Secret Santa in Japanese

so my coworker got me one of these for our office Secret Santa thing. Man, Japan is such a strange country.


Clothes drive me crazy

so clothes drive me crazy -- not wearing them, but the sizes. I asked for some pants for Christmas, and I got a few pair from my parents. My mom asked me if the 34" waist ones I have still fit, and I said yes, because they fit perfectly. So mom got me a couple that are 34" and a couple that are 35". Some of them work, some are super tight, and some (even the 35s) I can't even button.

What the hell? An inch is an inch! Everybody uses the same measuring tape! It's not like you're converting from metric to English, or UK pints vs US pints, or European sizes or something. And then sometimes the same exact type of pants vary greatly based on what color they are. Seriously?

Drives me insane. I'm just going to find one kind that fits and just buy 5 different colors of them and wear them until they fall off. Must suck even worse for women's clothes.


Hot Tub Time Machine

so I've been kind of lax on my ski movie reviews, but this looks amazing:


New Hot Chip video: "One Life Stand"

so there's a new Hot Chip video, for "One Life Stand" off an upcoming album of the same name. It's ok, but I do like their somewhat robotic dance moves. I'm going to copy them next time I'm in the tha club.

Hot Chip - One Life Stand (MySpace Exclusive)

Hot Chip | MySpace Music Videos

There's also another new song out, "Take It In."


I hate pink antibacterial hand soap

so I really don't like the pink antibacterial hand soap they always have in the bathrooms at bars, restaurants, etc. It smells like a combination of gasoline and vomit and it the odor stays on your hands for hours. I can't believe that there isn't a slightly more expensive version that doesn't smell horrible. Unless the terrible stench somehow scares off bacteria or something. No thanks.


Music Jam: Friendly Fires - "Jump in the Pool"

so this jam is "Jump in the Pool" by Friendly Fires, an English band that were on the shortlist for the Mercury Music Prize, a British music award.

The video has some cool parts and some weird parts, like the synchronized swimming and close-ups of the singer and band, respectively. I like the song a lot though, kind of ethereal like M83 with some good and busy drumming. Pitchfork mentioned the song sounding like 10cc in the beginning, which is a pretty funny comparison -- new electro indie stuff to 70s AM soft rock. And the chorus is kind of strange: it's about a pool? But still, good stuff. Their other single "Paris" is a good one too.

They only have one album out so far, and here's their Myspace.


Still Flyin' -- "The Hott Chord is Struck"

so I saw this Ford commercial the other day and was trying to figure out what the song at the end was -- it was good and sounded familiar. For whatever dumb reason, Ford doesn't list songs in their commercials on their website, so I emailed them. After getting a response to write my question again, I finally got an answer they said the name of the song, but not the band. Googling, I found out, it's Still Flyin', a San Francisco indie/jammy collective who I had actually seen twice before, and enjoyed a lot.

Here's the video for the song:

and the Ford commercial:


Violence in sports drives me crazy

so I just read about this: a player for the University Florida football team purposely gouged a Georgia guy in the eye. He got suspended one half of one game, against Vanderbilt, a pretty crummy team, so that's hardly a severe punishment.

That kind of stuff drives me crazy, these guys should get kicked off the team and/or banned from football. There was also a star running back for Oregon who sucker punched a Boise State player after the game and was suspended, but might be reinstated, and Albert Haynesworth for the Titans who stomped on a guy's face, and is still playing.

Now I like football, and it's a rough game. Big hits are OK with me as long as they're legal and serve an actual football purpose. This kind of garbage, however, really makes me mad, and it's insane that they get off so easy.

Here's the Florida video.



so I made this video awhile ago. Enjoy.


Music Jam: Noisettes - "Never Forget You"

so this is a song I've been liking a lot recently: it's called "Never Forget You" by English band the Noisettes. I'm not sure where I heard it, I'm guessing it was at a bar or something because it was on my Shazam iPhone app (the one you use to figure out what a song is.)

Anyway, it's pretty great -- 1960s girl group style with fuzzy guitars, and I can't not like a song where a girl with a great voice wants to skip work and drink whiskey. It makes me imagine sitting in a dark bar early in the day with a good old friend/flame. Good stuff.

Unfortunately the video's sound quality is a little off, but the one on the Myspace song player is better. They also played on Letterman, pretty solid. And their other songs on Myspace are good too, from their album "Wild Young Hearts."


Arnold Schwarznegger's breakfast

so here is Arnold's breakfast. No, really. It's from his Twitter.

This is how I start my day. on Twitpic


Rodrigo y Gabriela

so I saw this on Conan last night, pretty impressive -- it's Rodrigo y Gabriela, a Mexican acoustic guitar duo. Good stuff.


I Watch Every Ski Movie, Episode 1: Hot Dog... The Movie

so this is the first installment of my quest to watch every fictional ski movie. The first of many is Hot Dog... The Movie, I guess in case you got it confused with the food. As far as I can tell, the 1984 movie is one of the older ski comedies out there, and it shows: poofy, fluffy hair, mullets, and trucker caps well before they became ironic or cool again.

Like most ski movies, Hot Dog features lots of gratuitous nudity (it's supposed to be a teen sex comedy) but this one seems a bit seedier for a number of reasons. It also features one of the dumbest ski "sports" I've ever seen. We'll get to that later.

