The [Ninja Turtles] henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

- xkcd

Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday Random 10: Rock Will See Us Through the Weekend

1. C Average - Buckler: It's just what everyone needs, a heavy metal band that loves D&D. It's not bad on the metal side and it's an instrumental which is a +1 and it is apparently an instrumental ode to a small shield, which, I believe, is another +1. So it can have a 6/10.

2. Gorillaz - Every Planet We Reach is Dead: It's a pretty slow song that wouldn't sound too out of place on the last Blur album (except for a lack of guitar). Unfortunately that album wasn't that great 3/10

3. White Stripes - Blue Orchid: This song is awesomeness distilled into 2:37 of pure rock energy. Clanging cymbals, throbbing bass drum, and that miraculous bass tuning of Mr. Jack White. I believe this song takes it to 11.

4. Snuggle Ups - Check It Out: A band out of Portland playing some decent laptop pop 6.5/10.

5. Kent - Things She Said: The English Album from a Swedish band that sounds sort of like Radiohead. It's very much in the mid/late 90's dreamy guitar phase that I still enjoy. 7/10

6. The Zutons - A Long Time Coming: Supplied to me by DontEATNachos, this band is excellent. At first I thought they were a ska band but they are really a straight-up rock band with a tenor sax. It makes every song 1.5x as sexy. This is one of their faster songs and it is quite tasty 7/10

7. The Lovemakers - Is It Alright?: This band is a SF band that seems to have been adopted by Live 105. It's got some decent, dancy tracks but it's not gonna change the musical landscape. 5/10

8. The Ponys - Today: Garage rock band out of Chicago with a dash of Richard Hell. They are excellent live. This song has the vocals a little too prominent for my taste and too little of that glorious dirty tuning of the live act. 5/10

9. The Decemberists - The Bachelor and the Bride: One of the premiere storytelling bands around. Possibly even dipping their toes into the label of troubadour. This song is typical of their whimsical excellence and the lovely, slightly dark tone that most of their songs contain 8/10

10. Grandaddy - OK With My Decay: Laid-back song with some moderately spacey vocals. It's not a bad track but maybe a little long for my personal attention span. 5/10

Mathematical Average: 6.3+
Indie Cred Approximation: 7 (lose points for too new of White Stripes and Lovemakers, but worked in Grandaddy, The Ponys, and The Decemberists)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's me against the Unholy Might of the 3Bulls!

Despite repeated warnings from my parents and all of the animated superstars of my youth, I am about to embark on a journey which will culminate with me coming face-to-face with Pinko Punko. Is he a true Communist sympathizer? Who will gaze more earnestly into Neko Case's eyes (and of course, never stray to other parts of her anatomy -- at least, nothing lower than her vocal cords)? Can the internet really bring together AL and NL baseball fans? How spicy is too spicy?

To prove the glory of the WRN clan, and despite the rapid breeding of the bulls -- I think there are eight of them now -- I shall out-eat, out-drink, and all-around out-carouse the PP and some fool from Canada (who once told me he was GLAD to be Canadian, what folly), not to mention some ringer they are bringing to supply the metaphorical third bull.

What mysteries this evening shall uncover, no one knows? I'll bring the digital camera to hopefully show the glories of the internet. We shall see who has more Cheetos on their internet-heavy fingers. I venture forth into the outside world, in broad daylight, to uncover such details for you, my loyal readers.

Wish me luck and I hope that I return from this event intact.

Oh, and we're going to see The New Pornographers. So I'm sure Pinko will gush at length tomorrow.

UPDATE: I was sadly misinformed about the initial mixture of bulls. The Uncanny one apparently resides in Boston where he roots for some moldy red nylons in their failed attempt to prove last year was not just a salve to demonstrate that the Cubs are undeniably the loseringest losers that walk the earth.

Also, the Thai food was not that spicy. It was tasty, and we did successfully require cattle, waterfowl, and crustaceans to die for our dining pleasure, but not overwhelmingly spicy. They did bring in a 6'6" (2m) ringer but I think we ended at a tie as we ran out of food.

A.C. and Neko successfully rocked the house. Dan the Destroyer was excellent. PP was taking notes and might post the set list, I'll link if he does. Best song of the night: Tie -- Jackie Dressed in Cobras, Star Bodies.

