Monday, March 31, 2008

I know, I know, stop yelling. I need a computer to update this waste-of-bandwidth. Hopefully that's something that can happen soon.
So I've been watching a lot of TV lately (thank you, NCAA tourney), and I've come to a new rule. I'm not buying anything from companies who think a good ad campaign involves talking babies or small children discussing things wayyy above their paygrades (so to speak). If the product is actually designed for small children (Legos, Barbie, Hello Kitty Island Adventure - reference bonus points time), then yes, feel free. But I don't want to watch a group of five year olds talking about stock options and planning for retirement, because it's just so easy. It's easier than Cute Animals With A Wide Angle Lens (bonus points part 2). I have one exception to the rule, and that's the eTrade ads with the talking baby - "I rented a clown and really underestimated the creepiness." That's good comedy.
Could someone who was alive in the 70's tell me if this was an actual game? I'm convinced this is an elaborate hoax or SNL sketch:

Anyways, I have no real news, so happy Opening Day!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"When masochism's lost its fun..."

Yes, I'm aware I've misquoted the line here, but, eh.

So, spring has sprung, and dumped ten inches of snow on Madison to boot. If I haven't said it already (and yes, I know I have), I'm quite ready for this winter to be over.

Barack Obama has released his NCAA bracket. Call me a cynic, but only a candidate scraping for votes in Pennsylvania picks Pitt to make the Final Four.
Speaking of which, my bracket is officially done for. That's what I get for picking too many underdogs (and the wrong ones, at that), but there's no money involved this year, so I'm not too worried about it. (By the way, I've got Memphis winning it all.)
Back to politics - I'll only say that we've still got a month until the Pennsylvania primary, and all of this down time really forces us to focus on things that don't matter - this is when people like Ferraro and Wright dominate the headlines. Again, it's ridiculous.
I just finished reading Everything Bad is Good For You. It's an interesting read - author Steven Johnson basically argues that today's pop culture is actually making us smarter (whaddya know, I just ripped off the subtitle) - for example, video games are becoming far more intricate (from the simple patterns of PacMan to the sprawling worlds of Zelda), and television is forcing the audience to fill in more of the plot and understand the relationships between characters without actually saying it (see The West Wing and 24). Johnson doesn't argue that books are becoming irrelevant, he just says that society nowadays is too quick to judge the new mass media as "trash" instead of understanding that these new formats are helping us build our brains just as much, which translates to better problem-solving skills in real life.
Okay, so that's it for me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who else seen the leprechaun, say "YEE-AH"

I know I'm a little late to the party on this, but Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We'll celebrate with a couple of appropriately themed videos:

First, a classic:

And probably my favorite Guinness ad of all time:

So, have fun with that. I'm out.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Well, that's that...

For now. Yes, I'm being purposely cryptic. All of it's irrelevant, anyways.
So hola amigos, I know it's been a long time since I rapped at 'cha (time for another round of "Name That Reference" on my blog?), but things have been "busy" (or so I like to tell myself), and I don't have a computer except to borrow Tim's whenever I get a chance to do so. Plus, I've got to be in a specific mood to blog, so, there's your explanation. Take it or leave it.
I'm watching the Selection Sunday show on CBS - which we just realized that we get (we don't have cable yet - add that to the list of things to do before baseball season). But I'm off Thursday afternoon, so the tournament will be on, and I've got to fill out my bracket, even though I haven't paid attention at all this year, so I'll be that guy that wins despite it all.
I've got the day off today, and I've spent it reading, wandering around Madison, and playing Halo 2. Yes, my life is quite exciting.
Speaking of reading, I just finished "The Raw Shark Texts" (really, really odd - I'm not sure if I quite followed it) and "Crimes Against Logic" (short, but really interesting). I'm not really in the mood to give full book reports, but I'd recommend reading the latter while recommending that you pay close, close attention if you choose to read the former.
I walked to the library this afternoon, totally forgetting about the St. Patrick's Day parade on Capitol Square. So that was fun. Just a note to all of you Wisconsin-based St. Patrick's Day revelers - wearing your Brett Favre jersey does not count as wearing "green." Thank you.
So I'm going to pay a little more attention to the brackets, I'll catch up with you kids later.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