The movie starts with Harkin Banks (actor Patrick Houser, who wasn't in much else) driving across the country to Squaw Valley, California to enter a ski competition. He picks up Sunny, a female hittchiker along the way and they go into a bar with a wet t-shirt contest, then sleep together. This begins the sketchy sex-related stuff in the movie, as Sunny is supposed to be 17 -- apparently that was OK back then.

Eventually they make it to Squaw Valley, where antics ensue. Harkin makes friends with the motley crew of party guys with names like Slasher and Squirrel, as well as older pro Dan O'Callahan, played by David Naughton, who was also in An American Werewolf in London and Makin' It, a TV series based on Saturday Night Fever. They enter the race against bad guy Rudi Garmisch, an Austrian who enters wearing a huge fur coat.

There's also Shannon Tweed, staple of Skinemax movies and now Gene Simmons' wife. She hangs around in a hot tub topless and gets with Harkin, which upsets Sunny. Sunny goes to Garmisch, who gropes her in a sauna with his buddies looking on, and then is implied to have slept with her. Like I said, sketchy stuff happens in this movie.

There's some partying and stuff, with Dan making a drink in a fishbowl-sized glass called a "leg-spreader," which causes a girl to pass out immediately after drinking it, followed by a guy saying "now that's a girl I can take advantage of." Then Harkin and company challenge Garmisch's crew to game of broom hockey, which includes a lot of shenanigans. Eventually the ski competition begins. There's three events, a downhill race, a hot dog competition (aka aerials, doing stunts off a ramp) and ski ballet, which is absolutely the dumbest thing I've ever seen on skis.

Basically, you do ballet (or ice dancing) on skis -- pirouettes, spins, flips, and a bunch of corny flourishes. Apparently they used to do it in the US Freestyle Nationals, but wisely cut it. There's a video below. It's hilarious to see characters in the movie going "yes!" after these ridiculous-looking moves.

Unfortunately for Harkin, the whole competition is rigged, with Rudi Garmisch getting higher scores despite Harkin's superior performance. Garmisch wins, but then Harkin, Dan and crew challenge Garmisch's crew of black-jacketed Austrians to "Chinese downhill," which is apparently supposed to be a crazy highlight. "And now for the rules of the International, Chinese downhill: there are none." The beginning of the race shows guys with weapons, rockets, and all kinds of crazy crap, but eventually it's just Harkin vs Rudi. Harkin takes a totally extreme jump and wins. Hooray.

If it weren't for the creepy parts, this would be a pretty funny throwback type movie. There's really nobody famous in it, other than Tweed and Naughton, and the partying antics are kind of amusing. It's hard to rate these things, because they're all kind of lame, but I probably wouldn't watch it again.

And finally, here's the trailer, and a video of the ski ballet, which was later renamed acroski. This is a woman, but the guys in the movie did the exact same moves. Just look at this crap.


Drinking games with Germans

so I like drinking games -- they are inherently funny. The other day I was at Wonderland, my neighborhood bar, and they had Oktoberfest specials going on in the outdoor patio area - $1 pretzels, big steins of Paulaner and Spaten and Hofbrau. I was hanging out with a couple of buddies and sitting next to us were two German guys, who said they came by because the beergarden (or biergarten if you want to be exact) which had long wooden tables, was the most accurate they'd seen in DC.

They were pretty nice guys; we talked about soccer and stuff and my buddy, who had already had a few, challenged one of them to a drinking game. Originally my buddy proposed drinking a glass of whiskey versus the German guy drinking a glass of beer, but thankfully they didn't do that.

Instead, the German guy suggested a game where my buddy would do two shots of whiskey and the German would drink two pint glasses of beer. He said he'd drink one of the glasses first, and then my buddy could start drinking his shots, and whoever finished first won. The prize was "one American dollar." The only rule was my buddy couldn't touch the German guy's glass and vice versa. I told the German guy he was going to lose, unless he could do some kind of Man Show-type pounding a whole beer in seconds, but he didn't seem worried.

So the game began. Since there was no time limit, the German guy took his time drinking the first beer. Then he finished it, said ok, go! and took his glass and slammed over one of my buddy's shot glasses, covering it. Unfortunately, it fell over, spilling part of the shot, and then my buddy did the shots and won.

It was pretty funny though, because since the rule was you can't touch the glass, it would have been impossible to take the shot if it hadn't fell over. Pretty clever, German drinking game guy! Good times were had by all, and my buddy won one American dollar.


Music Jam: Theatre of Disco

so I found this band from a mixtape my buddy made awhile ago -- Theatre of Disco is an electronic group from Australia. What is it with Australia and good electronic music? Cut Copy, The Presets, Avalanches, etc etc.

Anyway, the trio of Theatre of Disco don't really have a sound I can nail down -- it's mostly dancey electronic rock, or maybe rocky electronica. Sometimes it's a bit like Calvin Harris, LCD Soundsystem, Fujiya & Miyagi, or Cut Copy's more driving songs. "On the Train" was the first one I heard, it's a rolling ditty with funny, did-I-just-hear that lyrics like "everybody on the train got herpres, they've got STDs." "Oke" is another good rock song, while "Larry" and "Go Fifi" are more techno-ish dance songs. It's all good stuff.

Here's their Myspace, and below is a video of the band and friends dancing in Tokyo to "Oke." They also have an EP out.


