Monthly Archives: March 2010

Thus Spoke Penning Panda through Zarathustra

To get you in the mood I’m posting a song that I’ve been listening to quite a bit lately and possibly for the first time actually fits the post. So hopefully Mumford & Sons’ “Awake My Soul” will provide a good background as you read through this blog and get to know the Penning Panda a bit more.

Some of you have heard me talk about how I dig Friedrich Nietzsche’s writing. I’m sure some of you also have your minds racing and are judging me on that statement. But you can put your religious judgments about me aside; remember one of my heroes is Pope John Paul II. Ever since I met him in Kindergarten, everyone else I’ve met since is just a bonus (I’m grateful for you all though, through the good and bad). Keeping that in mind one of my favorite books is Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and a favorite quote from it is:

“One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.”

I’d say it was ironic that Nietzsche broke down insane in 1889 and later died from his insanity (if that’s even possible).  But understanding that quote and the life I’ve lead… I can see it.

With my logic, it should follow, that one of my created life mottos is:

Craziness is hard to find. But when you do find it, embrace it.

The motto makes life that much better when you embrace craziness, and at times it gives an understanding to what we may consider crazy moments.

To the actual point of this blog, the following passage/chapter from Thus Spoke Zarathustra is the one that resonates with me the most… and it could, or could not, help to explain a little bit more about me.

The Penning Panda Kixin it With Confucius at the Confucius Temple in Beijing. Yes, Nietzsche, Pope John Paul II, and Confucius all in the same posting... and this isn't even about religion.

The Stillest Hour

What happened to me, my friends?  You see me distracted, driven away, unwillingly obedient, prepared to go-alas, to go away from you.  Indeed, Zarathustra must return once more to his solitude; but this time the bear goes back to his cave without joy.  What happened to me?  Who ordered this?  Alas, my angry mistress wants it, she spoke to me; have I ever yet mentioned her name to you?  Yesterday, toward evening, there spoke to me my stillest hour; that is the name of my awesome mistress.  And thus it happened; for I must tell you everything lest your hearts harden against me for departing suddenly.

Do you know the fright of him who falls asleep?  He is frightened down to his very toes because the ground gives under him and the dream begins.  This I say to you as a parable.  Yesterday, in the stillest hour, the ground gave under me, the dream began.  The hand moved, the clock of my life drew a breath; never had I heard such stillness around me: my heart took fright.

Then it spoke to me without voice: “You know it, Zarathustra?”  And I cried with fright at this whispering, and the blood left my face; but I remained silent.

Then it spoke to me again without voice; “You know it, Zarathustra, but you do not say it!”  And at last I answered defiantly; “Yes, I know it, but I do not want to say it!”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “You do not want to, Zarathustra?  Is this really true?  Do not hide in your defiance.”  And I cried and trembled like a child and spoke: “Alas, I would like to, but how can I?  Let me off from this!  It is beyond my strength!”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What do you matter, Zarathustra?  Speak your word and break!”

And I answered: “Alas, is it my word? Who am I? I await the worthier one; I am not worthy even being broken by it.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What do you matter?  You are not yet humble enough for me.  Humility has the toughest hide.”  And I answered: “What has the hide of my humility not borne?  I dwell at the foot of my height.  How high are my peaks?  No one has told me yet.  But my valleys I know well.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “O Zarathustra, he who has to move mountains also moves valleys and hollows.”  And I answered: “As yet my words have not moved mountains, and what I said did not reach men.  Indeed, I have gone to men, but as yet I have not arrived.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What do you know of that? The dew falls on the grass when the night is most silent.”  And I answered: “They mocked me when I found and went my own way; and in truth my feet were trembling then.  And thus they spoke to me: ‘You have forgotten the way, now you have also forgotten how to walk.’”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What matters their mockery?  You are one who has forgotten how to obey; now you shall command.  Do you not know who is most needed by all?  He that commands great things.  To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.  This is what is most unforgivable in you; you have the power, and you do not want to rule.”  And I answered: “I lack the lion’s voice for commanding.”