Monday Microbrew Review: Morning After Edition

Beer: (Eye of the Hawk) Select Ale
Brewery: Mendocino Brewing Company

Result: A-/B+

In-Depth: This beer is surprisingly good. I know I've stumbled across their other beer, Red Tail Ale, in the Midwest and I don't recall any fond memories. So I bought this beer with some trepidation. Especially at $8! However, this beer is quite good. It tastes like an ale in the British sense of the word. It's got that amber color and an actual body to it. It is also, apparently 8% alcohol so that Belgians won't turn their nose up at it. In fact, I think a cross between a Belgian beer and an Irish Ale. I would actually buy this again. It manages to taste good alone and complements microwave popcorn. Both of those are quality attributes for a beer that I might stock in my humble domicile. Additionally, I've been planning to go to Mendocino sometime soon and now I will try and tack on a visit to their home and report further.

Note: Further research leads me to the discovery that their brewpub is in Hopland. First off, a brewery in a town called hopland = awesome. Plus the fact that this is California and they have the decency not to drown their beer in hops = double awesome.

Further note: The reason this is a "morning after" post is that I left the laptop at work, not that I was overwhelmed by the excellence of the beer.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Random Shuffle: Party in an Electronic Box Edition

1. Devendra Banhart - Now That I Know: This song (and album) are proof that the Left Coast is getting to me. I would have scoffed at simple, elegant folk music but I can't seem to resist his scratchy vocals and slightly dark lyrics, "And I know it ain't fair / And if God forbid you care / It's enough to get you in a whole lot of trouble." (8/10)
2. The New Pornographers - Broken Breads: Well, this oughta teach me to put this album on my computer. I think they've made it every week since. Although, I think I am slowly coming to agree with Tuning Fork's review/idea that I like them best in a shuffle. It's another gloriously happy Canadian pop song with great AC Newman choruses. 8/10
3. The Wrens - 13 Months in 6 Minutes: As I'm sure I've said before, I really love this band. This song manages to encapsulate college romance and the changes that come afterwards as some people have a plan and some flounder. 9/10
4. Quintron - Place Unknown: It's a fun, slightly bizarre, sort-of electronic song. It is a great song for a party and I like it genreally but on this Friday morning, it only gets a 6/10.
5. Scenario Rock - Schitzo Dancer (Justice Remix): Whatever I just said about Quintron, double it. Twice as fun, twice as weird, twice as electric! 12/10
6. NOFX - 180 Degrees: Power-pop-punk from California that can still bring a smile to my face. However, the best song on this album is definitely Champs Elysees and I just end up wishing that's what I was listening to here. 5/10
7. Caribou - Pelican Narrows: A really good song off of a solid album. The piano/keyboard line always sounds almost out of tune to me, and I that always intrigues me. Then it's got some varied little effects sprinkled throughout the rest. It's a good "cool down" song. Good enough for my Springtime comp and it gets 8.5/10.
8. Throwing Muses - Tango: I like this song and love her voice. Fairly straight-ahead mid-90's alt-rock with the occasional little vocal cadenza too offset. 6/10
9. Boys of Scandinavia - Worse Than a Girl: Apparently I'm supposed to be dancing this morning and no one told me. This song has that disco-groove backbeat over some decent vocals. I love getting the chance to mention the title. 6/10
10. Eleventeen - crestfallen: I got this from It's a Trap because I am a sucker for Scandinavian music. It's a servicable song but I worry the band could veer into Creed/Nickelback territory so they get a pre-emptive 5/10 to try and keep them on the straight and narrow.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Things Not To Do If You Share an Office With Me

Ok, I don't know if this is going to become a regular thing or not. It really depends on the behavior of my co-worker with whom I share an office.

When you share an office or work area with another person there are some general rules that you usually follow. When making personal calls on your cell phone, you leave the office. If you have extra food, you offer it to the person you share the office with. If someone comes looking for you and you're not around your officemate should let you know that someone was looking for you. Things that are just common courtesy.

Something I didn't think I would specifically have to lay out is how it is, um, slightly impolite and quite annoying to trim your fingernails while someone else is sitting in the office with you. Moreover, I would say that you should probably just never trim your fingernails at the office (unless you work somewhere where that is for some strange reason required).

I don't know if it's just me and the fact that I'm not a big fan of finger(or toe)nail clippings and the sound that clippers make but this just seems pretty obvious. Still, I remember once when I was riding the Metra train in Chicago some woman was trimming her fingernails too. That annoyed me as well.

I'll go out on a limb and say that nail files are ok, possibly because they don't make the same piercing clipping noise and also because they don't leave large chunks of fingernail sitting around. Also a bonus, there's no risk of some rogue clipping flying off in my direction with a nail file ... with clippers you never know where it's going to end up.

