Golden Eye … the best cover version ever

Do you know the German a cappella group Wise Guys?

Even if you don’t speak any (or very little) German, they are awesome. Mostly they sing in German, but sometimes they do covers of English songs as well. This video is pretty old, two of the original members have left the group and therefore been replaced since then, but it is one of their performances which never fail to crack me up. They have a lot of more serious and meaningful songs as well, but today I feel like posting cheerful stuff.

So here’s another hilarious video, this time one of their original songs a cover (thanks to sariandra for the correction!) in German. It’s about the idea that some things the old philosophers have said or done can only be explained by assuming they were drunk or stoned (and lacking women in their lives). Cheers.

I just can’t stay depressed when seeing how they crack themselves up when one of them keeps messing up the lyrics.

For those who are curious about the title: it’s a blend of the words Philosophen “philosophers” and besoffen, colloquial for “drunk”. That’s it for today’s linguistics lesson ;)

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my families

I have more than one family. Let me tell you a bit about them.

First of all there is my biological family, of course. My parents and my siblings are nice people, though not exactly mainstream and sometimes a little bit crazy. A house full of musical instruments and theological books. One of my siblings studies mathematics, another one works as a laboratory assistant, and one loves video editing. I see them only two or three times each year (my siblings sometimes even less often) and we’re not exactly a bunch of best buddies, but I know that they’ll always provide me with a place to sleep for some nights when needed.

Then, my husband and his family. I won’t tell you a lot about them today, but his grandma makes awesome cake and signs her cards with “your grandma …” even when I’m included in the addressees, enough said.

Next there are the church people. I don’t see all of them as brothers and sisters in the narrow sense (though I maybe should), but some of the young folks are very important to me and it really feels like hanging out with brothers and sisters closer to my age than my biological siblings. In most churches there are some older persons who “adopt” the younger generation and invite us to a big lunch on some Sundays.

After four years at the same university I see that we’re a family of sorts as well. In the academic family there are three or more generations researching, learning together and from each other. There are our academic fathers and mothers, sometimes even retired professors still teaching a class once in a while in a grandfatherly fashion. Doctoral candidates who are either like older siblings or aunts/uncles to look up to, and younger undergraduates we tutor.

Finally, there is the capoeira family. They are the reason I’m writing this post today. What made me think about families today was the way in which a student’s baby girl was welcomed in class. The little one was crawling around between us while warming up, then for a while the instructor was carrying her around and made her meet every person in the group, and later she was on the floor again and provided a welcome distraction on this hot afternoon. For some unknown reason (maybe she liked the cute tortoise print on my shirt?) she crawled towards me while we were doing shoulderstands and decided she wanted to sit in my lap, so when we moved on to the next stretching exercise I picked her up to so she would stop whimpering and did the exercise with her sitting on my belly until she was retrieved by her mother a moment later. When it was time for playing her mom could play in he roda just like everybody else because someone else kept the little miss safe for that time. Capoeira is one big family and in some aspects a lot like the church family. Even when you don’t know all the names and faces they are friendly and helpful most of the time. When we were doing partner exercises today I ended up with a partner who has a higher graduation than the instructor of Friday class – and he was extremely patient and showed me the sequence again and again until I got it right! After class there is almost always someone to joke with or even to do a small mock fight to let off some remaining steam. Need someone to meet you at the train station to find the way to class? Someone willing will be found and greet you with a hug. Progress or a good game? Someone will give you a nod of approval or even a big grin. Doing something wrong? Someone will stop you and give some correcting advise. Trouble which is not your fault? Not too long ago I was playing in our small roda in Wednesday class with our instructor when a visiting student decided to prove himself and buy in with an aggressive kick – before I could figure out what was happening someone was ushering me away from the two fighting guys already so I’d be safe. It didn’t feel like being belittled, because I know I can trust their judgements and that they respect me despite my struggles with basic stuff. They are lovely people with big hearts who’d do a lot to keep their family safe and happy.

