I want you to go to YouTube and look for Eric Whitacre's TED Talk from early 2011, called "A Virtual Choir 2000 Voices Strong."

Go look. I'll wait.

Yeah. It's Reason #18493 for why I love the internet.

Frestyle to music is kind of the holy grail of dressage riding - you create your own program based on required elements, scored by your own choice of music. It's a little more accessible to laypeople than other dressage styles, because even if you can't tell whether or not someone is doing well, at least you get to watch horses "dancing" to music. While I can watch other dressage competitions and converse intelligently about the results, freestyle is still the most fun :-)

For these World Games, everyone was talking about one of the Dutch entries: Edward Gal and Totilas. If you ask people in the equestrian world, they either hate these two, or they adore them and believe they're the end all be all of dressage. As with so many things, I'm kind of in the middle. I like the pairing a lot, the horse has flashy movements and is well ridden, especially given that he's pretty young for a high-level competition horse. Do I think he's worth the 15 million Euros he was just sold for? Nah. Still pretty to watch though. (YouTube hates me. I decided it would make more sense to steal other people's videos. We all know how to check YouTube for the credits, right?)

As pretty much everyone knew they would, Gal and Totilas came in first, with a high score of 91.8 out of 100 - in dressage, you basically lose points for not being perfect in every single step :-P Which I guess means the dressage officials of the world are currently fans of flashy stuff... as with gymnastics and figure skating, the pendulum is likely to swing back the other way in a couple of years.

In second place, Laura Bechtolsheimer of Great Britain (she started out German, hence the name) with Mistral Hojris (obviously bred in the Netherlands or Scandinavia). Much less flash, but in their own way, just as good.

Third place to the US - Steffen Peters with Ravel. Yes, another German guy who ran away to greener pastures - if you're not trained by or working with one of a few coaches and other riders, you pretty much have no chance of ever riding in a competition like this. It's why I'm quite often very happy when no Germans place in large competitions like this; I'm not a fan of the riding style or the politics involved in decisionmaking.

And here's the guy who should have won - Juan Munoz Diaz and Fuego of Spain. Seriously, these were a blast to watch; you could tell just how much they were both enjoying the crowd, and Diaz pretty much only seemed to be there to show off how awesome the horse is. Flying lead changes with one hand off the reins were apparently too flashy for one of the judges (who placed him fifth when everyone else placed him in first), but dudes? He was awesome. And he had so much fun, I was kind of jealous :-) But anyways, just watch...

Right. Sorry. Can't appear too dignified or have an itchy face while we work, I guess :-P

Much better. I'm pretty sure the video description is wrong and they actually came in fourth, but either way, kind of sad they didn't place. Loads of fun to watch though, and I know I'll pay better attention to them if I see them ride in other competitions (now that I live in a country where you can actually watch dressage on network TV).

This concludes our coverage of the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Next time, we have bourbon, then we go back to actually talking about Germany. Just in time for watching people get drunk on mulled wine :-P

Videos of Neil Gaiman's reading tour for The Graveyard Book are available online at Mousecircus. You can have the entire book read to you, by the author, for free! I love the internet.

Eye Candy

Dec. 12th, 2007 10:32 am
 I keep sending Sara YouTube videos... and other people might want to see them too - duh! So here is my latest obsession: YouTube videos of David Tennant and John Barrowman (and some other good Doctor Who stuff). Enjoy!

John Barrowman sings Dr Who Theme on Weakest Link... with a little help from The Doctor

John Barrowman interviews David Tennant on This Morning (Scottish accents rule!)

"You've outgayed me, Barrowman!" (Music Video for Let Me Entertain You with DT and JB) kilts and figureskating included!

"You've outgayed me, Barrowman!" (the original clip)

"Play track three"

David Tennant wears Calvin Klein underwear (no really!)

David Tennant learns to waltz (Doctor Who Confidential)

and lastly, the way I spent last night: Friday Night Project (kind of a British Saturday Night Live, but oh so much better)*

David Tennant guest hosts Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

John Barrowman guest hosts Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

*this is a British late night show, so you've been warned :) 



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