Ok, so that's the end of this random post. In public areas nail file = ok, nail clippers = bad. That includes common areas (except the bathroom) in living quarters, because finding random finger/toenail pieces around is quite gross. There should be some sort of G.I. Joe PSA about this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Microbrew Review: Tuesday is the Day

Well, unfortunately, Ithink I've just about exhausted the choices of Trader Joe's non-Trader Joe domestic beer with tonight's beer, Mission St. Pale Ale

I imagine they are trying to invoke some semblance of a Mexican beer, since Mission St. is a big Mexican St. in San Francisco. If that is their goal, I have to say they pretty much failed. Of course, I haven't had any lime (or lemon) to augment the beer with so it's partly my fault thus far. I will update this if there are significant changes based on such a try.

That's not to say this is a bad beer. It is a Pale Ale and those usually aren't my favorites (by disposition, I tend to like stouts and ales). However, this seems to compare favorably with Sierra Nevada. I guess it could really just be another California pale ale and that isn't really such a bad thing. I'll compromise and give it a C+

Day of the Ninja

Now that the pesky 'Talk Like A Pirate Day' is past us, we're now free to concentrate on the holiday that really matters most.

Clear and/or mark your calendars because Dec. 5 is the Day of the Ninja. And no, you don't even have to talk like one. You just need to dress in traditional ninja garb and throw shurikens at unsuspecting people.

Ya best start preparing now, lest ye be caught unawares on thar fateful day.
[Sigh ... that talking like a pirate is harder to shake off than it looks]

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Official Pirate Joke?

Let's Go Pirates!
Ok, I got this joke from my GF and I think she was right when calling it "the world's greatest pirate joke." I've since found that it is also a favorite of Ben Folds and many others on the internets. In fact, I believe I might have been the only person not to already know this joke. Oh well.

So, this pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel attached to his crotch.

The barman, being an observant sort, says “Do you know you’ve got a steering wheel attached to your crotch?”

“Arrrr,” says the pirate. “It be drivin’ me nuts.”

Organize Your Own International Talk Like a Pirate Day Celebration

In the event that there are not currently any International Talk Like a Pirate Day festivities in your area, I have decided to include links to some pirate party resources.

If you have friends:

Pirate Party Instructions
More Pirate Party Instructions

Clothing for said Pirate Parties.

Potential results from Pirate Party.
[And no, I do not have any idea who these people are.]

If you don't have friends:

Console yourself with Pirate Candy.
[Please note that Jelly Belly Princess and Peanut Butter and Worms are not acceptable.]

Piratical Theme Music for the Day

I couldn't stop myself, and then Pinko went overboard with this...

And now, since I've just finished my last mix I want to make a Pirate/Nautical CD. This CD would clearly be awesome.

Three songs I imagine to be on it:
The Decemberists - The Mariner's Revenge
British Sea Power - Fear of Drowning
Modest Mouse - Ocean Breathes Salty

OK, so the real challenge of this list is limiting it to *absolute maximum* three songs by The Decemberists. Still, maybe we can come up with something good.


T'ank da most piratical man on the internet, fer he fites wit sea creatures every day!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Come on Cristian Candy!

Per some comments at 3Bulls and one of his (many) disgusting food threads. We realized that gummi versions of religious figures would be another victory for nerds everywhere.

I have since realized that this would reach its most perfect form as a Gummi Buddha. However, this is the closest Mother Nature has been willing to allow on Earth:

On the other hand, religion has inspired these two wonderful pieces:

Stay tuned for a later edition featuring the Bag O' Meat!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Steal from your betters...

mdhatter is back for about three days now and already scoops the best stuff on all seven internets I can access. I tracked it back a little bit farther and the diary is soooooo 1995. Go THERE!

Friday, September 16, 2005

I Need Your Opinion

Ok, I just saw this joke circling the internet and I thought that I was duty-bound to repost it.

Q: How does Bush feel about Roe vs. Wade?

A: He doesn't really care how you get out of New Orleans.

I don't really know if this joke is distasteful but I certainly enjoyed it.

If you've got a problem with it, please let me know in the comments.

Click here for answer

To answer my question, no it's not offensive. Why? Because it's even been posted on CNN now.

Friday shuffle

edit: because some people don't know about the internet craze.

