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Self-serving, with many glaring omissions

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Sunday, March 5, 2006

Music, Movies & More...

A couple Fridays ago, a friend joined me for a trip to Denton to see the Gourds (Austin-based "roots rock" band) at Dan's Silverleaf. We had just seen them the Saturday before at the Aardvark in Ft. Worth. But it's hard to pass up a chance to see 'em so close to home, especially when they're about to embark on a lengthy out-of-state tour. As usual, it was a fun show. They played for about two hours... their set included a number of songs from their new album "Heavy Ornamentals" (my favorite was an instrumental featuring Max on violin and Kevin on mandolin) as well as some older stuff like "Jesus Christ with Signs Following" from "Bolsa de Agua". The Gourds always put on a good show, and it's fun to watch the guys switch instruments after every second or third song.

the Gourds - Denton, TX

The Gourds - live at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton TX
February 17, 2006

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Our Fir$t Vi$it to Medieval Time$$$$$$$...

Last Sunday (the 26th), the four of us (K and I, plus kids) piled into K's car and headed for D-town. I thought it would be a fun family activity to check out Dallas' Medieval Times. For the unitiated, Medieval Times bills itself as a "dinner and jousting tournament". To briefly summarize the experience... you go to a building that looks like a castle, enjoy a mass serving of middle-ages style food (without the benefit of silverware) served by serfs and wenches, and watch knights battle one another on horseback and on foot. The whole production lasted about 2 hours. The show was more scripted than I expected, and included lots of mostly unamusing dialogue between a king and his daughter, the princess. The winners of the "battles" appeared to be chosen in advance, and the hits and punches these guys threw made me think of professional wrestling on a bush-league level. Some of the stuff they did on horseback was kind of cool, though.

The kids enjoyed it (the very NEXT DAY, M was asking if we could go back), but I don't think I'd be in any great hurry to make a return visit. It was fun to see once, I guess...

If you go, hang on to your wallet! Dinner prices range between about $35 and $50 (not cheap, but of course you are paying for the entertainment and not just the meal). They ask you to show up about an hour and a half before your show actually starts, presumably so you can spend 5 bucks for a Pepsi at their bar (I didn't ask how much their beers cost) and buy some overpriced Chinese-manufactured crap at their souvenir stands. And of course, they've got to have a chance to take your picture, which they then shamelessly offer to sell to you...

at Medieval Times

Posing with the Medieval Times Falconer...
Don't we look like a happy family?

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Amateur Philosophy Hour returns

I see that Hollywood recently relased a new installment in the "Final Destination" series.... I can't say that I've ever had the pleasure of sitting through the entire length of any of those movies, but a few months ago, I was flipping channels on tv and stumbled across the beginning of Part 2. The story featured a young lady who was troubled by premonitions. She'd see a vision of some huge mass fatality accident, like a plane crash or a freeway pileup, and then would take action to prevent it from happening. The catch was: those who were "scheduled" to die in her premonition (but didn't due to her intervention), quickly found themselves on the receiving end of some bizarre (and equally fatal) freak accidents. One such instance -- a fairly spectacular one -- involved a guy who ineptly started an apartment fire in his kitchen, but somehow managed to escape from the building... only to be impaled in the head by a falling fire escape ladder! Fun stuff!

The protagonist struggled with such issues as: can you truly prevent a death that some higher power intends to occur? Obviously not, because these folks were dying just the same. Of course, I don't claim to have the answers to such deeply philosophical questions... but I did start wondering about whether there might be such a thing as reverse premonitions. For example, if I have a vision of myself breaking my leg on a ski trip, and then it doesn't happen, is this a reverse premonition? And furthermore, did the vision prevent the accident from occuring? (I.e., if I had not envisioned the possibility, would I have broken the leg? Welcome to the world of possibilities my mind entertains when I'm in the middle of a 25-mile bike ride.

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This will probably be my last blog entry for at least the next 2 to 3 weeks. I've got some upcoming travel plans, and the weather has been warming up, so when I'm not out of town, I'll be spending more time on my bike. Stay tuned, and I'll post a new report when... well, sometime....


np: BBC comedy series "Coupling"

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