and bizarre, that this sort of thing happens in a city.

Detroit seems really interesting because of that, here's this huge city which has half the population it did in 1950, so vast swaths of downtown land are empty - huge, abandoned buildings and blocks where most or all of the houses are burned, knocked down, or completely gone, so they're completely overgrown. I found a really interesting blog post about it too with some great photos. There's also a lot on flickr. It makes me wish I knew somebody up there so I could visit and see the city.


so this video of the dancing Indian (I guess) kid (or midget) is everywhere now. it's awesome. my favorite part is the slow mo walk.

My coworker is from India speaks a similar language and told me what happens. Apparently the guy sitting on the couch is a famous actor, Rajni Kanth, and in the movie his mom doesn't know he smokes. The mom is the lady who comes over and talks to him, so he has to hide his cigarette. Then the mom leaves and he brings the cigarette out. The midget or little person or what have you (who's also famous apparently) sees the cig and wants it, and Rajni tells the midget he has to dance to get it. Then when he finishes dancing, Rajni says he still can't have it because he's too small, and the midget threatens to tell his mom he smokes. Thus the midget gets the cigarette.

The song is pretty rad also, I did some research and it's from a song by MC Miker G & DJ Sven called "Holiday Rap". They were a Dutch rap group and the song sampled Madonna's "Holiday". Here's the video, which is hilariously lame. The part from the movie is about 2/3 of the way through. The rapping sounds a lot like the Sugarhill Gang.

Here's some info about the song, and I love the guy's review of it. And here's the lyrics. Wow. Some guy on YouTube claims that Sven is Mark Madsen's dad, but I think that's BS. Wikipedia says Sven's name is really Sven van Veen. And finally, here's the album.


Electric Six at the Black Cat

Originally uploaded by alexadan.
So I went to see Electric Six at the Black Cat the other day. Here's a review. I should have sent it to DCist but I was lazy.

You have to like a band whose biggest hit starts with the line "Fire in the disco! Fire in the... Taco Bell!" Electric Six, best known for that song, called "Danger! High Voltage!", and for a video of their song "Gay Bar" featuring flying viking kittens is one of those bands that sounds on records like they'd be good live, and they did not disappoint. Lead singer Dick Valentine (maybe an alias, maybe his real name) looked like a sweaty Southern congressman and stood stock-still, which served as a good counterpoint to the pretty ridiculous songs - besides titles like "Gay Bar", "Danger! High Voltage!", and "Dance Commander," one song's chorus was "you owe me money!"

The music, mostly fast-paced garage rock, is funny and a little off-center, but it doesn't cross the line into Weird Al or They Might Be Giants goofiness or shtick - they're pretty deadpan about their shenanigans. Even Valentine's dancing was deadpan, standing stiff-legged while he waved his arms awkwardly up and down, into his chest then out like some kind of flagless semaphore (pictured). The crowd, however, loved it, jiumping and singing along full-voiced to most of the songs.

Valentine (the highlight of the band, as most of the other members played without much showmanship) sings with a strange, vaguely foreign accent, despite being from Detroit. He also sounds almost exactly the same while speaking, like during the group's extended jam/slam poem about the President, who Valentine would call "Booooooosh" after a dramatic pause. A fun show, they're one of those bands that I'd see whenever they come to town, even if I hadn't heard the music much.


so i saw the first episode of that new show "Jericho" the other day, I really liked it. It's about a little town in Kansas after a nuclear bomb goes off somewhere not too far away, the residents aren't too sure where it was or why it happened - are they under attack? And so on. I sort of like that apocalyptic-type stuff, zombie movies, "The Omega Man" and so on, and this is about the same, with some "Lost" thrown in. Being a geography nerd, I noticed some errors, like the bomb going off behind some mountains. It was a pretty creepy image, except there are no mountains in Kansas and you can barely see the Rockies from most of Kansas. When you can see them, they're really small, not like how they were shown. But it was dramatic, so hey. They played some good songs, including a Killers song which sounded a lot like U2, and I usually don't really like the Killers much. Anyway, I'll be watching on wednesday when the next one is on.


so I wish there were something to protect my bananas. Oh wait, there is! The Banana Guard! It says you can even put 6 cream eggs in the Banana Guard - "useful for posting to Australia." Great! I am always posting cream eggs to Australia! The Banana Guard sort of looks like another product, however. No, not a pickle guard.


so it looks like Facebook changed that feed thing. cool. they got a lot of press too, not cool.


so there is a big brouhaha going on over at Facebook. They have a new "feature" called the Facebook feed, which basically says what everyone is doing at all times - adding friends, posting on the wall, joining and leaving groups, etc etc etc. People are going crazy and tons of new groups have started up, like "WHAT THE EFF HAPPENED TO FACEBOOK!" "Facebook feed sucks," "New Facebook is Nobody's Friend, Wayne," "facebook looks shit now" and so on. There's also websites and petitions already.

I didn't like it at first because it filled up the screen and I could care less if my friend added "Driving With Phil (my penguin)" to his favorite activities, but it's also kind of an invasion of privacy. Clearly, this is a social networking site and we're providing all of this information, but I don't really want or need to know where people are posting messages, who added who as a friend, and so on. If that stuff were important, I think my friend would tell me. Somebody joining the "I Like Boobs" group is not really that Earth-shattering. I assume Facebook thinks they're being helpful, joining in on the constant updating feed craze, but I just want to turn it off.