1. Canasta – slow down Chicago: You know it’s a good day when you can start your morning off with this. It’s far and away the best song off an otherwise serviceable EP by a Chicago local band. It’s a little folky, a little rock, and dueling trombones. Way to work in all sorts of Chicago landmarks, kids! 8.5/10
2. The Dead Milkmen – Plumb Dumb: Not the best song off of this album. However, I applaud the band for managing to cheat the shuffle system onto way too many of these lists. So they can have a 5/10 to appease them.
3. The English Beat – Cheated: Ooh, that’s right, let’s keep it in the 80s with some laid back, two-tone ska. A little political awareness, a dash of melody, and an excellent sax player = a successful musical movement (see The Specials for confirmation) 7/10
4. Sufjan Stevens – Let’s Hear that String Part again, Because I Don’t Think They Heard it All the Way Out in Bushnell: The song is done as I finished typing the title. That’s good because that’s about when the joke wears thin. Like the album but the song doesn’t really do anything 2/10
5. The White Stripes – I’m Lonely (But Not That Lonely Yet): It’s a pretty simple song off the new album. I haven’t quite decided what I think about it yet. I’ll give it a 4/10 as a placeholder because it doesn’t really seem to elicit a strong reaction.
6. The Wrens – Boys, You Won’t: I love these guys. They’re great live and the recorded version of this CD is always so soothing despite the fact that the CD encapsulates a lot of painful expressions (note: their live shows require them to play all songs at least 2x as fast) and lets me enjoy the melodies and more delicate connections that get lost in the show, 7.5/10
7. The Capricorns – The New Sound: What was that, you said the New New Wave wasn’t dancy enough? Then listen to this song? Synthy organ over some near-breathless vocals and some drum machine high hat. It cries out for a bass line to turn it into some kind of dance anthem, or really to complete it as a song. Oh well, have a 3.5/10 for the effort and the almost finished song.
8. Son Ambulance – A New Dress for Maybell: It’s alright. I’m not wholly convinced about this stuff (stuff = spare, folky, piano singer/songwriter) yet but I’ve got a few friends who are and they probably know better than I. So I’ll give it a compromise 5.5/10
9. The New Pornographers – Three or Four: There really isn’t a song here that you can’t like. If you don’t know what to think about them, allow me to refer you to the 3 Bulls obsession here, here or here. This song is pretty darn sweet. AC and Neko together are a potent vocal combination. The only downside is I keep thinking they’re going to break into some 80’s cover throughout the song which would be even cooler and more random (double bonus points to anyone who knows which song) It still gets a 8/10
10. The Cells – Silver Clouds: Another Chicago group with some pretty guitar-laden pop (see review here). It’s a decent song and now we end start and end with some Chicago bands. So they get a bonus point to get 7/10.

The somewhat inflated because I’m in a good mood score: 5.6

What you got?

Revolution Steps Into the Ring

Revolution ControllerI'm sorry that this post is going to push the Bush note down a notch but I just felt like I had to comment on this. After months of lame fakes by fanboys and vague statements by spokespeople, Nintendo finally revealed the controller for the Revolution (perhaps still just a code-name), their upcoming game system.

I have to say that I was a little confused at first. Looking at the picture, it's kind of misleading. I mean, it just looks like a remote control. How do you press the different buttons and stuff when you use it. There's this port on the bottom of the remote that allows you to connect in accessories (and get something rather nunchaku-eque). Still, it's hard to see why this weirdly shaped controller would be considered a revolution.

By reading some writeups online, I was able to gleen that the controller has rumble features and is actually tilt sensitve as well--allowing it to tell when you rotate it one way or another. That's pretty cool too, but still no revolution.

Then though, I watched this video.

Holy sweet mother of all that is good and right in the world. I am going to go out and say that this could in fact be a "revolution." I've always been a fan of videogames. I try to play when I have time but as I get older, I find that I have less time and what little time I do have is best spent not sitting in front of the TV and pressing little buttons. The ways this controller allows you to interact with games is limitless though.

Might Nintendo finally have distilled the ideas they put forth back with the original Nintendo Power Glove into a form that will lead to some awesome and innovative games? The Nintendo Revolution just went from the bottom of my list to nearly the top. Well played hand Nintendo, your move Sony and Microsoft.

Note to Sony, Microsoft: copying this controller and making your own would be a good first start.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fighting the Urge

Our (and by 'our' I guess I mean ours ... but I don't really want to) President is at it again. It's almost as if we're letting a small child run our country. Difficulty with reading and spelling, lame nicknaming, made up words, and now an insatiable need for bathroom breaks.