Then it spoke to me again as a whisper: “It is the stillest words that bring on the storm.  Thoughts that come on doves’ feet guide the world.  O Zarathustra, you shall go as a shadow of that which must come: thus you will command and, commanding, lead the way.”  And I answered: “I am ashamed.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “You must yet become as a child and without shame.  The pride of youth is still upon you; you have become young late; but whoever would become as a child must overcome his youth too.”  And I reflected for a long time and trembled.  But at last I said what I had said at first: “I do not want to.”

Then laughter surrounded me.  Alas, how this laughter tore my entrails and slit open my heart!  And it spoke to me for the last time: “O Zarathustra, your fruit is ripe, but you are not ripe for your fruit.  Thus you must return to your solitude again; for you must yet become mellow.”  And again it laughed and fled; then it became still around me as with double stillness.  But I lay on the ground and sweat poured from my limbs.

Now you have heard all, and why I must return to my solitude.  Nothing have I kept from you, my friends.  But this too you have heard from me, who is still the most taciturn of all men–and wants to be.  Alas, my friends, I still could tell you something, I still could give you something.  Why do I not give it? Am I stingy?

But when Zarathustra had spoken these words he was overcome by the force of his pain and the nearness of his parting from his friends, and he wept loudly; and no one knew how to comfort him.  At night, however, he went away alone and left his friends.

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Dramatic Reading of a Breakup Letter

Okay… this link was introduced to me by my friend Monica, it is hilarious (to say the very least). The proper way to listen/read this… is to play the video below and read the letter at the same time. You have to have your speakers on or volume in your headphones. The letter in the video is a little hard to read, that’s why I’m posting a better version of it for you to read. Seriously read along, spelling mistakes and all… it slays me.

Breakup Letter

And for your added viewing pleasure (from Monica via Steph) here’s Christopher Walken reading the lyrics to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”.

Still Love Siobhan, but Damn Crystal Bowersox is POWER

Let’s be honest. I’m pretty much continuing these weekly blogs for my love of Siobhan Magnus. Unfortunately, I have to admit that tonight’s performance was not her best. Ugh, seeing the tears in her eyes the Panda just wanted to grab the private plane and give her a Proper Panda Hug. But, I’m hoping the teenie bopper fans recognize what she’s done as a whole so far this year and keep her around. I still love her.

My favorites remain the same, but I’m going to have to reorder the list: Crystal Bowersox (by far the best voice in the competition), Lee DeWyze (the best male vocals), Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus, and Aaron Kelly. I have sleeper bets on Andrew Garcia (he’s my dude) and Katie Stevens (she definitely has a voice, but really needs to find her song and connect with the audience). Why that Tim Urban dude is still in the competition, I really don’t know. Didi Benami has such a unique voice, but like Katie, she really needs to find the right song. Casey James, he’s definitely a concert performer… but doesn’t really bring anything new. I could see him jammin on a side-stage at SXSW.

So on to the videos for my peeps. The first is Crystal Bowersox’s rendition of Gladys Knight & The Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia”. She’s definitely a professional. Stepping up every week, but I’d have to say vocally this was her best performance.

I also have to give props to Lee DeWyze. I agree with the judges, it was by far his best performance… and once he learns how to connect with the crowd he could be a force. But with him and Crystal Bowersox, I can see them both making records right now and they would sell like heaters in Alaska. Here’s Lee’s jammin version of The Temptations’ “Treat Her Like a Lady”.

Finally… Andrew Garcia, my dude. He’s definitely been struggling since Hollywood Week. His cover of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” was simply butter. But finally, my dude, came through tonight and if he can keep picking the right songs and does like I know he can do he’ll be right back in it. I’m going to post his creative money “Straight Up” cover and his super sick acoustic rendition of Chris Brown’s “Forever”.

International Pillow Fight Day!

This Other Time

This is dope… Saturday April 3rd, 2010 all around the world, break out your pillows! It is International Pillow Fight Day! If you know me, I LOVE pillows. I have an excess amount on my bed. I also love pillow fights, there was this one time with… never mind. It’s a way to get naughty in public, wait, what? But it is a good way to release some stress on strangers. Just don’t put any bricks in your pillows. This is a world-wide event check out when and where your nearest pillow fight is… For my Seattle peeps, The International Pillow Fight event is going down at 2:00 p.m. in the Westlake Center Plaza. Enjoy friends!

This One Time

Who the Hell is Barry Gibb, er Charlie Whitehurst?