Some people are suggesting it's a publicity stunt, which is not a bad idea considering how Myspace is the big wig of this stuff.

I like this response though, "BREAKING NEWS from the facebook news feed!", where people post stupid updates.
so here's my concert list, mainly so I don't forget what I want to see

TUES SEPT 12- COMEDIANS OF COMEDY (Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Morgan Murphy, Eugene Mirman) $15 mainstage 8:30 (black cat)
WED SEPT 13- BAND OF HORSES, CHAD VANGAALEN, SIMON DAWES $15 mainstage 8:30 (black cat)
THU SEPT 21- Enon, Tokyo Police Club, Neptune 8:30 $10 (warehouse next door)
SAT SEPT 23- ELECTRIC SIX, ABERDEEN CITY, THE BLUE VAN $13 mainstage 9:30 (black cat)
MON SEPT 25- ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI, THE BLOW $13 mainstage 8:30 (black cat)
TUE SEP 26- Yo La Tengo w/ why? $20.00 (930 club)
WED SEPT. 27 Mates Of State plus Starlight Mints $13 7pm doors (state theatre)
THUR SEP 28- THE MOUNTAIN GOATS, CHRISTINE FELLOWS $13 mainstage 8:30 (black cat)
TUES OCT 3- FRENCH KICKS, THE LITTLE ONES, THE ORANGES BAND $13 mainstage 8:30 (black cat)
WED OCT 4- RATATAT, ENVELOPES, PANTHER $12 mainstage 8:30 (black cat)
MON OCT 9- Built to Spill w/ Camper Van Beethoven & Helvetia $20.00 (9:30 club)
TUE OCT 10- Built to Spill w/ Camper Van Beethoven & Helvetia $20.00 (9:30 club)
WED OCT 11- MICHAEL IAN BLACK, MICHAEL SHOWALTER $15 mainstage 8:30 (black cat)
SUN OCT 15- TV On The Radio w/ Grizzly Bear 10pm Doors. $20.00 (9:30 club)
TUE OCT 17- Joan Jett & The Blackhearts w/ Eagles of Death Metal $25.00 (9:30 club)
WED OCT 18- Ben Kweller w/ The Hymns $20.00 (9:30 club)
FRI OCT 20- SUPERSYSTEM, ZOMBI $10 mainstage 9:30 (black cat)
FRI OCT 27- SPANK ROCK, ROD LEE $12 mainstage 9:30 (black cat)
SAT. OCT. 28- Lady Sovereign w/ Young Love Early Show! 5:30pm Doors. $15.00 (9:30 club)
SUN. OCT. 29- The Decemberists w/ Lavender Diamond $25.00 (9:30 club)
MON. OCT. 30- The Decemberists w/ Lavender Diamond $25.00 (9:30 club)
MON Oct 30- MC Chris @ $10.0 / $12.00 9:00P (rock and roll hotel)
WED NOV 1- OXFORD COLLAPSE, CHIN UP CHIN UP $8 backstage 9:00 (black cat)
NOV 23ish - My Morning Jacket (9:30 Club)
Nov 3- The Album Leaf @ $10 / $12 (Rock n Roll Hotel)
WED DEC 6- PERNICE BROTHERS $12 mainstage 9:00 (onsale 9/29) (black cat)


My Big Road Trip, Day 1

click for bigger map
Originally uploaded by squidpants.
So I went on a big road trip to California a little while ago. I'm gonna do a little series here about the trip, so stay tuned.

As you can see by the map, we were driving the northern route, stopping it St. Louis where Adam and Liz are from (my co-travelers, Adam was my roommate after college, and Liz is his sister), then to Omaha for a night, then the Badlands, Rushmore, Custer State Park, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Reno, and finally Berkeley and San Francisco. We went a little different route actually, through Salt Lake City and across the salt flats. Unfortunately I lost my camera in California, so I am going to yoink other people's photos from Flickr and use them to illustrate as best I can.

The first day we got started late (about noon) due to some Star Wars Battlefront 2 videogame action. It was just me and Adam, we were picking up Liz in St. Louis. The plan was to drive straight to St. Louis, about 16 hours, through the long part of Maryland, up to PA for a bit and back down through WV, then through Columbus and Indianapolis. I wasn't expecting anything too interesting on this part of the trip, but I was surprised by Cumberland, MD, which Adam recommended stopping at (for those that know the Adams, this is Adam L from Boston College, not Adam B from GW).

Downtown Cumberland
Originally uploaded by amgrosmark

Cumberland is a pretty nice little town. Not related to the Cumberland Gap, which is in TN/VA, Cumberland used to be the second biggest town in Maryland, and it obviously used to be pretty wealthy, as there are a lot of nice, old buildings. They're pretty tall too, some were 7 or 8 stories - almost DC size. The town was the terminus for the C&O Canal too, which I used to work at in Georgetown. The downtown has a nice pedestrian mall with cafes and art galleries and a neat little museum I stopped in. There's also some pretty impressive buildings, like the courthouse and a big, sort of Italianate bank. The museum also used to be a bank, one of the exhibits is the original bank vault.

There was also some pretty neat geological formations in PA (or maybe WV) along the way. The rest of that leg of the trip was pretty uneventful that I can remember. I was hoping we could stop for chili in Cincinnati, but that was pretty far out of the way. We got to St. Louis about 3 am.