From the YouTube description:

"The Leningrad Cowboys is a Finnish rock and roll band famous for its humorous songs and concerts featuring the Soviet Red Army Choir.
Currently, the band has eleven Cowboys and two Leningrad Ladies. The songs, all somewhat influenced by polka and progressive rock, and performed in English, have themes such as 'vodka', 'tractors', 'rockets', and 'Genghis Khan', as well as folkloric Russian songs, rock and roll ballads and covers from bands as diverse as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, all with lots of humour.
The Red Army Choir (Choir Aleksandrov) is a performing ensemble that served as the official army choir of the former Soviet Union's Red Army. The choir consists of a male choir, an orchestra, and a dance ensemble. The songs they perform range from Russian folk tunes to Church hymns, operatic arias and popular music.
In 1991, The Red Army Choir participated in Roger Waters' The Wall concert celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall. They performed an anti-war song "Bring the Boys Back Home".
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Red Army Choir has continued performing, entertaining audiences both inside and outside Russia."

"Real" post after work. And by "real," I mean more videos and links.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

"Train roll on..."

Just to forewarn you, I'm in quite the random mood - so get ready for another long and rambling post!
First things first. I finally saw the Obama music video:

Of course, I appreciate the sentiment...but the whole thing comes off as a little creepy, doesn't it? The whole O-BA-MA chant gets a little too Soviet/Glorious Leader for me. And whoever directed it really should understand that to let Jessica Alba anywhere near the first minute only serves to distract the straight-male-demographic from the message, as the rest of the viewing is spent thinking "When's Jessica Alba coming back?." But all me-being-a-pig aside, conservatives are finding it a little scary, too (link goes to - you have to watch an ad to get access, but the article's worth it). One thing that worries me about a possible Obama presidency (as the article mentions) is that some of his supporters seem to have drunk a little too much of the Kool-Aid, and expect the guy to be a perfect leader, free of mistakes or flaws. Is it possible to be too charismatic, too presidential for one's own good? (Ask Warren Harding.)
Meanwhile, the idiotic joint ticket nonsense continues, and others wonder if all of this infighting just might end up destroying the Democratic Party. Obama took Wyoming tonight, there's Mississippi on Tuesday, and then Pennsylvania almost six weeks later (seriously, for how long do we need to drag this on?) - this one year out of every four in which we begin spring already longing for November. Should be interesting.

I just finished reading The Year of Living Biblically - One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. A++, would read again. (Link goes to Amazon, they'll give you a better description.)

Firefox is seriously dragging its feet, so that's probably a sign that I should be done. Don't forget to get up an hour early tomorrow!

Friday, March 7, 2008

My upstairs neighbors are weird. It's quarter to two in the morning (I can't sleep, so sue me). They just got home (presumably from the bars), and I hear the blender going - like it does about six times a day (no joke).
And now someone's lighting off bottle rockets in the street, so, it's bedtime.
Real post tomorrow (maybe).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Diversionary tactics.

Because I'm procrastinating like whoa (see also: "I think he IS from the future!").

Seriously, the past few days have been incredibly dull - I feel badly even wasting your time by posting this. I've been off of work ('tis the season for people to eat at home, I guess) and therefore spending my time playing xBox, doing the crossword puzzle, and lying on my bedroom floor staring at the ceiling. Tim got me watching "The West Wing," so I've also been doing that.

So, as the current state of my life has become not much more than waiting for my turn to play "Return to Castle Wolfenstein," I'll throw some links your way. (I know you might be saying, "Nate, you used to write about actual things. Hasn't your blog become just another one of those wastes-of-bandwidth in which the 'author' regurgitates the same garbage that every other blog does and blames it on the fact that he's 'feeling uncreative today,' as if there are any days when he actually is creative, and for some reason, feels the need to lie to all three of his regular readers (even though they all know it's just a facade) because he wants them to think that he can actually come up with an original thought once in a while?" The answer is, I never wrote about actual things, and shut up. On we go.)