 

 

some berimbau stuff

Today, after a long day of tutoring, struggling with technical problems, and going to capoeira class I decided to try to create a berimbau pendant from the jewellery supplies I have at home. The picture above shows the results of tries  #1 and #2 (photo is linked from my deviantART account because I’m too lazy too resize and re-upload it here). I like #2 way better and it reminds me of pale moonlight.

A few minutes ago I found something else berimbau-related … at hackaday.com, a blog/homepage Darling likes to frequent. Somebody decided to build a robotic berimbau playing itself. A really weird idea, but it’s a little bit funny as well. Here’s the link to the post: http://hackaday.com/2011/04/02/robotic-berimbau-plays-itself/ And this is a video of that robotic berimbau:

 

 

white pants …

Today I bought my first abadá (the white pants in the photo below)! So my capoeira outfit is upgraded from all black to a mix of traditional white bottoms and a random black top – an old shirt I bought during my gap year, sporting a cute green tortoise which by now has lost all its glittery glitter stuff. For the batizado and the workshop I’ll get a special new shirt (included in the fee for the batizado, yeah), most likely it will be white, but it could be any colour really.

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Bring on the turtles tortoises!

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I guess I’m officially crazy now, spending lots of money on a pair of semi-transparent white polyamide pants that will most likely give me a rash … at least they are really comfortable (apart from feeling like, well, like plastic) and stretchy! But I’ll keep wearing my fluffy black cotton sweatpants to Monday and Friday classes most of the time, I think, and save the white for official rodas and Saturday class (held by the capoeira school from which I got the abadá). I like good old cotton. Maybe after some summer heat I’ll change my mind about lightweight artificial fibres, but only maybe.

no princess hands (colour on my hands)

There’s acrylic paint in the creases of skin covering my fingers’ joints,

and the scars of oven burns from baking bread next to them.

Paper cuts can be seen across the pads of my fingertips,

and gardening soil might be found under my fingernails.

Fingernails – on the left hand short, on the right hand a little longer,

so I can play my guitar whenever I feel like it,

and traces of correction fluid in the corners.

There are tiny scars of long gone playground adventures in between the freckles,

and notes to myself written in smeared ink on the back of my hand.

Sometimes there will be scratches obtained from brambles,

or streaks of green from touching flowers and foliage on my way.

On other days, stains of brownish herbal ointment creeping up from my wrist,

a painting to soothe the tendons sore from writing and playing.

These are no princess hands, but the hands of an art living, book breathing creature, longing for primordial freedom and touching the world with flesh, blood, and soul.

 

 

Favourite Friday: Scene from “The Hobbit”

“Far over the Misty Mountains cold …”

This song scene gave me goosebumps, in a good way. There are some other really nice scenes in the movie, but this one is on my mind most often. I wish my voice was this deep and resonating when I sing the song. The atmosphere which is set by the combination of the song and the pictures shown (I totally adore how they switch to the camera on the outside of the cottage and show the spark-blowing chimney against the night sky, by the way) is just the right mixture of a calm, warm moment, melancholy, and a sense of oncoming adventure. It was also the moment when the dwarves became less annoying in my eyes. Warm fuzzy feelings for everyone!