Washington Nationals drinking game

so I wrote up a drinking game for The Onion that you can play while watching Washington Nationals games on TV. Enjoy.



so apparently, President Obama said, off the record, to Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran that he thought Kanye West was a jackass after his outburst at the VMAs. And apparently (link here) Moran then Twittered about it. However, that isn't on Moran's twitter feed anymore, so he must have deleted it, as Politico reports.

Now to me, the main problem with this is not that the President thinks Kanye West is a jackass, but that Moran twittered off-the-record stuff. ABC said it was a mistake, so maybe it was honest. I would guess that Obama's remark was in response to some question about West, since both are from Chicago and all. But in any case, I think Obama's right, Kanye is a jackass, and I have no problem with Obama having an opinion about this kind of thing. I doubt he watched the VMAs, but the President being up on current pop culture events is cool with me.



so I hear the President is giving a speech to America's schoolkids. Apparently that's a bad thing, as a bunch of folks are complaining about it. Honestly, it seems like people will oppose anything Barack Obama does. Here's what the President says the speech will be about:
"I'm going to be making a big speech to young people all across the country about the importance of education; about the importance of staying in school; how we want to improve our education system and why it’s so important for the country. So I hope everybody tunes in."
The Department of Education is circulating lesson plans to schools with questions and such:
The guide for pre-K through grade 6 suggests questions students think about during the speech, such as "What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do?"

The plan for grades 7-12 includes a "guided discussion," with suggested topics: "What resonated with you from President Obama's speech? What is President Obama inspiring you to do?"
The Cato Institute responds by saying
"It's one thing for a president to encourage all kids to work hard and stay in school – that's a reasonable use of the bully pulpit. It's another thing entirely, however, to have the U.S. Department of Education send detailed instructions to public schools nationwide on how to glorify the president and the presidency, and push them to drive social change."
Honestly? It sounds to me like they're asking about listening comphrehension -- what is he saying?

It's ludicrous. People need to take a step back and think for once, instead of this bizarre knee-jerk reaction to everything. This kind of garbage drives me insane and I think it's damaging the country.



so this is amazing. Pants called Winkers.

via DCeiver


The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of Understatement

so I stumbled upon this the other day -- it's a British band called The Last Shadow Puppets, made up of a guy from Arctic Monkeys, a guy from Simian Mobile Disco and a guy from a band called the Rascals (not the ones from the 1960s).

Anyway, the album is pretty good, and you can listen to it on Pitchfork, though their review is, as usual, pretty inscrutable. It's a 1960s-sounding "baroque pop" record, i.e. lush instrumentation and such, and it reminds me of the Coral, who have a similar sound. Take a listen! The song features Owen Pallett from Final Fantasy and Arcade Fire.


I am going to watch every (fictional) movie about skiing

so I have a goal: to try to watch every (fiction) movie about skiing. The movies are all about the same: some wild and crazy party guys have to save the mountain/win a contest against some jerks/rich guys who want to make the mountain lame/not party. There are rarely any famous actors in them, a lot of hijinx ensue, some girls take their tops off, and the good guys win. And probably like many guys my age, I have fond memories of ski movies as they usually have boobs and used to be on Showtime and Skinemax all the time, which is a plus when you're a 13-year old boy. Looking back, a lot of the clothes are pretty hilarious too, like skin-tight multi-colored neon from head to toe.

Plus, to me, skiing is inherently corny. I enjoy skiing and have been many times, but it's hard to show skiing highlights in a movie without it looking cheesy. It's rarely thrilling or exciting, although they always shoot it so you're supposed to think it's TOTALLY EXTREME! when generally it's just goofy. It's kind of an unusual sport too, as you basically have to go to a town that exists solely for skiing, and there's a certain culture with that: everybody works in some job related to skiing, people wear generally the same clothes, there's lots of rich people, and so on. There's no towns devoted only to say baseball or basketball, not even college towns. There was a South Park episode about ski movies, but I can't remember if I've seen it -- it might have inspired this quest.

I thought it quest would be pretty easy -- how many skiing movies could there be? I thought I had them all on my queue: Ski Patrol, Ski School, Aspen Extreme, Hot Dog. However, after searching Blockbuster.com, which is what I use to rent movies, I discovered there are actually a ton, maybe 20-30 (including Better Off Dead, which people actually like non-ironically). So it's going to be tough. I've already seen about 5, but there's a lot to go. I'm saving Better Off Dead until last (or near the last, since I may find more).

I also decided to include snowboarding movies, since they're basically the same thing. There are also some action movies about skiing, like the one whose name I forget where the guys have to do all these extreme sports (skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing, etc) to stop the bad guys. I'll probably include those ones. And movies that have skiing in them but aren't about skiing, like Dumb and Dumber, don't count. No documentaries either. Here's my list so far:

Ski Patrol, Ski School, Ski School 2, Aspen Extreme, Hot Dog... The Movie, Ski Trippin', Ski Wolf (seriously, it's about a werewolf at a ski resort), Ski Troop Attack, Christmas in the Clouds, Copper Mountain (starring Jim Carrey), Gran Slalom, Icy Spiders, The Ski Trip, Snowball Express, Snowbeast, both Snowballin' and Snowballing, etc etc.