Here's another picture of Cumberland, from dmolsen on Flickr

Here's the next part of my road trip.


so I've been reading a lot of books recently and I've been enjoying it. I read A Confederacy of Dunces about a fat, ridiculous guy in New Orleans, which was funny and had lots of local color. The main guy reminded me of trivia bowl people. I also read Basket Case by Carl Hiassen, a detective story about a newspaper reporter. It was kind of a pot-boiler but a very fun book. I also read The Boys from Brazil about a guy hunting Nazis (I won't spoil the other stuff) which was a little corny. It seemed written to be made into a movie, which it eventually was, but was pretty good. I read Bram Stoker's Dracula too, which was very entertaining. I also discovered that the movie with Johnny Depp, Winona Rider and a topless Monica Bellucci follows the book very closely. Then I read The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, which I really enjoyed. It's a series of stories about people from Earth colonizing Mars. It was really interesting, and far too short - I wanted to keep reading, and I don't even read sci-fi stuff. I also read American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, which was hilarious at first and then pretty horrific and bizarre - it's about a yuppie in 80's New York City who is a killer (no spoiler there, since there's a movie too). The parts about his life are super funny, going to eat, what he wears, his favorite music, etc. The other parts about the killings are crazy and hard to read, but still a good book. And finally I read The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton, typical interesting adventure stuff from Crichton.

Anybody got any recommendations?


so - here's another great video by OK Go


so I like to watch movies. "In the Line of Fire" was on the other day and it made me think how it's interesting that there are so many movies about assassins - assassins fighting other assassins, good guys trying to catch assassins, assassins with pangs of conscience, etc. Based on all the movies about it, it seems like a burgeoning career field. I almost expect to go to the Craigslist jobs section and see executive assistant, assassin, barista... I wonder if there's a special website for assassin jobs, AssassinJobs.com or something? But really, are there that many people who need assassinating? Seems sort of excessive, since half the time the targets in the movies are CEOs and stuff. If your company is doing so poorly that you need to assassinate a competitor's CEO, I think you need to look at your business plan. But then again, I guess movies about IT technicians or some normal job aren't as interesting. "You have to install this printer now, or the President dies!"


so I read that Charles Barkley switched from the Republican Party to the Democrats and is thinking about running for Alabama governor - pretty cool. The Republicans were predictably pissed off:
The head of the state GOP said she has no idea whether Barkley is serious when talking about a future race for governor as a Democrat. "To be governor requires more than a publicity stunt. It requires real leadership," said Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh.

Uh, your name is Twinkle. That basically renders anything you say moot. I'd rather have Governor Charles Barkley than Governor Twinkle.

Plus, Twinkle, can you go one on one against Godzilla? I think not.


so I read on DCist today that the National Zoo is having a vote to name their three new tigers. All of the names are Swahili, which is stupid - tigers don't live in Africa. Lions do, but not tigers. Thus the movie "Lion King," which took place in Africa and was not about tigers. I mean, why not just name them Pedro, Vladimir and Samantha or something completely unrelated? Or pick three Swedish names or three Eskimo names. It's so dumb. You'd think the Zoo would actually try to educate people somehow, rather than fool people into thinking tigers are from Africa. They ought to name them Hindi, Malay or Javanese names, where tigers actually live, and teach people a thing or two. Or give them English names if they don't care to do anything sensible anyway.


so I read about this video of Stereogum the other day, I think it's fantastic - cool song, cool video. It's "Knights of Cydonia" by Muse. It makes me want to go out and buy the CD.


so I've been watching the Tour de France a lot recently, it's interesting stuff - for one thing, they ride literally 2,000 miles in about two weeks, which is crazy. Also, the scenery is beautiful - little villages, castles, huge mountains, churches, etc. Since it's on all day, the commentators talk a lot about the history and little stories and stuff about where they're riding.

There's also a lot of strategy which is pretty interesting. Since the tour is based on time and also by points awarded, whoever finishes first in each stage isn't always the overall first place person - whoever has the best total time is the leader, and gets the yellow jersey that they always talk about on TV. Plus each stage (which last a day each) is divided into different parts, and whoever wins (and finishes second, third and so on) in each part of each stage, called "sprints," gets a certain number of points. So whoever has the most points gets the green jersey, even if they might be way behind in the overall time. So it's strategy - do you go for the yellow jersey, the green, or just try win a stage, which is pretty prestigious in itself? And then, to add to the confusion/interestingness, the people who finish first, second and third at the end of each stage get some time subtracted too, so finishing first might give you a big boost.

And on top of that, there's the polka-dot jersey for the best mountain climber, as the top finishers in the parts of each stage that are climbs get points too. Pretty crazy.

Some other interesting stuff I like is the term "peloton," which is the big mass of riders that ride together to draft off each other and thus conserve energy - I just like the word. There are also lots of motorcycles with cameramen riding on the back photographing the race that swerve in an out of the race, plus various cars - doctors, the team cars with drinks and spare parts and such, and so on. There's also a Team Discovery Channel, which always makes me laugh because it reminds me of the Simpsons episode where the kids were infiltrating Shelbyville - they divided into groups of two and the first two teams came up with cool names like "Omega Team" and "Team Strike Force." Then Martin, the nerd, called his team "Team Discovery Channel."