What this really means though, is that we now have another way to have fun with the President (and Photoshop). Join the craze that's sweeping the nation.

I saw this originally from Wonkette and some links from fulsome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The BirdDog speaks reasonably about China??

A normally conservative poster advocates applying political pressure to companies that get sucked into Chinas political maw.

I'll combine the microbrew with some Plato this evening. Maybe even some music.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

All Credit to Brad R.

Sadly, No! had an exciting evening of drunken revelry earlier this week feauring the proud, the bold, Steel Reserve.

I just had a thought this morning that we should use that for those right-wing bloggers that aren't full time enough for the 101st. You know, those that do their weekend a month and two weeks a year of support duty. Use the graphic and the phrase. I don't have the prestige to make this happen but maybe the thought can slowly trickle it's way up to those with blogs other people read.

Friday Musical Revue: Back in the Danger Zone

Let’s pretend it happened on Saturday to balance those bastards at 3 Bulls for their Thursday travesty.

1. The Russian Futurists – Paul Simon: Everybody loves some happy little keyboard synthy music. A nifty little whistle that reminds me a little bit of a Paul Simon song and the lyrics are out of my possession at the moment so I have no idea what the song’s actually about (7/10).
2. Rage Against the Machine + Tool – Know Your Enemy: Wow. Take that Pinko Punko, this is about the ultimate rock (in the "metal" sense) song, Corruption of Conformity and Iron Maiden be damned (9/10)
3. The Darkness – Friday Night: All I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time but that was clearly a mistake (1/10).
4. Beastie Boys – Sabrosa: On Ill Communication, this is an instrumental break that serves a purpose on the album but isn’t terribly interesting on its own (4/10)
5. Pearl Jam – Corduroy (live @ Champaign, 4/23/03): Can’t do this at home without at least one of these popping up. I do like this song alright but it’s nothing spectacular. (5/10)
6. The Hives – Fell in Love with a Girl: Scandinavian happiness! If this doesn’t make you wish that mosh pits were still widely accepted, you’re probably some shoegazer on the West Coast that I’m frickin’ surrounded by at every concert (8/10)
7. The White Stripes – I Can Learn: It’s a little slow and I suppose it’s almost sacrilegious not to like something off of White Blood Cells, but oh well (3/10)
8. Zack de la Rocha & DJ Shadow – March of Death: My brother made me get this song because he’s obsessed with RATM. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, in fact it’s kind of cool (7/10).
9. Pearl Jam – Rearview Mirror (live @ Chicago, 6/18/03): Unlike many PJ fans, this is the part of it that I like. Vs. and Vitology where they were flirting with the more punk aspects of the sound (7/10).
10. The Polyphonic Spree – La La: A fuller sound from their first album. I like them partly from some Tripping Daisy nostalgia and partly because I am a sucker for trying to add instrumentation to indie rock (7/10).

5.8 out of 10

Here’s my Bonus:

PJ Harvey and Bjork – Leaving on a Jet Plane: Eat your heart out! I claim these women in the face of internet nerds everywhere. Super awesomeness.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Taste the Flavor

I just happened to noticed that one of my favorite web comics Savage Chickens has a new comic up that I think is particularly relevant to the beer/alcohol snobbery and pretentiousness of this blog.

Personally, I've always been more of a connoisseur of the carbonated, sweetened and flavored water beverages than those of the alcohol nature. Hoho! Perhaps there is room here for a weekly non-Alcoholic beverage review as well. We will have to see!

p.s. On a side note, there is a Penny Arcade comic that reminds me of some of my interactions with Fulsome. Whenever playing strategy or MMO games, I always make him do the heavy lifting of learning all the rules/intricacy of the game and I then just ask him tons of questions. He seems to like that kind of stuff! Sometimes though, there's a little too much detail.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Phaedo Phailure

Well, neither of us got to it yesterday and I had forgotten how long the thing is. I'll put up a few quick quotes of interest from the class and then try and revisit and expand over the next day or two.

Phaedo is a discussion about whether to embrace or fear the afterlife and becomes a discussion about the soul as well. It has some contradictory advice and it posits that there are things philosophy can't know about and so myths can serve a purpose.

Here's the first quote, "Surely the soul can best reflect when it is free of all distraction such as hearing or sight or pain or pleasure of any kind." (65c).
My response: This quote seems to undermine the very basis of the dialectic Socrates is engaging in here. We should all just go home and reflect. I think dialectic and conversation serves an important service in preventing us from getting too far down blind alleys.