Needless to say, I'm going to watch some shitty movies. And I will write reviews here.


Rant Time: Twittering

so it's rant time. A Bollywood star was held for hours at Newark airport, apparently because of his name. That's bad, obviously, and it shouldn't happen. He had to call the Indian Consulate to get them to vouch for him. He had just done some filming in the US on a movie called "My Name is Khan" about racial profiling against Muslims.

However, what made me mad was the response mentioned in the news article from another Bollywood actress, Priyanka Chopra: "Shocking,disturbing n downright disgraceful.Its such behavior that fuels hatred n racism.SRK's a world figure for Gods sake.GET REAL!!" Yes, it's shocking and unfortunate, but this guy is not a world figure. I've never heard of him. Get real? That Americans don't know a Bollywood star famous for mainly Hindi movies in India?

Obviously this sort of racial profiling is bad, but who knows the whole story? I don't and Priyanka Chopra doesn't. I guess Twitter is sort of a way to respond instantly, but sometimes you need to wait. Maybe he had the same name as somebody on the terror watch list, or maybe he was doing something to arouse suspicion. Then again, maybe it was just a dumb guard who saw the name "Khan," which is what Khan said. Nobody knows, for God's sake. The end.



so I went to Houston last year for my buddy's wedding, and I took a bunch of videos. I finally put them together:


Asher Roth is a genius

so I heard about this song "I Love College" by Asher Roth, and I listened to it. The guy is a genius.

Not because the song is good, but because of what it is: a collection of all the supposed best things about college - partying, drinking, girls, and funny stuff. It's like if you put Animal House, PCU, Old School, Road Trip, Van Wilder, and all the other college movies together in a blender, and that resulting smoothie was a song. Everything is so basic and obvious-- you've seen all before, yet I just know college kids will be screaming it at bars, frats, and parties for years. It's a pretty big demographic with a lot of money, and he pretty much hits everything they do or hope to do. It's kind of an aspirational song - college kids hope their lives are like this.

Congrats, man, you are probably rich.

Here's his Myspace.


Thunderheist - "Jerk It"

so I got this in a press release, but it's pretty awesome. The song sounds a bit like Missy Elliott/Timbaland, but more of a hipster dance club version, which is a pretty good combo if you ask me. The group is a from Canada, with a singer named Isis and a beat maker named Graham Zilla. Anyway, the song is pretty awesome, and the video is cool too -- weird, plus a hot girl. That's a recipe for a good video to me.

Plus it's kind of a amusingly obvious reference - the song is called "Jerk It" and she's holding a rooster.

Their other stuff is pretty good too.



Or, the Whale - "Datura"

so I got this mp3 in my email the other day, it's from a country-influenced San Francisco band called Or, the Whale. It's a nice, up-tempo ditty, and while the singer's voice takes a little getting used to, once the steel guitar comes in, I'm sold. Plus the song is about datura, aka Jimson weed, a hallucinogenic plant, which is pretty funny. Here's their Myspace. I also like "Call and Response" on there.

Here's their electronic press kit:

Or, The Whale EPK from pete gill on Vimeo.


Sebastien Tellier is awesome

so I'm pretty surprised I haven't written about him before: Sebastien Tellier is a hilarious Frenchman who makes awesome 80s style electronic music with great videos. He kind of looks like a caveman or Jesus and dresses like Miami Vice.

Here's "Divine," which, shockingly, was France's entry into the Eurovision contest in 2008. Not shockingly, it didn't win, because it's actually good.

Sebastien Tellier - Divine from Lucky Number Music on Vimeo.


Sebastien Tellier - Kilometer from Lucky Number Music on Vimeo.

and "Roche"

Sebastien Tellier - Roche from Lucky Number Music on Vimeo.

Here's his website and Myspace. American Apparel is selling shirts with him on them too.


Marion Barry

so here's me and Marion Barry. He was a nice guy - happy to take a photo with me, asked me where I was from, etc. He went to college in Knoxville, where I'm from.



so I'm a pretty big soccer fan. I follow DC United a lot, and I'm a very big fan of the US National Team. I might not be the most knowledgeable soccer fan, but I'm pretty strident. Last World Cup, I skipped out on work about lunchtime to watch the US games at the Billy Goat Tavern near work. It was the only place around that had a TV, and even though it was a sterile knockoff of a burger place in Chicago, it had TV and burgers, plus the added bonus of beer.

Give the US performance, however, they were pretty miserable lunches, but still I liked going. I especially liked at work, my DC Government office building, I'd wear a jersey and random folks going to court or the police department or the tax office would ask "hey, how'd we do today?" Random folks who never cared about soccer or American national teams against the world were asking strangers about both. It was pretty cool.

The US plays Brazil tomorrow in the finals of the Confederations Cup, after beating the top team in the world, Spain, in a shocking and decisive 2-0 win.

It'll be a huge game, but whatever happens, at least our players have last names.


Major Lazer - "Zumbie"

so this is pretty cool - it's the video for "Zumbie" by Major Lazer, starring Andy Milonakis.

Major Lazer is a project by DJs Diplo and Switch, and he's a cartoon character with a funny fictional backstory - he's a Jamaican commando who lost an arm in a secret zombie war in 1984. He was rescued by the U.S. military, who replaced his arm with a laser, and now he flies around on a rocket-powered skateboard fighting monsters and partying a lot. He owns a dance club in Trinidad and makes dancehall and ragga-influenced electronic music sung in Jamaican patois, with help from friends Diplo and Switch. And I interviewed him for DCist!

