Wednesday, May 23, 2007

War on Civilians in the Dem. Rep. of the Congo

The most devastating piece of news that I heard last week was a report filed from the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
Woman Tells of Congo Murders (RealAudio file)

Fifty people from this woman's village were captured by the Interahamwe, armed Hutu militia from Rwanda who were involved in the genocide in that country. The woman was the only survivor of that attack.

Excerpt from interview:

After they killed the members of my family, 19 members of the Interahamwe raped me. And then they killed two of my children in front of me. And then they took the baby off my back, and they tied a rope around its neck, and they forced me to pull the rope and kill my own baby.

Also check out the BBC news article "DR Congo's Unending War" for some background on the situation there.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

To answer Slayve's question, it'd be best to watch this instructional video:

Brian, in a banana suit, holding maracas (from Family Guy).

According to a Wikipedia entry,

"Peanut Butter Jelly Time" is a Flash animation that emerged in the early 2000s and became an Internet phenomenon. Based on a song of the same name recorded by the Buckwheat Boyz, the best known version of the animation (usually distributed as a Flash clip) shows a pixelated dancing banana moving back and forth to the song's repetitive chorus.

The dance that the male Tauren from World of Warcraft does is basically the peanut butter jelly time dance. But without the maracas.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Where the Hell Is Your WoW Character?

Last year, I blogged about the musical genre known as wizard rock, which is music based on the Harry Potter universe. This year, well, today, a friend caught me up to speed on World of Warcraft (affectionately called Warcrack), the massively multiplayer online game. I'd asked him about it because of a phenomenon I'd noticed on YouTube. Specifically, people emulating the Where the Hell Is Matt? videos.

"Where the Hell WAS Matt?" The original video, made in 2003-04.

Matt Harding really started a phenomenon with his video, which depicts him doing the same silly dance in various locations around the world (Mongolia! Summit of Kilimanjaro! Siberia!) with Deep Forest's "Sweet Lullaby Dancing Remix" playing in the background.

In tribute to Matt, several people have created videos set in Azeroth, the Warcraft world, using characters from the game. By the way, you'll appreciate the following videos more if you watch "Where the Hell WAS Matt?" first.

There's "Where the Hell Is Rudinio" by Rudysin. Great transitions and his human character Rudinio's dance moves are well timed to the music, the same music as in Matt's video. What's hilarious is the fact that other players occasionally wander across the screen. At one point, another player even jumps over Rudinio while he's dancing.

Rudinio at Ironforge.

Another favorite of mine is "Where the Hell Is Grylax" by bucko415.

Grylax at Ragnarous' Lair--The Molten Core.

I wish the character was a little closer to the screen. But Grylax the orc has got some great dance moves and even convinces his friends to join in at the end.

I got a kick out of the fact that the characters in World of Warcraft can even dance. There's a whole page dedicated to dancing on the World of Warcraft Community Site. All the different races have their own gender-specific dances. And apparently some of those dances are based on "real" dances, like peanut butter jelly time.

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Monday, April 30, 2007


While reading Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, I'd wondered what kind of daemon I'd have if they so existed. In the book, a daemon is an outward, physical manifestation of a person's soul. It appears as an animal that reflects a person's true nature.

A friend who introduced me to the His Dark Materials trilogy told me about this quiz on The Golden Compass movie Web site. After answering a series of 20 questions, I found out my daemon's a fox.

I am "modest, spontaneous, sociable, inquisitive, and dependable." Sound like me? On a previous run-through, I'd scored a crow daemon. As much as I love crows, I have to admit the fox traits more accurately describe me.

Anyway, I highly recommend the trilogy, which though marketed as a young adult fantasy, is actually a very smart, philosophical inquiry into religion and the meaning of life. The Golden Compass (which incidentally co-stars Daniel Craig and Eva Green, who were in Casino Royale together) comes out this Dec. 7, so there's still time to devour the books before then.

Friday, April 06, 2007

It Happened Last Night

I submitted this listing to Craigslist's Missed Connections:
Downtown D Train around 7:45 p.m., Thurs., 4/6 THANKS
Reply to:
Date: 2007-04-06, 1:13AM EDT

Tonight, I found out the hard way that projectile vomit isn't just a special effect from "The Exorcist." I thought I'd be able to make it off the D train at Broadway-Lafayette but trying to hold it in just made it worse. After I threw up (explosively) on the train, a few passengers scurried away in disgust.

But some of you came through for me. I would like to thank the woman who gave me a plastic bag so I could clean up, the men who handed me wads of napkins, the train conductor who came out of his compartment to ask if I was OK, and above all, the red-haired guy who actually helped me clean up my mess. Your kindness was unexpected, and I can't thank you enough.

And for those who were wondering but chose to mind their own business, I apologize for having overdone it. I'd given blood for the first time only half an hour earlier. I thought I was good to go but apparently losing one pint of blood does take a toll on one's body, and I should have rested more before returning to my feet. (Not to discourage anyone from donating blood--just remember to give your body time to recover!)

*Location: D Train

No, it was not a fun experience. Yes, I'm feeling better.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Movie Plugs

Twin Peaks: The Second Season is finally available on DVD, five years after The First Season came out. The season one DVD set got me hooked on the series, but in the intervening five years, I had to scrounge for VHS copies of season two. Maybe this release will foster a new legion of fans. "Damn good coffee!"

For fans of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, directed by Edgar Wright, will be in theatres Friday, Apr. 20. I've always enjoyed movies with recurring casts. Although Simon Pegg plays a much more competent guy in this movie than he did in Shaun of the Dead, it's good to see Nick Frost again cast as the bumbling sidekick and Bill Nighy bring a faintly sinister edge to his character.

For fans of the Russian fantasy thriller Night Watch comes Day Watch, directed by Timur Bekmambetov, opening on Friday, June 1. Night Watch reminded me of The Matrix movies in its epic scope and action sequences. I know some people thought it was cheesy, and I agree that its story about the eternal struggle between good and evil isn't masterfully original. Still, the movie had some gorgeous cinematography, and I expect to be awed by the effects in this second movie in a planned trilogy. (The final movie will be Dusk Watch.)

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Happening: High Line Festival 2007

What: Inaugural High Line Festival, a multidisciplinary arts festival. David Bowie is curating this year's edition.
When: Wed., May 9-Sat., May 19, 2007
Where: Assorted New York City venues, including (but not limited to) the following:

May 9 | Arcade Fire, Radio City Music Hall
May 10 | Air, Theatre at Madison Square Garden
May 11-May 18 | Bowie Picks, 10 Spanish Language Classics of the Last 100 Years, Clearview Chelsea Cinemas
May 19 | Ricky Gervais, Theatre at Madison Square Garden

Cost: Varies

A portion of the proceeds will go to Friends of the High Line, which is working with the City of New York to convert an old elevated railway in Manhattan into a park.

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