The teams basically serve as helpers to their best rider, riding in front of him to let him draft, and sometimes they work as a mule, letting their team car catch up with them, then getting bottles of water for their teammates handed to them while still riding, then stuffing all the bottles of water into their shirt. It must be harrowing, and it's pretty interesting to watch. Then they have to ride extra hard to catch up with their team and hand out the stuff.

The doctors are pretty interesting too. They ride in a convertible, and if somebody gets hurt (a bee sting, falls off the bike, whatever) they'll slow down and let the doctor's car catch up, then hang on to the side of the car as it drives along as the doctor does whatever, just like Marty McFly in Back to the Future. Nuts. The TV station keeps track of the riders' heart rate as well, which is interesting.

And the most famous American now in the tour, Floyd Landis, had a hip injury awhile ago. They had surgery on it a couple times and eventually blood flow stopped to the top of his femur, so it died! Basically he's riding with part of a dead bone in his leg, so it just sort of rubs. And he's still doing pretty well. Yow.

Wikipedia has a good (but somewhat confusing) overview OLN, the station that shows it, has a good site too.


so I like the soccer. This is a pretty funny video by some Austrian guys about Zidane's headbutt.

And here's a BBC (I think) clip of a lip-reader figuring out what Materazzi said to Zidane.

so I just saw this article about the Italian soccer player Materazzi, who was head-butted by Zidane in the World Cup final. He says he did insult Zidane (duh) but didn't call him an Islamic terrorist, and claimed not to even know what that is. Come on. I guess he didn't notice September 11 or the London or Madrid bombings. What a dope.


so I've been enjoying the World Cup. What I don't like, however, are articles about how the US doesn't care about soccer and the World Cup is generating only yawns, like this one from Reuters. It seems to me that the World Cup is a lot more popular than it used to be. While it's still damn near impossible finding a soccer jersey (see my odyssey on DCist), it seems that a lot more people are talking about it. Everybody in my office followed the US games, and even some of the other games - people would say "hey, Brazil just scored" and the others paid attention. My dad said he recognized the same thing in Tennessee, and even random people in elevators have talked about it with me if I'm wearing my US jersey. And these are mostly people who hadn't followed soccer at all and knew very little about it before.

But if you're comparing the popularity of soccer in the US to its popularity worldwide, obviously it's going to come up short. Soccer is, and probably will remain, at least the 5th or 6th most popular spectator sport in the US, behind the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, college sports, etc. There's nothing wrong with that - people like multiple sports, and our country is so sports crazy anyway, that still leaves lots of fans to go around. But comparing it to other countries, where soccer is by far the most popular sport, is not fair, I think.

One of the problems I think about soccer breaking into the American mainstream is the language used in the press - it's this weird form of British sports English, where half the time I don't understand what they're even talking about, and the other half of the time it sounds silly - and I like soccer. One of the first things is that countries are plural in these stories "Argentina have not been doing well so far..." etc. In American English, it should be "Argentina has..." just like it's "New York has won many championships" or whatever. And a frequent criticism of the American team is that they lack "passion." What the hell does that mean? They're just zombies out there, robots who have no emotion when playing? That's silly. Other soccer terms are unclear, like "pace" which means speed, "fit" which means healthy or not injured, "class" meaning skill level (kind of), someone "did well to shoot that" or whatever, meaning it was a nice play, "sides" meaning teams, "fixtures" being schedules or something like that, and so on. I much prefer reading about the games on the Washington Post and other American papers than Yahoo's official site, which has all the British-soccerisms. While I know what they mean now, after reading about soccer for years, I can see how it might frustrate casual US fans - you shouldn't have to translate the news about your own team.

There was also a big outcry overseas after coach Bruce Arena called out some of the US players, saying they didn't play well. This is hardly a shocking thing in US sports, but foreign folks were going crazy about it. And there are other subtle differences in attitude about soccer in the US and elsewhere, like Europeans on the Yahoo chat complaining about Americans not having a better team, with comments like "there are 300 million Americans, how can they not field 11 good players?" as if soccer is the number one sport in the US. I also hate when Europeans and Latin Americans complain about Americans calling it "soccer." Sorry, the name "football" was used by our version, and that version was (and still is) a lot more popular than soccer in the US. We're not going to introduce more confusion just because other people call it football. They call basketball "baloncesto" in some Spanish-speaking countries, who cares?


!!! and Lansing-Dreiden

Originally uploaded by squidpants.
so I went to see !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk) and Lansing-Dreiden the other day at the Black Cat. I'd really been looking forward to it, as I really like !!!'s album Louden Up Now, and they're one of those bands that sound like they'd be good live (check out their sound clips.) Lansing-Dreiden I had been liking as well - they're a weird art collective/band who are pretty mysterious - they don't do press and things of that nature. Pitchfork gave them a stupid and terrible review that barely mentioned the music. I meant to write my own review, their CD was interesting, it's basically divided into thirds - 1/3 60s ish garage rock, 1/3 80s new wave, and 1/3 80s electro.

Lansing-Dreiden was strange, however. For one thing it's weird to see a band you've listened to a lot but never seen pictures of before - you sort of make up your own idea of what the band looks like. I pictured the band as two skinny artsy looking guys, when in fact it was about 5 or 6 guys, with two lead singers singing almost everthing simultaneously. Apparently they even change their line-ups when they perform, having different line-ups perform different shows. Which is sort of an interesting idea, questioning the idea of a band. This band was called LD Section II, which I guess means section 2 of the group. I asked one of the singers after the show if they switched line-ups and he didn't really clarify it, he said this album "was a whole different approach" or something, and wouldn't elaborate.