(Note there are some bad words in the song)

Major Lazer - "Zumbie" ft. Andy Milonakis from Downtown Music on Vimeo.

Here's his Myspace


New Kings of Convenience album coming in September

so Kings of Convenience, a Norwegian band I like a lot, are coming out with a new album in September. To wit, this postcard. Click it for the full version.

Also, Tyskland is Germany. I looked it up.



so I saw the new Conan O'Brien Tonight Show tonight, and it was pretty funny. Still had the same weird humor and he didn't kill the jokes like Jay Leno did. The audience laughter seemed louder, which was weird at first, and Andy was kind of Ed McMahon-ish earlier with the laughter, but as the show went on it was calmer. I might actually watch a network show fairly regularly again, first time in a long time.


CJ Wilson has hilarious facial hair

so I was setting my fantasy baseball team lineup and clicked on the CJ Wilson's profile to see his stats - he's a pitcher for the Rangers.

And look at this dude, he looks hilarious. Goofy facial hair and a weird smirk, like he's saying "yeah, my facial hair is sweet. Look at it." He also kind of looks like Paul Rudd. Well done, sir.


More Wikipedia funniness

so this is pretty funny - more Wikipedia hilarity. The page for my state senator, Tim Burchett, was edited to add this:
It is believed that Sen. Burchett controls a small band of pirates on The Tennessee River for the purpose of promoting his upcoming mayoral campaign in Knox County. It is believed that Burchett's wife married him for his impeccable sense of style, however it is actually because the couple are avid cryptozoologists. Once retired, the couple plans to divide their time between cryptozoology and ufology, another one of their passions.
It got taken out, however.

Previously, Burchett was best known for sponsoring a bill that made eating road kill legal. No joke.


New Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse album streaming on NPR

so this is pretty cool -- there's a new album by Danger Mouse (half of Gnarls Barkley) and Mark Linklous from Sparklehorse, plus all these guys:

James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, David Lynch, and Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Gerbils.

Here's the stream from NPR.

And David Lynch is taking photos for the album.


Win tickets to see an advance screening of Terminator Salvation

so on my Columbia Heights blog, I have a contest to win tickets to see an advance screening of Terminator Salvation, the fourth Terminator movie. Go check it out!


Texts from Last Night

so everybody's talking about this blog, Texts from Last Night, where people send in last night's drunk texts and they get posted, and hilarity ensues. A lot of people like the site, but I'm gonna vote no.

Some are legitimately funny, some drunk mistake or fumbling pickup line:

(508): hdsncx Gizmo asnqw toilet blanasdi
(214): ok, stay where you are, be there soon


(815): Why did you send me a picture of a dick?
(630): It was an accident sry. Not mine tho.

But a lot are just people bragging about how crazy their night was or thinking they're funny, and thus, are not funny. For example:

(505): You should really figure out how to get me a picture that will pop up on my phone when you call
(720): Just upload a picture of Bea Arthur. That's what my soul looks like these days


(847): I think it's safe to say that I made out with the entire msu campus this weekend

It's not checkouthowfunnyiam.com or lookhowcrazymynightwas.com, it's textsfromlastnight. It has the potential to be funny, but so far, there's a lot of chaff.



so, wow. Just wow.

She's totally high... on life.



Racewalking on steroids

So apparently an Olympic racewalker got busted for doing banned substances. As if racewalking weren't embarassing enough.


Rep. Barton and the Energy secretary

so this is a pretty bizarre video. Congressman Barton from Texas is asking a question to energy secretary Steven Chu.

I don't get it. It's almost like Barton is acting stupid to get Chu to seem stupid. Is Barton is trying to stump Chu or look like a funny guy or something? It doesn't make any sense. Since when is "how does oil get to Alaska" a good question to ask the energy secretary?

Or maybe it was a roundabout way to try to debunk global warming - "well, it used to be warmer in Alaska, because plants and animals were there, and they died and eventually became oil, so thus global warming is bogus." Is that what he's going for? I am so confused.


Army Navy - "Saints"

so this is a pretty good jam: Los Angeles indie pop band Army Navy with "Saints."

ARMY NAVY - "SAINTS" from the hassle on Vimeo.

They also do a pretty good power pop cover of "Right Back Where We Started From" by Maxine Nightingale. They have a self-titled album out now.

Here's their Myspace


Best spam ever?

so I got this in my Gmail today - I don't know if it's spam or if the person sent it to the wrong email address (which happens pretty often with me). Anyway, it's pretty great. It's from an Italian domain.
Hi, my lovable, but forbidden fruit.
This is my e-mail.

Goodnight. I'll try not to dream about You.
I'll try to behave. It's not so easy some time. I don't know how many times I was almost to kiss You tonight.
But tis is not how a good guy should behave.

Goodnight... Ciao
(Italian man's first name redacted)
UPDATE: now that I look at it, I think it's real, as he sent it to another address similar to mine at Yahoo. Europeans are suave and hilarious!


