Viral Video Wednesday ~ Top Viewed Videos

Ach! After a couple months of sluggishly trying to get back into the habit of blogging, and an even longer diversion from SecondLife, I’m finally posting a new Viral Video Wednesday meme. Embarrassingly pathetic show on my part given I started VVW, but I’m back on task… finally.

And since it took me awhile to get back into the swing of reading, too, I’m struggling to catch up on books. With a goal of 75 books by December 31st (same as last year, but unmet), I figured out I need to finish 6 books a month which is an average of 1 and a half a week, and by the middle of February, when I committed to this goal, I had only finished 3 books. To be on track, I should have finished 14 books now, and I’m currently reading book 14, The Appeal by John Grisham, and expect to finish it this evening.

However, reading like a fiend and not taking a lot of time exploring the realms of the YouTube for VVW offerings. Alas, I am in the dark for what is popular videos at the moment. So I figured the best way to resolve this issue AND be able to post what has always been my favorite meme (I have so much fun planning the posts and finding the vids!) is my favorite vids of YouTube’s most-viewed.

So here we go!

I happened to catch this first one on the “Featured Video” section. With a little over 75,000 views, it’s not a “top viewed video” but it’s fun to watch. It’s midly obnoxious, but apparently the girl in it has done that on purpose, mocking an even more obnoxious video “kittens inspired kittens“. And now, Cats! inspired by Cats!:

With nearly 830,000 views, YouTube lists Dirty Hotel Stories with Nadine Velazquez as the most viewed video today. This vid brings you …what else? Truly dirty stories of real-life experiences of hotel stays. A sultry hostess in a black neglige and pearls relays these tales (relax, it’s brought to you by <a href=”http://www.tripadvisor.com/ target=”_blank” TripAdvisor.Com:

The following video proves that the “hot air” in government doesn’t just issue from politician’s mouths… With nearly 335,000 views, this clip is a gas:

Bo Burnham gives a brief tutorial with eight steps on how to be a YouTube star. With nearly 260,000 views today, it’s a funny look at the lengths some vloggers go to to become popular.

Aussie vlogger Natalie Tyler Tran of CommunityChannel has entertained nearly 144,000 viewers today exposing herself as that person in the house who puts back all-but-the-last-dribble empty container back in the fridge. Quite adorable, she’s fun to watch and with her accent she’s a pleasure to listen to:

Sheeba the Cat and her pet man play a game of Risk in the next video. Sheeba, a funnel-headed black cat, exhasperates her man (who alerts her to the fact that he called in sick to work to entertain her) by making illegal moves and trying to eat the game pieces. The clincher to this funny video is when he asks her if she’s ready to play TWISTER. With nearly 500,000 views this week, Cat Plays Risk by Daneboe:

As many of you know, I am a fan of FRED, and last month Fred was a guest star on Nickelodeon’s iCarly. I actually cancelled an appointment to be able to stay home and watch the episode… lol. I love the show anyway and watch it with my kids, but we definitely couldn’t miss the double… or, quadruple? pleasure of Fred in a faux-iFight with Freddie, iCarly’s director and producer, not to mention ardent-worshipper of Carly and antagonist to iCarly’s co-host Sam. With over 5 million views in a moth:

And now, one of YouTube’s most watched videos of all time, nearly 85 million views, Achmed the Dead Terrorist. Creator and comedian Jeff Dunham has been one of my favorite comedians since I first saw his act on HBO about twenty years ago, when he, Peanut (a woozle) and Jose Jalepeno… on a stick… made both my mother and I laugh, a rare teenage-parent event.

And NOW… it’s your turn! What are your favorite videos? Post links in the comments or, better yet, blog them and join the VVW meme!

The Boat by Nam Le

The Boat by Nam Le

Title: The Boat
Author: Nam Le
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (a division of Random House, Inc. New York)
Publish Date: May 16, 2008
ISBN: 9780307268082

The thing is not to write what no one else could have written, but to write what only you could have written.

The Boat is a collection of seven short stories from author Nam Le.  Some are more vignettes than short stories, and all showcase Le’s incredible writing talent.  Nam has an amazing ability to get inside his character, be it a 60-year-old man just learning he has cancer or a 9-year-old girl in Hiroshima days before the atomic bomb.  The extensive detailing Le does gives the worlds he writes a certain reality, right down to speech patterns and slang.

Brief summary of the seven stories:
Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice: This first story is a view into the life a young Vietnamese writer in Iowa City, who is up against a deadline in his writers workshop. He scoffs at the idea of stooping to writing an “ethnic” story, but with his father’s visit, he decides to write the story of his father’s experiences in My Lai, South Vietnam army, and the tortures of a “reeducation” camp. Through the interviewing of his father, the relationship with whom has always been strained and somewhat distant, possibly even abusive, both come to understand one another better.

Cartagena: Nam’s writing style in this short story is reminiscent of Cormac McCarney’s. The lack of quotation marks and the quick changes of settings are disorienting, adding the sense of surrealism in the life of Ron, the 14 year old hit man in Medellin, Colombia.

Meeting Elise is the story of a man with cancer, still heartbroken over the loss of his lover 30 years his junior, who is about to meet his only child, whom he hasn’t seen since she was a baby when the witch, his ex-wife, “blew the county, dangling [their] daughter from her broom…”

InHalflead Bay, Jamie has a turn of luck and goes from a loser to school hero after scoring the winning goal.  Because of it he catches the eye of Alison, and because of that he’s in the cross-hairs of Alison’s psychotic boyfriend.  Jamie must decide whether he will remain the coward he had been or will he fight.

Hiroshima, written in the stream of consciousness of nine-year-old Mayako, is glimpse into the mindset and life of the Japanese pre-atom bomb.

Tehran Calling is the story of a Sarah Middleton, who goes to Iran to visit her best friend, who’s involved in a subversive group, and to escape the heartbreak of a love lost. 

The Boat is a heartbreaking story of the reality of the dangers many refugees face.  It is a story of survival, loss, and new connections.  This story is particularly close to my heart as it is about a 16-year-old Vietnamese girl named Mai, which is my youngest daughter’s Vietnamese name.

Nam Le’s writing is visceral and beautiful at the same time.  His style varies in each story appropriately as each story’s characters and subject matter wants it.  He is sensitive to the emotions and world of his characters and shows an amazingly real view into the lives of the mains.  The intricacies of a 14 year old assassin’s life in Colombia to a 60 year old man in New York City dealing with cancer and loss are so real that you forget it is written by a young Vietnamese man in Australia, as each story’s characters are as real as if you were watching them via spy-cam.  Le’s writing is hypnotic and compulsive; he is a literary pied-piper and I cannot help being carried along through the stories.

From a personal perspective, I love the first and last stories the most, as they deal with Vietnamese characters.  My youngest daughter’s father is from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), and he came to the US in 1996.  His father came to Los Angeles shortly after his release from a “re-education” camp, followed by his wife a few years later.  My ex, with whom I’m still very close, followed a route common to many Vietnamese who immigrated in the mid-90′s and later: first to LA, then Iowa City to work for the meat-packing company IBP (now under Tyson, inc) and finally here in Logansport.  Because of my daughter, I am especially interested in everything Vietnamese, buying her any book I find on the subject or checking it out from the library, buying her CDs, cooking dishes for her (and ignore her two older sisters complaints about it when I do), and looking up sites and videos on the Internet.  She is very proud of her culture, as I think she should be.

This is my Mai

My daughter Maggie (her Vietnamese name is Mai)

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