Second quote: "If living things came from other living things, and the living things died, what possible means could prevent their number from being exhausted by death" (72c-d).
My response: Thermodynamics wins in the end. Alternately, breed like rabbits and a little "red queen hypothesis" for some modern biological happenstance. I know I shouldn't hold it against him but, hey, any points I can score against Plato are good.

Third quote, on why we don't want death to be a void, "If death were a release from everything it would be a boon for the wicked, because by dying they would be released not only from the body but also from their own wickedness together with the soul...[but] since the soul is clearly immortal, it can have no escape or security from evil except by becoming as good and wise as it possibly can" (107c-d).
My response: This is a pretty common defense of religion. I don't know that I can really bear to attack it because it does provide a lot of people a lot of incentive. However, there are a lot of available rebuttals, most famously Nietzsche.

Hopefully this whets your appetite and gives some fodder, at least for Chuckles. I presume the other three of you who skip this should at least post on the beauty of Alice Cooper!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Birthday Revelry

As I mentioned in a previous post, it was my birthday recently. While I originally had nothing exciting planned to commemorate this extraordinary event, something serendipitously fell into my lap that very day. The president of my company sent out an email saying that he had two extra tickets for a Cheap Trick/Alice Cooper concert. Stop blinking in disbelief ... that's right THE Alice Cooper and THE Cheap Trick.

Ok, so maybe I'm not gigantic fans of either of those bands. I mean, I don't any of their CD's and besides his cameo in the first Wayne's World movie, I'm not to familiar with Alice Cooper. I've heard Cheap Trick's music before and think I even saw them performing at the Taste of Chicago festival one summer a couple of years ago. But nothing about it stuck particularly in my mind.

Anyway, I was actually just going to let these free tickets pass because I didn't know anyone else who I thought would actually want to go to the concert with me. Again, rather luckily, a friend who works on the other side of the building came by asking me if I'd seen the tickets that were being given away. I told him not to worry, I wasn't going to try for them because I didn't really have anyone who would want to see the show. That's when he told me that he'd already claimed them and was planning on taking his girlfriend but she turned down the show so he was trying to find someone to go. That's when I stepped up and said I'd go with him.

So that day we left a little early from work, headed over to Wolf Trap Theater. We had to meet the president at the front of the theater and get the tickets and then the show was starting at 7 PM. We got there and waited around a bit for him and eventually got the tickets. They were quite good seats. Towards the middle and in row U. I'd assume they count up so that'd be like row 22.

We got in just as Cheap Trick was starting to play. First, let me say that Cheap Trick is getting a little old. These guys, who I am told are from Rockford, IL, certainly have a longevity that is enviable. They were also very good live. The main guitarist played some excellent solos almost effortlessly as he walked around the stage throwing numerous picks to fans in the front rows. The bassist and backup guitarist, bassist, and drummer were all quite good as well. The only negative of the show is that they were still an opening act. While there were certainly a number of fans there to see them, it wasn't nearly the energy level of hate Alice Cooper fans that were cheering later. Also, the equipment for Alice Cooper's show was taking up about half of the stage so they didn't have a whole lot of room to work with. Still, a good performance.

The real heart of the show though, was Alice Cooper. While I'm not too familiar with his songs, I don't think you have to be to enjoy the show. It's a tight set and has lots of theatrics. I was told by the president of my company (who was sitting next to me) that the scantily clad woman who came on stage a few times was actually Alice Cooper's daughter. It's a family show I guess. Anyway, the highlights of the show would be what seemed like a 5 minute drum solo and everyone's favorite Alice Cooper song, School's Out (perhaps ironic because my birthday always seemed to be on or around the first day of school). Anyway, an encore later. We were out of the show and partially deaf. In all, one of the more pleasantly exciting birthdays of recent memory.

Full Article

Monday, September 05, 2005

Microbrew Monday II: Revenge of the Orange

My victim this week:
Bert Grant's Mandarin Hefeweizen from Yakima, WA via Trader Joe's.

I bought it because it's relatively cheap, $4.99 for a six-pack. Unfortunately, it's not without reason. The label says, "a generous helping of cascade hops and infused with the sweet flavor of the juicy mandarin orange," which I should have realized means it's really a girl beer. That means a beer where the fruit taste masks any beer flavor thus allowing girls to drink it and claim they like beer. While useful in some instances, reference Lienenkugel's BerryWeis for you Midwesterner's, this is not an actual beer and if I'd read the fine print I'd have known better. Anything that calls itself a "malt beverage" is really another wine cooler wanna-be. On Chuckles handy scale, I'd rank this at "So long as we keep this between us" because I like wine a little more than he does.