Yahoo! Buzz and anti-Obama people

so I've noticed something strange recently on Yahoo's news stories -- there's a feature called Yahoo! Buzz, where you click "Buzz Up" on any Yahoo News story and you can comment and rate other people's comments with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

What I noticed is that almost every single comment and rating is anti-Obama, even when the article in question is only tangentially related to Obama. As of today, Obama has a 63% approval rating and rising, with only 26% disapproving, yet seemingly everyone commenting and rating on Yahoo! Buzz stories is anti-Obama and the Democrats.

The anti-Obama comments have huge numbers of thumbs-ups alongside them -- the thumbs up/thumbs down ratings are cumulative ratings, so if there are 50 thumbs up, that means 50 more people voted thumbs up than thumbs down on that particular comment. There are very few pro-Obama comments at all, and the ones that do exist disappear under a huge number of thumbs-downs (if a comment has a negative enough rating it gets hidden). It's a pretty weird phenomenon -- does Yahoo attract conservatives? Do liberals not care enough to vote thumbs up or comment? Is there some concerted effort to make Obama seem less popular?

Most of the comments generally say that the media elected Obama, he's a socialist, he's a dumb bumbler, and various other conspiracies and pot-shots.

Here's a couple examples: an article on Al Franken being in the lead in Minnesota, one on Obama's dog (the first comment being about Chappaquiddick), the recent pirate hostage situation, taxpayers not spending their refunds, and so on. All the Yahoo Buzz responses are extremely anti-Obama.

In doing a little bit of sleuthing, it looks like the people who have the most thumbs-ups on their anti-Obama comments either don't have their Buzz activity public or they've given huge numbers of thumbs-ups without giving a single thumbs down. Here's a couple users from the taxpayers article I linked above: jessi, Noodles, Cogito - more than 1300 thumbs ups between them and not a single thumbs down. Another random anti-Obama person I saw on the Franken article, Informant, has given more than 1000 thumbs-ups and only 7 thumbs-downs. It's pretty bizarre that these folks would read so many comments without seeing one they disagreed with.

The numbers of comments are crazy too: Informant posted nearly 2000 comments while Cogito and Jessi have posted more than 7,000 comments combined -- that's a tremendous amount of comments. And those are just random ones I picked who had the most thumbs-ups on their anti-Obama comments. You can try it yourself and get the same results.

It makes me wonder what's up. Is this a group of extremely motivated Obama opponents? Are people sharing usernames? Is this some strategy from Rush Limbaugh or Fox News or some blogs? Are these thumbs-up links embedded somewhere so people can quickly go through and vote yes? Or maybe they're some kind of bot that votes for anti-Obama comments. I have no idea, but something is fishy.



so I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival the other day, which was nice, and I discovered an awesome drink in the meantime. I've been drinking a lot of those canned and bottled coffee drinks lately, like Muud, the Japanese ones (which are also great) and the Starbucks ones, and I picked a random one up called Caferazzi in a weird box - the same kind that wine comes in now. It's made by a Brazilian company and it's really delicious - sweet, kind of nutty, and cappucino-y. They have a website, but it's in Portuguese, so that's not much help. Anyway, pick it up if you see it.


Sebastien Tellier - "Kilometer"

So this is a pretty cool song by Sebastien Tellier, a Parisian electronic guy. The video is hilarious but is not safe for work, unless your work is OK with you looking at girls scampering around in their underwear. So you are warned.

Sebastien Tellier - Kilometer from Lucky Number Music on Vimeo.

Here's his Myspace for more. Pretty kooky 80s-ish slow jams. I like it.


Lützenkirchen - "3 Tage Wach"

so Lützenkirchen (I had to copy and paste the ü) is an electronic artist from Munich, Germany. I found this video just randomly on Youtube. It's pretty awesome.

Lützenkirchen- 3 Tage wach - MyVideo

There's an English version too, and if the song is translated, then "3 Tage Wach" means "three days awake" and the song is about getting drunk. There's also a pretty awesome 8 minute version in German.

Here's Lützenkirchen's Myspace and his blog.


The Bloody Beetroots - "Warp 1.9"

so this is pretty cool. It's a band I'm not familiar with, The Bloody Beetroots, with vocals by DJ Steve Aoki. The band's from Italy, and the rest of their tracks are similarly noisy and buzzy. They're touring the US now, including April 1 in Baltimore.

WxAxRxP from Francesco Calabrese on Vimeo.


What city is this?

What city is this?
Originally uploaded by squidpants
so what city is this? It's from the Free Triple Score commercial. I like figuring out what places in commercials are. Any ideas?


St. Pat's

so it's St. Patrick's Day. We are having a whiskey party at my house, which is either a great idea or a terrible idea.

Here's a video about a famous leprechaun.

As Stephen Malkmus once said, "Irish folktales scare the shit out of me."



so I think this is the worst music video I've ever seen. Or maybe not worst, but most creepily bizarre.

It looks like they spent about $10 on it, and it's insane. The old guys (who are the band), the baby, the tin-foil covered sun and moon...

And I think they made the video for their other "hit," "The Race" at the same time. What the hell?

Plus according to Wikipedia, the guy with the deep voice is a millionaire industrialist and gambler. And they created the soundtrack for the Andrew Dice Clay movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Which is actually kind of amusing, surprisingly.


Fed-Exing yourself

So a magician claimed he shipped himself in a box from New York to Las Vegas. Sounds like he ripped off MC 900 ft Jesus:

The video was directed by Spike Jonze, who did tons of other cool videos.