But that being said, they were sort of strange performers. Both the lead singers seemed kind of awkward and tenative, like they hadn't performed very often. The music sounded pretty good, especially the loud guitars, but I wasn't that into the show. (Picture of them below)

lansing-dreiden 3

Then I waited. !!! took forever to get ready, around an hour, which was pretty annoying. The DJ (I didn't even know the Black Cat had a DJ booth) played lots of cool old funk and soul records, but it was still annoying. Eventually they came onstage, the lead singer hobbling over on crutches and saying they were late, hence the delay. However, when they erupted into music, it sounded pretty spectacular.

The first few songs were flat out amazing - they're great, energetic performers and the sound was really good. The lead singer especially was impressive, considering his foot was in a cast, dancing around like a wild man. And they had three and sometimes four percussionists, and you could hear them all, which was pretty crazy. The energy went down a bit as the show went on, and the lead singer admonished the crowd for not dancing, but what can you do, it was a typical DC crowd. It was also extremely loud throughout (I had to put napkins in my ears) and they made a point not to play "Me and Giuliani Down By the Schoolyard," which they called "their hit from three years ago," but that's ok. They were really great and fun, I'd definitely see them again.


so i think I saw Matthew Sweet on 18th Street in Adams Morgan yesterday. Either him or some other similar looking guy who also looked like a rock musician. I saw that Sonic Youth were at the the 930 Club, but none of those guys resemble Matthew Sweet, nor do the guys from Page France, who were at the Black Cat. Weird.


so this is awesome. Barney and Tupac.


so I've been trying to get a USA soccer jersey for awhile now, it's a real pain in the ass. I'm looking for a legit jersey with a number and name on it, preferably Brian McBride or Eddie Pope, but I'll take about anybody except Adu. But no dice.

For one thing, the jerseys with numbers are at least $80 on the US Soccer website, which is expensive. So I turned to eBay to try to get a cheaper one, but most of the ones on there are pretty bad knock-offs or made of flimsy material, and they all ship from Asia, meaning they might not even get here before the World Cup ends. Yahoo and Amazon also didn't have any.

So then I went back to the US soccer website and tried to order one, and they're all out of stock, which is ridiculous. You'd think they'd have a ton on hand, considering the world's biggest sporting event has been coming up for 4 years and the US team is ranked 5th in the world. But no.

So I tried looking at sporting goods stores' websites to see what they had, and it seems like there's some kind of cabal - none of the stores have US jerseys, but every single store has the exact same things, and they're even all organized the same way, with the same categories. It's bizarre. I assume these stores are not all owned by the same company, but who knows. They have jerseys for the team from Porto, Portugal and other European (and Mexican and Brazilian and Turkish) cities, but no US. It's ridiculous. So I'm going to the mall today and try (probably unsuccessfully) to buy a jersey.

It's clear that US Soccer doesn't really care about selling jerseys and getting their name out there if there's only one place to buy them, and they're all sold out. Way to go.


so here's Ye Olde Concert List

Tues June 6 - We Are Wolves, The Roosevelt and the Explorers Club at DC9. This one was noted on DCist, the Explorers Club are one of the bands on Myspace I like, they're super 60s Beach Boys poppy rock stuff, I enjoy it. We Are Wolves are one of those innumerous bands with Wolf in the name, which generally means they're angular and jagged and stuff.

FRI JUNE 9- ! ! ! , LANSING-DREIDEN $13 mainstage 9:30pm Black Cat. This one I'm realy looking forward to. !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk) is indie-funk, if that makes any sense. Hipsters playing funk. Lansing-Dreiden is an art project/band, their CD is basically three parts - 60s garage, 80s post-rock stuff, and electro. I'm surprised they're touring, as they are apparently pretty mysterious and won't appear for interviews and things.

SUN JUNE 11- THE SPINTO BAND, DR DOG, THE LOVELY FEATHERS $10 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat. Spinto Band are catchy, a little bit twee dudes from Nashville, and I saw Dr. Dog awhile ago at DC9, they were good.

Sun June 11, Starlight Mints with Dios Malos and Octopus Project Fletchers (Baltimore) - Starlight Mints are a really catchy band, and Octopus Project are pretty fun too. I love this video by Starlight Mints, hope they play it. Hipster muppets.

Tues June 13, Starlight Mints with Octopus Project North Star (Philly) - ditto. I'd really like to see them, but I don't know if I can get up to Philly or not for that.

WED JUNE 21- HAND-FED BABIES, BOY EATS DRUM MACHINE $7 backstage 9:00 Black Cat. I dunno either band, but Boy Eats Drum Machine is a pretty great name.

SUN JULY 9- CAMERA OBSCURA, GEORGIE JAMES $12 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat. Camera Obscura are Scottish and twee (like Belle and Sebastian), but don't really sound much like Belle and Sebastian - I saw them awhile ago and they were fun. Georgie James is two people from DC I believe, neither of whom are named Georgie James - they're named Laura Burhenn (who is very easy on the eyes) and John Davis (who is not the guy from Superdrag or Korn, but used to be in Q and Not U). I like their stuff on their Myspace page.