I usually love a Hefeweizen and was hoping to get one last summer six-pack and instead got this beverage. On my personal scale, it probably ranks as a "well, since you pulled it out of your fridge, I'll drink it." I'm not sure quite where that lies in the big scheme of things but probably about a 2 out of 5. I'd call this "taking one for the team" except I probably would have bought it anyway.

The War on Weather

I haven't said anything on the hurricane because, well, what exactly can I say. Hopefully we've all given some money by now and maybe it'll get people thinking about volunteering.

At any rate, Giblets on Fafblog, a key resource to keep rage from overwhelming me, manages to explain the next steps we need to take to keep Mother Nature from threatening again.

This is a Global War on Weather and like any successful war it can't be won on the defensive. If we spend all our time reacting to hurricanes instead of attacking them where they live, we will only embolden further hurricanes! The only language hurricanes understand is force - and possibly hurricanese, which is difficult to learn and involves the use of many glottal stops. We must fight nature where it lives so it can't fight us at home!

Let's roll!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Safe at Work, Friday 10

1. The New Pornographers - These Are the Fables: It's Neko's voice that makes us so happy here. Good stuff 8/10
2. RJD2 - Ghostwriter: Understated hip-hop with some cool intrumentals. Not quite Friday afternoon vibe but it's a chill song 7/10
3. Torpedo - Declare Despair: Franz Ferdinandish, dancy, rocky, a little skittering high hat. I like it so, 7/10.
4. Blur - Jubilee: This song has some zest and it just weird enough to be a great Blur song. This slight hint of reggae that I'm not sure how to justify (7/10).
5. The Neins - Blackbird Underwear: The name is almost better than the song. Think of a poor man's New Pornographer's but no magic Neko [I saw them open for AC Newman and they played a lot of the supporting instruments, so it's fairly true] (6/10).
6. The Dead Milkmen - Rastabilly: This song cracks me up. I won't try to explain because I would only fail but it still gets 8/10.
7. The Zutons - Moons and Horror Shows: Personally, I tend to like The Zutons best at their zestiest and this ain't it. Nevertheless, it's actally a good song because it's almost country yet it is still very British (5/10)
8. Architecture in Helsinki - Tiny Paintings: It opens with a tuba, adds a simple keyboard melody, a guitar gracefully enters, and then some very Deerhoof-esque vocals. It's very restrained which is not an adjective I often employ to describe rock'n'roll and is thus interesting in that light. Not my favorite song off the album so 6/10
9. Throwing Muses - Buzz: Rawr! 7/10. Indie rock from the 90s with that Seattle sound. The plaid almost shows through but the lovely Kirten Hirsh makes it alright.
10. The Postal Service - Brand New Colony: I skipped this song earlier because I had already done The Postal Service last week, but it popped up again so I guess I can't avoid it. This song is super sweet too. Little video game background dots and then some ridiculously perfect lyrics. I so wish I could hate these songs but I just can't. 9/10

Disturbingly high 7/10. Hopefully someone will let me know why I'm wrong.

Unexpected Arrival

Ok, I got home from work the other day to find a slightly unexpected visitor on my doorstep. Who was this visitor, you ask? It was an ominously placed bag from Cafe Press! Quite frightening really.

My birthday was last week and I believe this lonely straggler was meant to be part of that process. Unfortunately, he has already missed the party.

Anyway, intrigued by the bag I opened it up. First, I'd like to suggest that when opening strange packages it is advisable to wear the proper eye protection. In this instance, I believe that would have been some very expensive sunglasses or perhaps some sort of welding mask for what greeted me when I opened this bag was an amazingly lime green shirt. After shielding my eyes (so as not to directly look at the shirt) I finally managed to finish opening the package.

The shirt, once hatched from its unholy egg soon won me over with it's other-worldly splendor. Ok, it actually just had a great quote on it asking, "What Hath the Snacking Gods Wrought?" I can only assume that my reputation as one who enjoys the snacks must have gotten out and that this shirt is a reference to that. On the back it is a a picture of something apparently named Sushi simply speaking the word "Gloooooooooob" (I'm unsure of the exact number of O's without counting them on the actual shirt) and a reference to This apparent gift came from an address that I didn't recognize ... it's only clue is a reference to this blog. Perhaps someday the mystery will be revealed ...