If you’ve been following my blog… obviously I’m a Seattle sports NUT. But not as much as of a nut as this guy, who my friend Steph saw in person. I’ll offer the same response I told Steph when she shared his picture: “Ohhhhh… that is special. My take is this, any man who uses that much hair product every day has to be questioned. Feared? Probably not. Questioned, most definitely. I’d only fear it, if I was ridiculous enough to do that… And I’d definitely fear you, if you did that. I may give props one time, after that… well thankfully I don’t have to do that.” And okay, I’m probably just of a Seattle sports nut as this guy, I just can’t grow my hair out long enough anymore to have the mohawk. Plus I’m a bit more subtle in my wear, I just lay it on extra thick in my yell… often too profane for sailors. But I digress.

I’m not ready to question the Seahawks for offering $8 million, moving down, and offering another draft pick for Charlie Whitehurst. Okay I am. Who the hell is this guy? The messed up thing is Coach Pete Carroll’s explanation for the move, doesn’t make me feel any better. Check out Sports Illustrated Peter King’s blog about the situation. Carroll offers his concise opinion on what the front office saw in Charlie Whitehurst. If you don’t want to read the blog (the statement is offered in the “Quote of the Week III” section), I’ll offer this quote for you.

“We are looking at him coming into this program like he is a very high draft pick and how we would evaluate his background at that point. So we feel good and confident about that. Now we have to develop him in our program and make him a Seahawk and make him a guy that can execute our offense and carry that and we will see how long that takes.”

Oh, well that makes me feel soooo much better. What the hell is going on this off-season for the Hawks?

The Black Keys New Single: Tighten Up

If you like straight up blues rock, you should definitely listen to The Black Keys. In May The Black Keys will be dropping a new album titled, Brothers. I’ve been able to listen to a few songs and it will indeed be another album to bump your head to. This is the new single, Tighten Up”, produced by Danger Mouse. With my posting about 2010 albums I’m listening to, Danger Mouse is doing some quality work this year. Enjoy…



A Seattle Sports Fan: The Dawgs’ dance continues… in my heart

So I’m sluffin on my blog posting. I actually have a blog that I want to post about idiotic doormen at clubs/bars, which is really a comment on idiots in general. But first I MUST type a blog which should’ve been posted on Thursday. I ended up playing poker instead. Then I proceeded to find myself drinking Absinthe on Friday. I sluffed around some more on Saturday only to play more poker that night. My excuse for not writing this blog yesterday is minimal, except that I was actually able to watch college basketball again… That being said, here it goes.

I’m starting this blog with these lyrics from MGMT’s Flash Delirium. How does it fit in with this blog? I don’t know but I’m really digging this song, and really I’m just trying to stay composed after this U-Dub loss. Deal with it.

… plants, as far as I know are still / still bendin toward the light / and if we dance / until the heart explodes / it’ll make this place ignite / and even if this hall collapses / I can stand by my pillar of hope / it’s just / a case of flash delirium / here’s a growing culture / deep inside a corpse / ages stuck together / takin it to the source / timeless desperation / pictures on a screen scream / “Hey people, what does it mean?” …

And it would be logical to post this song for you to listen to while you read along, but I already have in a previous post. Instead I encourage you to listen to the new Black Keys single, “Tighten Up,” (click the link to listen to the song while reading) produced by Danger Mouse. I’ve had a chance to listen to some of the songs off of the new Black Keys album Brothers, it’ll be a good one.

That Seattle Sports Guy

I’m one of THOSE guys. You know those guys who are a lifelong fan of the home teams. This becomes difficult when your home teams are from Seattle.

I don’t want to talk about Super Bowl XL, but my Seahawks were robbed. Yes, I realize we had plenty of opportunities and yes I realize it was years ago. But that’s what happens when you are a Seattle fan who gets a taste of the big prize, and in the end remains a hungry fan.

Then there was the 2001 record tying 116 regular season wins of the Mariners, you know when we flubbed like fish out of water in the postseason. Since it’s the Lenten season and I’m Catholic, I gotta say I like the taste of fish, but if I were a fish I’d rather be in water.