We Have Band

so here's a video from a pretty new English group called We Have Band - good name. They're only about a year old, and the song "Oh" is very Euro-sounding with a kind of eerie but interesting lo-fi video.

We Have Band - Oh! (Music Video) from We Have Band on Vimeo.

Here's their Myspace, and the NY Post has a download.


English Headlines

so sometimes my GMail RSS thing shows me headlines about English sports and sometimes they make absolutely no sense. For example: "Creamer beats bug to share Champions lead." What? Who? Bug? Champions?


Let There Be Rock

So this is pretty awesome: it's an old video of AC/DC's "Let There Be Rock."

His facial expressions are the best.


The Bank of Bo Jackson

so apparently Bo Jackson is starting a bank. I'd invest in it, because if they economy is bad, Bo will just weave around and avoid it.



This is terrible

so I discovered this the other day on a crazy and entertaining blog called Smearballs - it's a Canadian boy band called b4-4. Apparently they were popular up there in the early 2000s. And they're orange. Pretty terrible.

They also remind me of the Lee Hotti dudes.



so, here is Snarf.

Snarf is from the Valley of Snarfs, apparently.


Donkey Punch

so I'm a fan of bad movies, and I saw the movie Donkey Punch the other day -- it's this new British thriller that my roommate downloaded. Given the title, you can pretty much guess what happens - a bunchf of attractive young Brits are on a yacht and things go crazy. My buddy made the point that it could be the next Snakes on a Plane - ridiculous death scenes, telegraphed plot, sex, drugs, etc etc, and it's fun to watch in a group. We had a bunch of friends over, drinking, eating popcorn and red vines, goofing on the movie and discussing the donkey punch and the other probably apocryphal sex acts (the dirty sanchez and so on). We made up a game too: everybody was assigned a character and if your character dies, you have to take a shot.

It's a pretty entertaining movie if you like brainless thrillers or can find other ways to keep yourself amused.


Facebook ads have gone crazy

so I keep noticing more and more ridiculous ads on Facebook. They went from the usual attractive girl advertising a dating site to just downright crazy - I saw one of a girl with a see-through shirt advertising something, and this one, which is just crazy - make sure you don't click on it at work: link.

What is this? I really doubt Google would make an ad with a girls boobs standing in as the Os in "Google." And the ad text is weird too. It's getting to be annoying, since I check Facebook at work, and sometimes they aren't the usual ads with the thumbs up and thumbs down, they're big banner ads. Annoying.


My heart boats 4 U

so my pal Robyn sent this to me, it's really entertaining: Cake Wrecks, a blog of messed-up cakes. Hours, or at least minutes, of fun.


Black Joe Lewis wishes you a happy V-Day

so this is pretty awesome - Black Joe Lewis, a bluesy singer from Austin, has a Valentine's ecard for one of his songs. I won't spoil which one it is, so click the link and listen. Good stuff.

Here's his Myspace. I'm enjoying his EP, more on that in a few days.



so this was kind of strange - I got this message from AlertDC, in ALL CAPS:
Sounds bizarrely dire. So I guess watch out for forest fires in Meridian Hill Park, and don't burn your leaves in your front lawn, or something.


Jail Marion Barry

so today I was reading the Express on the bus, and saw an article about how Marion Barry has once again not paid his taxes. The former mayor and current DC Councilmember didn't pay taxes on most of what he earned from 1999 to 2004, but instead of going to jail, the judge said "ok, make sure you pay them next year." He didn't pay them next year, so they gave him three years of probation. And guess what? He didn't pay them in 2007 either.

Federal prosecutors say he hasn't filed on time in 8 of the last 9 years. That's ridiculous -- why is he not in jail? If any other person did this, they'd be facing a huge fine or in jail. Prosecutors want him sent to jail, but they give the judge a way out too - she can have him come into court to explain his actions. And if he doesn't get jail time, prosecutors will request a two-year extension to his probation. What? That's already happened twice, he should go to jail. Ridiculous.

DCist writes about an NBC reporter who talked to him, and Barry claimed not to have heard anything about it. When the reporter offered to show him the complaint, but Barry refuses. I'm so tired of this guy.

Photo by JamesCalder, used under Creative Commons license


Ooga Chaka

so I was looking for the video for "Hooked On a Feeling" by Blue Swede, but I forgot the name of the song. I did a Youtube search for "ooga chaka" and this was the first result. Amazing.


Bill Cunningham is a liar

So I was taking a cab back from a Super Bowl party and the cabbie had the radio on. He was listening to this show by a guy named Bill Cunningham, who I'd never heard of before. He was a pretty conservative host, talking about Obama and Pelosi doing bad stuff, the usual. Then before commercial, he said to this effect: "there's 6 inches of snow on the ground in Washington, DC, how about that global warming, you liberals?!"

Well, Bill is wrong. There are zero inches of snow in Washington, DC, because I live there. Apparently Bill does his show from Cincinnati. There was maybe an inch of snow on Thursday or so, but today it was 65 degrees in DC and the snow is long gone. I've never heard Mr. Cunningham's show before, but it seems like he just makes up crap. Pretty lame.

Here's his Wikipedia. I tried to call his show to tell him he was wrong, but it was constantly busy.


