Monday, June 26, 2006

The Benefit Show!

So, team Ramrod got a whole bunch of friends together and put on a concert event at Cafe Allegro to raise money for the team. We pulled in $285, which is great! (This should show up in justgiving soon, right JW?) A thousand thanks to everyone who played, to Susan and Kim who helped organize things, to everyone who donated raffle items, to Jay and Cafe Allegro for letting us put on the show there, and to everyone who came to the show. Team Ramrod loves you with an undying flame and will think only of you (yes, you) while trailing dust across the steppes of Central Asia.

First up was none other than Justin and Patrick of Team Ramrod. Patrick played a song or two and then was joined by Justin to rock out further. During this time Patrick attempted to compose a song in honor of WNBA center Lauren Jackson, having auctioned off the composition at the beginning of the set. The "Lauren Jackson" song was played for the first ever time as the last song of the set.

Next up was Mike, also known as Handsome International Man, and perhaps playing under a moniker too complex for me to remember? He was joined at times by Justin and also by the wonderful Kristy, who lent her dulcet tones to the excellent songs that were played. Mike also auctioned off a spontaneous composition -- this one went to a high bidder requesting the subject of "Cats". As usual Mike surpassed all expectations.

After this and some raffling, I like Danger? took the stage and crooned their way into the audience's heart, and amazed with their instrument-switching dexterity. Layerd harmonies and songs about friends, all in performed in a danger-loving way.

Following this, three of four members of a reunited Xander took the stage to shower their love upon those assembled with songs about dogs in space, last of the mohicans, thinly disguised double-entrendres, and suicidal electronics.

At the end of the night everyone got together for a rendition of the song "So many whales!" It was a euphoric and fitting end to the evening. The crowd and performers then disperesed for rest or afterparties and unloading gear, and Team Ramrod watched the day end with a warm feeling in their hearts at all the support they had received, and then returned to planning logistics for their trip.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Benefit Show and gathering

Come out to the (southernmost) Cafe Allegro to show your support Team Ramrod's epic quest to reach Monoglia. Cover charge at the door should get a drink discount. All ages, tell your friends!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New Sponsorship info

See the new sponsorship info at:

Watch as the car is covered by stickers by clicking on the "See current stickers and sponsor us now!" link near the top of the page.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Jisas ye holem hand blong mi

Recently, I've been running things through in my head, trying to get a picture of the rally. No matter what I try to picture, the same feeling keeps returning--fear.

I am afraid that my codriver is not ready for the fame that awaits him on the other side of the world. I don't think the author of "So Many Whales" and "Smile for a Friend" has any sense of the magnitude of international adoration he can expect. I fear that such a simple fellow may not respond well to the hordes of fans that we may encounter.

With anyone who has not heard his brilliant tunes soon to experience them at 146 decibels from our 1000cc guitar amplifier, I worry the onset of global fame may catapult Patrick into the stratosphere of megalomaniacal lunacy. And how do I as his observer, scribe and driver respond to the rapid expansion of Patrick's popularity and ego? How might the Dr. Watson of roadies aid the Sherlock Holmes of indie rock? At what point does a bizarre desert betrayal by one's close friend become a more compelling narrative than the ascension into perpetual, media-driven stardom? Does the end of a man breathe eternal life into his music, or can man and music exist simultaneously? Should they? Are we the jungle or is the jungle we?

What purpose does our slow, winding progress across the serpentine roads of Asia serve? Many from Don Delillo to Joseph Conrad caution that such journeys are fraught with the perils held within our psyches. When should literary men fear experience? Should men of action fear their own will?

I'm open to suggestions or counsel on this matter.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Team Ramrod has a website

The Team Ramrod Website of Champions

Don't tell work, I'm hosting it from my staff account.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Route Map 1st Draft

So based on some weird necromancy, half-remembered conversations with my codriver, and some odd combination of the conflicting information provided by several different on-line and paper maps, plus a healthy amount of lifting text and code from the Mongol Rally website, we have produced this:

The Route

Friday, June 02, 2006

I had a passing impulse . . .

To pick up this Fiat 500 and stash it my office until we left for London:

To give an idea of scale, this car has about the profile of a large-ish road bike. It was parked at the side of the road while I was walking back from lunch, just the perfect little Mongol Rally Adventure mobile.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's everywhere you want to be, except WaMu

Visa services has again seen the intrepid faces of Patrick and me. While trying to get our Kazakh, Uzbek and Kyrgyz visas, we had a fine experience in the art of making friends. I believe is the most important travel skill when journeying off the beaten path.

Our bizarre travel plans piqued the interest of another traveler who was himself headed to Kyrgystan for some trekking, the source of Kyrgystan's growing fame--that and their potential to be bed-partner in the libidinous warmaking of the Administration(oops, what did I just say?). Patrick gamely engaged him in conversation while I tried to ignore the sixteen clocks on the wall telling me how many buses I was missing not only in Seattle but Copenhagen and Tokyo as well.

This fine gentlemen even offered us a few tips on towing and various other subjects, so it was quite a worthwhile meeting despite its brevity. It is always interesting to see people's reactions when you tell them what a frightfully moronic trip you're planning.

In other news, our Russian visas look really cool. The same cannot be said for the fruity new American money which will get us laughed out of Central Asia should we try to pass it off as real dollars. As far as I'm concerned the switch from pure green and black ink to this mockery marks the death of freedom and the American Way. I suppose there's always the suitcase full of $10,000 bills to really get things moving...