SUN JULY 23- DIPLO, CSS, BONDE DO ROLE $13 Adv/ $15 DOS mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
This show is going to be hipster central. Diplo is a DJ/remixer/etc who does the awesome version of Gold Digger, and Bonde Do Role is a Brazilian Baile funk band that's on his record label. Baile funk is a weird Brazilian genre, they take famous songs and mess them up and add Portuguese singing. The first song samples an Alice in Chains song, for example. The hipsters like it but it sort of grates on me.
so I hesitate saying anything is the greatest thing ever, but I think this comes pretty close: GWAR on the Joan Rivers Show. Amazing


so it looks like there is some new spam afoot. Everybody jokes about those emails from the "son of the ex-Prime Minister of Nigeria," who will send you a million dollars of his oil inheritance or whatever if you do whatever it is he says in those emails. Today I got one that's claiming to be from the son of an Iraqi national assemblyman who was killed in a suicide bombing. It's ripped from the headlines! I wonder if soon I'll get one from a rich Darfuri who had to flee or a former New Orleans resident or something else ridiculous like that. They're getting sneakier, those spam scammers!
so I just read that Desmond Dekker, the first international ska superstar, died last week. That's too bad, and it's also too bad that it didn't get more press - he basically put the genre on the map, influenced a ton of people and was probably the second biggest Jamaican artist ever, after Bob Marley. All Music Guide has a good article remembering him with some sound clips. His Myspace page has some songs too, including his biggest hit, "Israelites". AMG also has a good bio. Even the snobs at Pitchfork gave his greatest hits collection a good review.


so the World Cup is coming up soon, I'm looking forward to it. It's a fun sporting event, and one of my favorite memories was the last World Cup. I had just graduated and my job didn't start yet, so I had nothing to do all day. My place was a little studio on the third floor of a townhouse in Dupont and the A/C didn't work too well, so it was hot. The games were on at weird hours and were only on the Spanish channel, so I'd wake up at 6 am to watch the game. I'd sit in my boxers (since it was hot) and drink the Beast or Busch Light or whatever was cheapest and watch the games. It was great.

Does anybody else like soccer? Yahoo has a pretty cool fantasy league for the World Cup, people should sign up (it's free). To join, click here, then click on the "Sign Up" button to create a team. After completing registration, or if you already have a team, go to the "Groups" homepage, then click the "Join Group" line and follow the path to join an existing private group. Then, when prompted, enter the following information:

Group ID#: 19142
Password: soccer


so this video really makes me want to go to Japan. it's so bizarre.


so as astute readers will notice, I have a new template. I got sick of the little space for text and pictures and stuff. Speaking of pictures, I have been amazed by these pictures that some random local news station put up. The pictures are all insane, and there's 100 of them, so it's a lot of time-wasting fun. I like the one of the giant snake who ate an alligator and then exploded (picture 53).

I also liked this, a 115 lb girl (who is pretty cute) who ate an 11 pound cheeseburger. That is crazy.
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
so I was looking at a few things at work and found the website for the University of California's Washington program. I've seen the building before on Rhode Island Ave, it's pretty big. But check out the photo on the front page, it's weird. For one thing, the girl in the red is doing a weird jokey wave thing, but not to the camera, to somebody else. She's cute and all, but I'm sure you get a better picture. The other girls look kind of surprised by the camera, and the girl in lower right almost looks like she was superimposed into the picture, like they copy and pasted her. Strange.


so I've been experimenting with a natural deoderant, by Tom's of Maine (the ones who make toothpaste). I figured I'd try it out, since I'm sure deoderants have all kinds of crazy chemicals, and my usual kind was bothering me a bit. However, it's not working too well. It works ok for a day, but I noticed I got pretty funky after a day or so, which usually didn't happen with my old deoderant. And today I was walking around outside and thought, "hmm, somebody smells. Maybe there's a homeless guy nearby." Then I went upstairs and smelled it again - maybe it was a coworker. Then I smelled it again at my desk and put my nose in my shirt - no, it's me. So I've been sitting with my arms tight at my side since I discovered that. Back to the old chemically deoderants for me!
so I wondered if the post below was a joke, and thanks to Erin, it really is:

"Yes Men pull Halliburton hoax"

It's very well done though, and the scary thing is that it's not that far out of the realm of possibility. Anyway, to make up for it, here's a Wesley Willis video from Youtube.

so I was browsing the internet and saw this: the Survivaball by Halliburton. If it's not a joke (and it sure seems like it) it has got to be the most bizarre thing I've seen in a long time. It's a big ball that you get it and inflates and is supposed to save you from various disasters - fire, flood, riot, whatever. Besides looking ridiculous, the presentation they have for it is absolutely insane and frightening. For one thing, it's titled "Halliburton Solves Global Warming." Not by, you know, finding a renewable energy source or cutting emissions, but by making a big fucking ball to get in and hide. Then it starts out like this:

"The SurvivaBall is designed to protect the corporate manager no matter what Mother Nature throws his or her way," said Fred Wolf, a Halliburton representative who spoke today at the Catastrophic Loss conference held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Amelia Island, Florida. "This technology is the only rational response to abrupt climate change," he said to an attentive and appreciative audience.