I don't know why I'm on the mailing list. I don't mean to knock down the little idealism that could possibly be left in this world, but Bush and Cheney will never be impeached. Not that I don't believe they deserve to be, but our year-old Democratic-majority Congress seems to be missing a backbone. They're taking the Gerald Ford it-won't-be-good-for-the-country approach and saying "Good job on electing a Democratic majority! believed us when we said we'd change things? Um...about that...LOOK OVER THERE!" And we, the gullible voters of America, look in the direction of Nancy Pelosi's bony outstretched index finger, while she and the rest of the Dems run the other way.
Anyways, I was saying. Something about impeachment. Oh yeah! Bush and Cheney haven't been impeached, but the town of Brattleboro, Vermont has passed a resolution calling for their arrest should they ever step foot inside the city limits. (If there's any way for a town of 8,300 people to make world headlines/money, this could be it, but my cynicism digresses...). From
the email:

"...Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities and shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and prosecute or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them?" The people of Brattleboro answered, "yes!"

The indictment means that Bush and Cheney can be arrested for criminal acts should they ever enter Brattleboro. The indictment would go into effect after Bush and Cheney leave office.

The Brattleboro resolution is becoming a powerful organizing model for cities and towns around the country. The impeachment movement has sunk deep roots throughout this country. The people of the United States are demanding not only that the Constitution be restored, but that the President, Vice President and other officials be held accountable for committing high crimes and misdemeanors.

The Brattleboro resolution shows that even where Congressional representatives are refusing to follow the majority sentiment demanding impeachment, that the people themselves can take action."

I don't know, I suppose it's a start - I've never been a big fan of symbolic actions, though.

Speaking of politics, most of you who aren't brain dead know that Hillary Clinton was the big winner in the primaries last night. Obama did take the aforementioned Vermont and is projected to clean up huge in the Texas caucus, so that's nice. So last night was my couch-and-politics party, which is exactly what it sounds like - me sitting on the couch, watching the West Wing, and checking the scores every five minutes.

You can thank those crazy Belgians (via Ms. Kimberly Pike) for this one:
Dinner in the Sky, which you might fancy if you've got an extra ten thousand or so euros just burning a hole in your pocket. Oh yeah, it helps to be okay with heights, as your table is suspended 50 meters in the air:


More pictures on the website, and that's all my rambling for now.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My brain is turning to mush.

Hey kids, I just wanted to take a minute and share with you a couple of things that've been cracking me up lately, because it's Sunday and there's really nothing in my life worth writing about.

Stuff White People Like is a fantasically hilarious blog that's just what it sounds like - a daily discussion on things white people like, from public radio ("After Craig listens to people like Amy Goodman and David Sedaris, he feels like he is an expert on the issues that they talk about like polygamy in third world or how awesome it is to watch an old lady pick apples.") to breakfast places ("To a white person, there is no better way to spend a saturday morning than to get up late, around 9:30 and pile into your Audi or Volvo and drive to one of these little places and eat breakfast with friends. Often times these breakfasts last for an hour or more (hence the long lines and wait times).") So, go ahead and check that out.

And an interesting article, from the Billings Gazette via Fark, recapping a speech by Dr. Terry Housinger, wondering which famous assassination victims could've been saved if we'd known the things we do now about modern medicine.

Guess I'd better go do something productive.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Just checked out the Sitemeter - visits to this blog yesterday quadrupled from the normal number of visits in a day - I had about 40 just from frustrated NYT crossword-ers. And hey, I'm not one to judge - I'm pretty good with words, synonyms, definitions, and things like that, but once we hit arcane classical literature - hellllooo, Google!

Worst parents in the world? These people make their kid think he's getting an xBox 360 for Christmas...and then LAUGH at him when he cries about it.

And Lewis Black, on everyone's favorite Republican:

I'm out.