Fujiya & Miyagi

so I've been loving these guys lately. The name sounds like they'd be some twee Japanese pop duo, but it's actually three (formerly two) Englishmen who play really cool electronic rock. They named their band from the Karate Kid character and a synthesizer brand. They claim Krautrock bands as influences, which makes sense, like on "Collarbone," but they're pretty diverse - it's sometimes mellow like American Analog Set, sometimes more hypnotic, sometimes dancey like Hot Chip, and sometimes like a less gloomy Junior Boys. It's just generally good - soft vocals over cool beats, and great videos.

Here's "Ankle Injuries."

I love the part where they repeat the band name.

"Sore Thumb"


"Collarbone" and "Ankle Injuries" are from 2006's Transparent Things and "Sore Thumb" is from 2008's Lightbulbs. And no, not all of the songs are named for body parts. They're playing in DC on Feb 19 at the 9:30 Club.

Here's their Myspace.

Vibrator commercial

so my buddy forwarded me this, it's the commercial my roommate and I saw during "Rambo: First Blood Part 2" on TV. Bizarre.


Datarock in Paris

so this is a pretty cool video: it's Bergen, Norway's Datarock walking around Paris. The song is "I Used to Dance With My Daddy."


Don't read this post at work.

so last night I saw my first ever vibrator ad on TV. My roommate and I were watching Rambo: First Blood Part 2 on AMC, which is a pretty awesome movie if you haven't seen it, though I recommend seeing the first movie beforehand.

It was after midnight, and all of a sudden an ad for a vibrating sex toy for women came on - it was this thing by Trojan that you put on the tip of your finger and it vibrates and also had little plastic hairs on it. There were all these cooing women talking to their girlfriends about it in the ad. It was pretty weird to see a sex toy ad on TV and on a legit network, let alone one showing Rambo. They also had ads for maxi pads and stuff, so maybe they got their demographics messed up. I could see guys buying the sex toy for their girlfriends, but maxi pads, not so much.

Anyway, it got us talking - maybe the US is becoming more like Europe, less puritanical and more open towards sex. I'm fine with that. And it also reminded me of one of the scenes from that movie Euro Trip (which is not bad when it comes to dumb comedies with a lot of boobs). The characters were talking about how much nudity is on European TV, and then there's an ad for peanut butter with two naked lesbians making out. It's pretty funny.

So maybe that commercial is next on AMC, during Not Without My Daughter or How Stella Got Her Groove Back or some other movie that doesn't fit.


so in honor of the first appreciable snowfall in DC, here's a snow-related song. Enjoy.

UPDATE: Warner Music Group took the music out of the video. Thanks a lot, dicks.



so this is an awesome article, via my friend. I want to go to all these places.

Photo by Russell Bates/Ross Parry Agency


Rush Limbaugh

so I wrote about the Inauguration rental bust awhile ago, and how a lot of other folks have written about it too. An AP writer contacted me about it, which is pretty cool, and I spoke to him for awhile about lower-than-expected crowds in DC and how almost no one was able to rent their place - basically, it was all hype. They only used one thing I said, how much we tried to rent our place for -- but I can understand using only that, as they only have limited space.

Then I was looking where the AP article got picked up (some random places, like the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New Zealand Herald) and I found a mention on Rush Limbaugh's site (story #12):
"Andrew Wiseman isn't having much luck, either. He and his roommate were excited about the chance to make a profit by renting out their row house in northwest Washington. They posted an ad in December on Craigslist to see what would happen. At first, they asked for $2,500 a night. With no takers, they have slashed the price to $1,800" a night. Wait a minute, now. They wanted $2,500 a night? Isn't that called evil profiteering? What would the Obama Messiah say of this! That is gouging. I mean, that's worse than Big Oil ever thought about doing! It's speculation and gouging at the same time.
Of course, Rush (or whoever writes for this site) misses the rest of the story, that tons of people all over the DC area were doing the same thing due to a lot of media hype about big money to be made: people including (Republican) Fred Thompson, who made headlines trying to rent out his condo for $30,000.

But anyway, it's pretty cool to get singled out by a dope as big as Rush Limbaugh.


Barack Obama at Ben's Chili Bowl

so Barack Obama was at Ben's Chili Bowl on Saturday. Pretty cool.

Ben's is an old, famous place on U Street in DC. It's pretty great. He's eating with the mayor of DC, Adrian Fenty.


The Inauguration rental bust

so I wrote about the Inauguration rental market disappearing a few days ago on DCist, and now lots of mainstream media types caught on too - the Washington Post, New York Times, UPI, City Paper, and an upcoming AP article (which they interviewed me for, which was pretty cool.)

So in short, the articles about people renting their places out for big bucks during the Inauguration has spawned more articles about people not being able to rent their places out for Inauguration.


New Dan Deacon - "Get Older"

So there's a new album coming out by Dan Deacon, the Baltimore electronic goofball. He's got a sound out now called "Get Older," here it is:

Get Older - Dan Deacon

Pretty kooky. It's got the kitchen sink sound that Deacon usually has, but it's more tinny sounding and noisy than usual, and a bit less catchy. I do like the robot voice and breakdown at about 5 minutes though.

The album is called Bromst and comes out March 24. Here's his Myspace and website, and here's an interview I did with him awhile ago.


Senior Adult Choir

so this is pretty awesome:

Happy New Year.