Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dixie Chicks Strike Back!

My friends from high school
Married their high school boyfriends
Moved into houses
In the same ZIP codes where their parents live
But I
I could never follow
No I
I could never follow

I hit the highway
In a pink RV with stars on the ceiling
Lived like a gypsy
Six strong hands on the steering wheel
I've been a long time gone now
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
But I've always found my way somehow
By takin' the long way
Takin' the long way around

I met the queen of whatever
Drank with the Irish and smoked with the hippies
Moved with the shakers
Wouldn't kiss all the asses that they told me to
No I could never follow
No I
I could never follow...

Well, I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself

But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow...
~The Long Way Around/Taking the Long Way/Robison, Maguire, Maines, Wilson
This song just gives me the goosebumps... the Chicks won five Grammys on Monday including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Country Album of the Year, and Country radio stations in the States are still not playing their music. Even though they are my favourite female country group, I hadn't thought it was urgent to get their latest album Taking The Long Way released last year. Started listening to them after I got their 1998 breakthrough work Wide Open Spaces. Reason why I like country is that it's probably one of the few genres where songwriters can write mundane but truthful things and actually get away with it. Their Grammy wins prompted me to take some action. Had a fun outing with the classmates on Tuesday night, went to Borders thereafter and found that they were sold out.

Anyway, I found it at Sembawang Music store tonight. It's quite a technical album, so more time is needed to get the hang of it. But it feels so authentic and solid nonetheless. Not Ready To Make Nice, which won Record of the Year, is sort of a 'mrbrown's-fan's-response-to-Today's-treatment' song, the indignation felt when being told to shut up when one voices one's opinions. Lead singer Natalie Maines, who's from Kansas, said a week before Iraq invasion "Just so you know, we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." That promptly resulted in a boycott from the Country radio folks, which probably contributed somewhat to their phenomenal Grammy win... ;p


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lego Mindstorms Controlled By Handphone

I've got the Mindstorms NXT for two months now, but haven't got around to making the various models yet. This is the 'Hello World' startup model, there're many more in the included CDROM and website . Since Lego is to be played as 'sandbox', one can find inspiration from hundreds of other projects too. More lesson plans here and here.

And I've just realised there's also a handphone Bluetooth application. It can be used to run programs and collect data, and drive the thing around using the handphone joystick. My first remote control car!! Run, robot, run! ;p

Obama For President!

Full text here. What a breath of fresh air this guy is! First noticed him at the 2004 Convention breaking the mould of what a politician should, and could, be. Hopefully he beats the lady on the left! America deserves better than the current Shrub... [Picture source] Update (!): A most bizarre thing is happening in international diplomacy and protocol. Obama isn't even US President, and Australian PM, Bush-ally John Howard is already treating him as if he were, scolding him for his Iraq War stand (as if he's the only Democrat or even Republican advocating troop withdrawal.) Excellent comeback from Obama!