Don’t get me started on that one team that used to be here. You know that one basketball team, The Seattle SuperSonics. Yea those guys, who now are in Podunk Oklahoma City with one of the best young stars of the game and about to be in the playoffs. Screw you David Stern and fuck you Howard Schultz. I mean I have stock in Starbucks, a local commodity, but whenever I see Starbucks (every 22 seconds in Seattle) I imagine the old yellow and green Sonic uniforms and want to puke a little bit.

Purple and Gold in My Veins

I’d have to say that the Seahawks are my favorite sports team. But my passion for purple and gold runs even deeper. So deep that if you cut me, the bloodshed would be purple and my tears would be gold (maybe I should collect them and sell them as a side gig). Moms is a U-Dub alum. The colors of the high school, in the town where I was raised, were purple and gold (though the fight song was taken from WSU, jerks). Not to mention I myself am a Husky alum and swam on the now defunct U-Dub swim team. Damn, don’t get me started on that one either.

So if you’re trying to get to know me. You’ll need to know the above and that I’m pretty much a sports fanatic. No, I AM a sports fanatic. You wanna get me riled up? Talk sports to me (you can also talk dirty to me, but that’s for another blog). Further you need to understand that I have a lot of gamble in me, and in my degenerate ways I’ll pretty much bet on anything sports related. This includes a bet on how long you can keep a ping-pong ball floating above your head by blowing on it. Or how long I could do it for.

It should now be obvious that my love for Seattle sports especially that of the purple and gold variety is slightly obsessive. This brings me to the rest of this inevitable blog.

*Sigh* The Dawgs’ Final Dance of 2010

At Least I Got a Dope Shirt

The very first thing I noticed was that West Virginia is HUGE. If there’s one thing U-Dub needs to recruit in the off-season is size. And screw you Enes Kanter, I hope you enjoy cheater ass coach John Calipari in Kentucky. Kentucky? Are you serious? They don’t even have cool colors. And it’s in Kentucky. Weak sauce.

So the first half was like a Sloppy Joe sandwich, gooeing all over the damn place, from both teams. U-Dub couldn’t get a rebound to save their life. Somewhere between leaving San Jose and arriving in Syracuse, the Huskies forgot to take of the ball while at the same time forgetting how to pass. This brain fart extended to shot selection. Now I’m all about gambling, but really a double crossover while you’re being stuck by a defender and then shoot a three? I still love you Elston Turner, but damn.

I’m not going to bash the referees for bad calls. But refs, you made too many bad calls. The thing about U-Dub’s aggressive style is that if the refs don’t let the teams play, the Dawgs become tentative. And that’s pretty much what happened. Quincy Pondexter had 3 fouls by the 4:30 mark, limiting his playing time. All of which were questionable, 2 came on offense. Isaiah Thomas eventually fouled out of the game. Dammit, now I’m just getting upset again.

One good thing about the first half, and quite frankly the rest of the game, was U-Dub’s defense. Justin Holiday and crew were all up in the passing lanes. Like I said in my previous blog, teams often overlook the Huskies’ defense and I think WVU was one of those teams. It was a horrendous first half though as both teams were off rhythm. Although U-Dub had a one-point lead at half, I was thoroughly nervous. It seemed as though the Dawgs reverted back to the first half of the season, where it turned into one-on-one ball instead of team ball.

Coach Romar praised the Dawgs for coming together at the end of the season, using a “fist” analogy. Essentially a fist is only as strong as all its fingers. Each of the five players represents a finger of the fist. If one of the fingers gets loose, the fist is weak. The fingers were straying, and the panda was worried.

Unlike the previous NCAA Tournament games the outside was not falling. Because of the lack of penetration, the outside shots were not open. And when they were open, U-Dub was connecting. Outside shooting is not our game, but it helps to ease that zone. Like I said in the last blog, U-Dub is not an outside shooting team, but it helped previously to loosen up the zone.

Seriously the stress level during halftime was not good. I even decided to change my pants (no it wasn’t because of a I peed myself feeling like after the Marquette game) and belt to get some new mojo going. My friend Alyssa came by at half to watch the rest of the game for me. I warned her that I was mildly freaking out and that a bunch of yelling is sure to come. She assured me that it was fine. Little did she know a lot of yelling was about to come (from both of us). Little did I know, that thank goodness she was there to provide a calming effect because I was about to enter a throwing things at the TV, walls and my own face type of mood.