I don't know how to start. First off, it's completely pandering to "corporate managers," as if they're so important that they need magical suits to escape. Then the second part - I can think of a few other ways to stop climate change. So can any second grade class that's done a project on Earth Day. Then in the completely insane speech, they talk about how Hurricane Katrina was a good thing:

Sometimes danger presents broad new opportunities. In New Orleans, for example, Katrina pruned the city, removing people from economic black holes and allowing a redevelopment process that's gratifying for all of us. Although real estate values plummeted immediately following the disaster, much commercial real estate is already over its pre-storm values.

What!!? "Removing people"? "Pruning"? What planet did this come from? This has got to win the prize for euphemisms of the year. I mean, let's just go out and prune Detroit while we're at it - just flood the city, kill a bunch of poor people, and rebuild some stuff. That part really makes me think it's a joke, just because it's so ridiculous. The site looks legit, however. I'm scared.

And further pandering to rich people, they compare the Green Zone in Baghdad to expensive gated communities in Los Angeles: "Likewise, secure neighborhoods protect us against the unknown in our own societies - this security checkpoint built after the Rodney King riots protects a community on the edge of Los Angeles." If by "protect" you mean "hide from the poor people in a fortified subdivision."

And then the speech gets to the pictures and videos of the suit (at the bottom of the page with the speech). For one thing, the suit looks so unwieldy and weird. And it has missiles in it! Then check out the "safety card," just like one of those dumb cards they have on airplanes. The drawings are so innocuous but crazy, especially "Drawing Power from an Animal." Apparently you just walk up to "any living creature," grab it, and suck power from it. There's a picture of a deer, but if it's really a disaster, and the corporate manager really needs that power, why not just grab a homeless person? The video of that is especially flabbergasting (it's a big download, but I recommend it). The guy in the suit bounces around and comes up to a cow, then extends some kind of sci-fi like sucker, extracts whatever it is (blood? meat?) from the cow, then happily bounces around through a field of dessicated cow skeletons. I feel like I saw that in one of the Predator or Terminator movies.

Another part of the safety card that caught my eye is the upper right corner: "In difficult conditions, SurvivaBalls can converge to form a managerial aggregate, which then dispenses with unneeded units as neccesary" with a little picture of balls being bounced away from the group. Wouldn't there be somebody in that "unneeded unit?" But then again, I never liked Steve from accounting, let's bounce his ass out of here. He can fend for himself against these marauding black people or whatever it is we're hiding from. After all, the suit has missiles!

The other videos aren't nearly as interesting as "cowsuckerdance.mov." They look like somebody just bought some new 3D movie software and went crazy with it. "Hey honey, look what I just made!" "Uh, that's great dear. A ball bouncing in front an iceberg. Great."

Talk about crazy stuff. And the other odd thing is that there doesn't seem to be anything protecting your face, which is especially weird in the video of the ball floating underwater. The whole thing smacks of 1984 or the bad guys in Mad Max or something. It's so insane that I can hardly believe it.


so I realized I wrote this a long time ago and had it as a draft so it never got posted. No idea if the links still work. Here tis:

so I have been watching the Olympics like crazy. I was into the US women's curling team, because they are cute girls, but I think my interest has shifted to Chandra Crawford, a Canadian cross country skiier. She's cute as well and seemed really cool in the interview, plus she was pretty much unknown and came from nowhere to dominate the competition, winning the gold by a lot, which is pretty neat.

Here's the interview and the medal ceremony. Her interview is at about 4:30 seconds. The race is pretty exciting too.

Here's some pictures
from Yahoo
NBC - picture 5 is the best
Canada's page - the first 5 are of her
Canadian news article



so my pal who is a grad student at Colorado just sent this to me, very funny stuff. Apparently there was a big smoke-out on April 20th (4/20) at the University of Colorado and the campus police were taking pictures of all the kids smoking. Word to the wise: don't smoke pot at big outdoor activities, especially not at a college. The funny thing is they can't identify the guy wearing tie-dye and the guy with the dreads.


so I just read this article - "Americans lacking in geographic literacy." It's about a National Geographic survey that showed people don't much about geography. The survey said 50% of Americans couldn't find Mississippi on a map, 60% couldn't find Iraq, 75% couldn't find Israel, 2/3 thought English was the most widely spoken native language, and on and on. It's ridiculous, as people really don't know much about their world, mainly because geography is not taught in schools. I had been interested in geography my entire life, and couldn't take it until college because none of my schools offered it. And for college, I had to specifically choose a college that had geography, because most places don't have it. It's crazy. I think geography really ought to be taught more often, not just "memorize the state capitals" but more in depth, such as why people live where they are, why certain areas have oil and where those places are, stuff about water resources, why certain ethnic conflicts are caused, and so on. It could even be integrated into a civics or current events class where students learn about what's going on in the world (and use maps a lot).


so I've been getting annoyed with cell phones recently. I'm at a different office for a week, and the lady in the cube next to me has this extremely annoying circus song cell phone ring. Usually she's sitting at her desk, so it's dumb that the ringer is even on, but then when she's not at her desk, she doesn't carry it with her. Because obviously, why carry around a portable phone? Something else that bothers me is people who have the key beep turned on, especially when it's loud. So when they dial somebody, it's "beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep" etc. Can you not see that the numbers are being entered? Are you unsure of how hard your fingers push? Or maybe your fingers are numb, so you can't tell if you're touching the buttons or just open air.