Anyway, it's pretty cool even if an ungodly shade of green. I just need to find some like colors to wash it with. It may be awhile before I've got a full load of lime green clothing.

I took some pictures with my phone but I forgot to copy them off my phone so you'll just have ot look at it at Cafe Press.

Full Story

[Update: Upon speaking with the Well Rounded Nerd it has been confirmed that this shirt was indeed a gift commemorating my entrance to this world! Good job, kind sir.]

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Western Thought Wednesday

This Week's Reading: Crito

fulsome has asked a question about Socrates that is particularly relevant in this dialogue. Was Socrates a martyr? I will give my answer at the end of my analysis (or are these merely comments?). Most of my notes are tied up with this question, but I have some other points that I think are important.

Starting at the start of my notes, I find that on page 32 section 47E, a sort of argument for euthanasia. To quote, " life worth living with a body which is worn out and ruined in health?" Taken out of context one could find this to be a statement of Socrates' belief that life as an old man sucks and he just wants to die. This would not be the case. The soul, or mind, is vastly more important than the body and as long as one's mental faculties are intact, life is livable.

Socrates says in a roundabout manner that ethics are matters of eternal right and wrong. Morals are matters of right and wrong that are determined by the public. Socrates was disdainful of any attempt to regard the opinion of the public. I wonder what he would think about the debate about stem cell use. I have read that the Korean scientists were able to create twelve new stem cell lines from sick people in attempts to help cure them. This was overshadowed by the whole clone dog stuff.

There are ways to damage the soul that don't have any physical harm. Breaking the laws of your state are a harm to your soul as are other bad/evil deeds. In the event of a law that is bad, one should strive to change that law instead of breaking it. This is the basis of Socrates' defiance of his friend's attempts to break him out of jail.

Socrates also states that one must never do wrong. This harms the soul. Socrates also says that one must obey the laws and edicts of the city. The city provided the society in which you grew and were educated. A person owes their parents for their life but owes their city/state for the development of the personality/soul. Thus, without Athens (or the U.S.) being the way it was, one would be a completely different person. One must never break the laws of the city. What if Athens had declared war on Corinth because of a thinly held claim that Corinth had developed a new form of spear that could kill men from further away? What if evedince was found before the declaration of war that Corinth had no such spear? What if no one could change the minds of Athens' council and the people had no wish to attack Corinth with no provocation? Would Socrates have gone to war at his city's request in this situation? I think he would have.

To further this argument, if I claim to try to follow a Socratic example then how can I do this without enlisting? I vote and help people cross the street and all that, but I have never been in the military. I know that if I receive a draft notice, I would not hesitate to report for duty but our army needs recruits now and I haven't signed up. fulsome makes the claim that our city has not asked anything of us. There has been no draft or even a public request for people to enlist, to my knowledge, by the President and Thief in Command.

I don't think Socartes was a martyr. Martyrs die for their cause and are usually asked to renounce their cause under some form of duress. Socrates was asked to flee the city by his friends, but he was never given an option to renounce his views once he was sentenced to death. He knew that the sentence would be death and didn't make any claim of deference to the court. Before sentencing, Socrates could have said that he would stop his search for wisdom and stop talking to people about it, but he said that this would be a harm to him. Although, this could all be a support of the position that he was a martyr. I need to ponder this more.

PS. This was late due to another power outage in my apartment. Some butterfly must have been taking a crap in Argentina.


Summary (for those playing at home):
This dialogue is set while Socrates is in prison, awaiting execution. Crito attempts to convince him it is better to escape than to die. Crito provides two main reasons Socrates should escape: 1) his sons will grow up without their father's guidance 2) Crito will appear not to care enough to help Socrates (45c-e).

Socrates refutes the second point by saying appearances don't matter, the truth matters (48a). He lumps the first point into the answer by saying that the children should have the example of a father who does right and not what's expedient (54a-b). So, the question he is willing to entertain is what is the right (or honorable) response.

Socrates debates the honorable response and determines that he must obey the law because he has lived within the state and accepted its laws for all of his life (51a-c). More telling, I think, is when he points out that to escape now, "at the time you made a noble show of indifference...and in fact preferred death, as you said, to banishment..." (52c). In the end, Socrates does not flee and convinces Crito he's right (or at least not willing to change his mind).

note: I'm falling asleep trying to finish this. I'll try to add my discussion tomorrow morning if I can.