The Second Half

The second half pretty much started the same as the first half ended, a loose fist. I’d like to give an objective breakdown of the second half, but I really can’t. I don’t know how to make a puke emoticon (and quite frankly after writing this, I’m not the mood to figure it out). Yea it was that bad. But the worst part is that U-Dub’s defense was tremendous. The Dawgs had 14 steals to WVU’s 11 and led 8 to 4 in blocks. WVU had 23 turnovers unfortunately U-Dub had 21. Worse is that the transition offense was there for the Dawgs, but ill-advised passes combined with forgetting how to pass made all the turnovers a wash.

The fist became an open hand. An open hand that which U-Dub couldn’t even slap in a shot if they wanted to. The lack of attention to the little things was also becoming evident. Apparently U-Dub forgot to box-out and crash the boards, yet another thing I implored the Dawgs to do. The Huskies were outrebounded a heartless 41 to 25 and an embarrassing 19 to 9 on the offensive glass. 9 for 14 from the line, showed that the Dawgs were not penetrating on offense (no I refuse to go further into the ineptitude of the refs).

Seriously Dawgs, where was the focus and heart? This was going to be a tough game; there was no doubt about that. I just wonder if the Huskies themselves believed it. Instead of playing like a fist, they crumbled under the adversity. Something I had been worried about before the Tournament, but after the Marquette game I felt they had under control. Nothing against WVU, but U-Dub beat themselves. With all the WVU turnovers, if U-Dub made half the shots in their transition offense as well as free throws down the stretch it would’ve been a victory for the Dawgs and I’d still be dancin with them.

Hats off to the Neers and further good job beating Kentucky in the next round (a little justification for the loss). I’m going to become a WVU fan this week. Two reasons, they beat my Dawgs and secondly there are only two sports teams I can honestly say I despise the Yankees and Duke basketball. Speaking of the Final Four, a huge round of applause to Butler and a bigger cheer to Tom Izzo keeping his Michigan State Spartans together after losing star player Kalin Lucas. The Butler v. Michigan State game will be a doozy. Butler is the hometown team and you can NEVER count out a T-to-the-Izzo team. All I know is that my friends think I have an obsession with Tom Izzo, and called me crazy when I said they were the second best team in the Midwest Region… yup totally crazy. Who wants to check out my wallet on Michigan State bets alone in this tournament?

Still Have Love For My Dawgs

I said at the beginning of the season that if the Huskies made it to the Sweet 16, I’d be happy. When the brackets came out, I believed that WVU was the best team in the tournament. I plotted out my picks and had U-Dub v. WVU in the Sweet 16. And yes, an objective sports better came out and I had WVU beating UW. Which for all intensive purposes, juiced my wallet, but squeezed my heart in the end. I just wished that the last game of 2010, the Dawgs played well. I wished that Q-Pon’s last game in a Husky uniform wasn’t marred by stupid ass calls. Maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t be so upset with the loss.

That being said, I must look at all things in a positive light. The first is that Alyssa came by to watch the game with me and prevented me from an ultimate breakdown (I saved that for the poker table, but thank goodness I composed myself there to come out on top). Like I said making it to the Sweet 16 was awesome, especially after this roller coaster of a season where the Dawgs were not even assured a ticket to the Dance until they won the PAC-10 tournament.

Also U-Dub is a young team, 9 freshmen and sophomores. This 2010 ride has given them much needed experience for next year. Elston Turner, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and to an extent Abdul Gaddy grew up. Isaiah Thomas (until the last game) learned that doing the little things other than just scoring would help the team more. Justin Holliday has turned into a defensive machine. Venoy Overton, I was totally going to rip you about your seemingly selfish decisions in the WVU game, next year just channel it into the team game. There are a lot of positives to take from this season, I only hope Coach Romar can ensure that he projects those lessons learned for the 2011 season. Hit the weight room Dawgs (Tyreese Breshers, hit the treadmill). Don’t forget what happened in that last game, don’t dwell on it, but don’t forget this nasty taste in your mouth. We play with chips on our shoulders, let’s come out next season and prove that we are fist to contend with.

HELL OF A SEASON DAWGS!

And to the University of Washington Huskies Men’s Basketball Teams, we true Dawg fans courteously Bow Down to Washington.

Well that blog was a struggle to write…