I also don't like it when people call their voicemail on speakerphone. "Please enter your password.. beepbeep beep beepbeeep thank you, you have four new messages, beep beep, hey this is Joe, beep, the message will be erased for 40 days..." Why the need for speakerphone here? I think phones should be able to tell if there is more than 1 person within 10 feet of the phone. If there are, then you can turn on the speaker and do your teleconference or whatever. If not, just pick up the damn phone and rest it on your shoulder like we used to do in the olden days.


so I like to think about cat and dog names. I've been thinking about them a lot recently because my pal got a cat and was asking for names, so I decided to send her some. Mostly I tried to think of stuff that would make me laugh, like Stinky, Killer, Burger, Taco and so on. Then I thought "Fluffy" would be a good name for really hideous cat (or dog) like Sam, the world's ugliest dog, or Killer for a really small and cute cat. My pal didn't like those though, and she named it Juniper Brontosaurus Sassypants Jones. Brontosaurus was one of mine too actually. It got me thinking though, a lot of girls I know give their pets really long names - I wonder why? Cats especially, but some dogs also. Then I was talking with her about names and realized that inanimate objects make hilarious names. Like Phone. It's so stupid. "Hi, this is my dog, Phone." "Your dog's name is Phone??" "Yeah." Or Couch or Soap. Stinky is good too, however. And Et Cetera. And Retard. A dog named Retard. I guess that last one is offensive, but still makes me have to muffle my laughter since I'm at work.
so I was reading DCist.com and there was a review of the Strokes concert at DAR. One of the commenters said he had a story about Julian Casablancas (the lead singer), so I went over to read it. It's very funny and odd, I highly recommend. And it has a cameraphone picture. I like it.


so here's my most recent concert list. some good stuff coming up, especially at the Black Cat.

THURS APR 27, ELF POWER W/ THE INSTRUMENTS W/ IKE 9:00PM $12 Iota. Elf Power are an Elephant 6 band (a group of bands from Athens, GA, who are generally poppy and somewhat psychedlic) who I saw a little while ago at the Warehouse Next Door. they were good. psychedelic, somewhat kooky indie rock

SAT. MAY. 6 PHOENIX $15.00 930 Club
Phoenix is a cool French band, they did some songs on the soundtrack of "Lost in Translation" and such.

FRI MAY 12- PINBACK $15 mainstage 9:30 Black Cat.
Pinback are what is sometimes called laptop indie, which means sort of introspective stuff with some electronic bits, I guess. I think one guy does all the music. It's pretty cool and delicate stuff but a lot of the songs build in intensity. Check out "Fortress" on their myspace page and Lyon from their website.

SUN MAY 14- MICHAEL SHOWALTER, EUGENE MIRMAN, LEO ALLEN $10 Adv/ $12 DOS 8:30 Black Cat. Comedian dudes, Michael Showalter was in the State and Eugene Mirman did the funny video about sex I posted awhile ago

MON MAY 15- PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, GIANT DRAG $13 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
The confident girl supershow. Giant Drag is a cool two-piece, and I have a thing for Annie, the singer and guitarist. They're pretty funny - they have songs like "Kevin is Gay", "My Dick Sux," and "You're Full Of Shit (Check Out My Sweet Riffs)" and on their myspace page, it says "Sounds Like: crap." Plus she starts "Kevin is Gay" by making a sound from Street Fighter 2.

WED MAY 17- MATT COSTA, THE 88 $12 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
I don't know much about either of these guys, but I downloaded a Matt Costa song I liked (here's the link), and the 88 are catchy power pop. Check them out on Myspace. They kinda remind me of OK Go.

THU. MAY. 25 - The Walkmen w/ Mazarin & Nethers $15.00 930 Club - Walkmen are a semi-local band, they used to live in DC. They have some great songs, including "We've been had," which was in a car commercial, and "The Rat," which is fantastic.

FRI JUNE 9- ! ! ! , LANSING-DREIDEN $13 mainstage 9:30 Black Cat. This one I'm realy looking forward to. !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk) is indie-funk, if that makes any sense. Hipsters playing funk. Lansing-Dreiden is a really interesting art project/band, their CD is basically three parts - 60s garage, 80s post-rock stuff, and electro. I'm surprised they're touring, as they are apparently pretty mysterious and won't appear for interviews and things.

SUN JUNE 11- THE SPINTO BAND, DR DOG, THE LOVELY FEATHERS $10 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat. Spinto Band are catchy, a little bit twee dudes from Nashville, and I saw Dr. Dog awhile ago at DC9, they were good.

Sun June 11, Starlight Mints with Dios Malos and Octopus Project Fletchers (Baltimore) - Starlight Mints are a really catchy band, and Octopus Project are pretty fun too. I love this video by Starlight Mints, hope they play it. Hipster muppets.

Sun June 11, Starlight Mints with Octopus Project North Star (Philly) - ditto. Not sure if I want to go to Philly or Baltimire to see em. Probably Philly.

SUN JULY 23- DIPLO, CSS, BONDE DO ROLE $13 Adv/ $15 DOS mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
This show is going to be hipster central. Diplo is a DJ/remixer/etc who does the awesome version of Gold Digger, and Bonde Do Role is a Brazilian Baile funk band that's on his record label. Baile funk is a weird Brazilian genre, they take famous songs and mess them up and add Portuguese singing. The first song samples an Alice in Chains song, for example. The hipsters like it but it sort of grates on me.