mulher na roda: women in capoeira

Being a woman in what still can be called a man’s world is not always easy. I’m lucky I found a hobby which is very including and welcoming towards women. Yep, this is going to be another capoeira post. I don’t intend to give a complete overview or discuss different points of view, but just share some of my musings with you. A very important element of capoeira is music and the songs sung in Portuguese. I don’t speak Portuguese and don’t understand a lot, but by trying to understand lyrics (with the help of existing translations and checking words in google translator) I’m getting a grasp on some basic phrases. There are two excerpts of lyrics I want to share with you today. “Capoeira é pra homem, menino e mulher” This is something very basic and profound, but I like this line nevertheless. It means “capoeira is for man, woman, and boy”  (Maybe menino can also mean “child”, which would make more sense to me, but I’m not sure if this would be a valid translation.) For me it means that I don’t have to fight for my right to play capoeira, that I don’t have to worry about people sending me away because of weird clichés like all women being sissies or that they should be in the kitchen. There are not as many mestras as mestres, but there are some nevertheless. Somewhere I read that women are more likely to stop capoeira at a lower level because of pregnancies and raising children. I get the first part – you wouldn’t want to be kicked in your belly while it’s inhabited! – but with a good support structure of family and friends it should be possible to pick up training very soon. Having more than one child would mean further delay, of course. There is one problem I see, though – classes tend to take place late in the evening, so I guess it would become more complicated when the child’s bedtime falls in these hours. So again, a good support structure and planning would be required (e.g. taking turns with spouse/grandparents/nanny to be present at bedtime every second day or so).

If I had a child, I’d put them into capoeira class (or something similar) as soon as possible, especially if it was a girl, so she’d learn to take pride in her strength and intelligence instead of relying on beauty alone to distinguish herself. This brings us to the second song snippet I want to share with you. I think it was written by  the singer Carolina Soares, but I’m not totally sure. “Mulher na roda Não e pra enféitar Mulher na roda E pra ensinar” This loosely translates to something like “Woman in the circle, not to adorn/spruce herself, woman in the circle, but to teach” To me this is something very essential. Of course I want to be pleasant enough to look upon not to attract disgusted looks all the time, but I don’t want to be covered in make-up and the latest fashion in itchy pastel polymer fibre all the time, neither in university, nor in my free time. I wear clothes I’m comfortable in to class, but more important than my clothes being fashionable is that they are modest (hey, there is a lot of cartwheeling and sometimes you even get into close contact with a body belonging to someone of the opposite sex). I’d never spend money on waterproof make-up to wear while doing sports and to be honest, I don’t know anyone who does it. My hair is up in a braided bun so it doesn’t move around. It doesn’t look very hip and is not very flattering in combination with the shape of my face, but it’s practical, and in capoeira, this is me. Most of the guys from class have never seen me with my braid hanging down, not to mention wearing my hair down without any device holding it together, and to my surprise indeed nobody every felt the need to comment on this. If you’ve ever been whipped across your face by your own braid with full force you know why I prefer the bun when moving around. Some girls I know wear their jewellery while playing, but mostly just because they aren’t bothered by it and too lazy to take it off each time, and it’s totally fine as long as nobody gets hurt by a bangle or whatever. I for myself just prefer to leave my earrings behind with my shoes, and I’m annoyed by loose bangles or even necklaces most days even when I’m not doing sports so it’s no surprise I look rather plain when leaving the dressing room. When I enter the roda (the circle in which it is played) it is to interact with others, and to prove to myself and others I have the right heart for doing this and that I’m getting better with every month. And, what is more important, in playing I learn from my opponent. Everybody is a student, and everybody has something to teach. Even if I’m not very good yet just my being part of the roda and trying to kick at some big guy can teach some other girl to have faith in herself so she’ll find the courage to join the game after having learned her first few movements. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and to me there is more beauty in strength and courage than in following the mainstream idea of painting beauty on your face and believing it’s the only way to find the approval of others. Of course a woman can decide to play in a very graceful and “feminine” style, but as capoeira is a graceful martial art in itself this is not a very big thing, I believe. Still, I guess it could be one way to trick your opponent into believing you’re weak. A woman’s brand of malícia (malice), so to speak. Using this trick and then taking down the guy you play against would teach others that women are not to be underestimated just because of a pretty face or swaying hips. And of course there are the higher graded female capoeiristas (and, as I mentioned above, even some mestras) who teach students of all ages and colours, regardless of sex/gender. Just like male teachers they encourage them to be gentle with the beginners, to expect the trickery of more advanced capoeiristas, to face challenges, and to help each other to grow. In capoeira, we’re all the same – white pants and the heart of a warrior. Peace to you.