Posted by Brock
Yes, that is a picture of Ash from Evil Dead vs. Ron Swanson. Would Ron Swanson disapprove of this style of personal blogging? Yes. That is why we are fighting.
Tonight, I stumbled across my friend Britt’s wrap up of her entire Year 2011. Partly, it is a testament to what an excellent writer she is, and partly is a testament to what an open human being she is. I left inspired and overjoyed by reading it; thanks to beautiful moments I experienced first or second hand, and to moments I can only fathom as to their meaning. If there is anyone who lives the kind of life I have (stranger than fiction does not begin to cover it) it would be Britt.
Taking a page from her book, I’m going to share some truths/moments/ridiculousness that 2011 brought to me:
1. Some people aren’t in your life for a reason, and you don’t have to fight that. This stands in stark opposition to everything you are taught as a child about reciprocal emotional connections, what we condition ourselves to believe on social media, and even the guiding principal of “it’s all who you know.” The most important step between pre-adult and adult is knowing you can let that divide occur without regret. A regular system of spring cleanings and doubling down on winners is both easier than it should be and worth the time.
2. Let your heroes know their impact, even when it makes you “that guy”. Pays off so hard. I was wrong about this when I first moved here. Everyone deserves their space, and even tourists should recognize this when they see it, but there are appropriate times to See The Magic.
3. The people who defined you will define others just as easily.
4. Make. Make all of the time. With anyone, doing anything. All those things you do to delay, to divert, to waste— You stay there cause it feels good. I love video games, but I had to redefine love when I saw the first completed draft of my book. Addictive behavior is my greatest downfall and my greatest strength. For all the dumb things I succumb to, compulsion to change the world is slowly overtaking all of them. Addiction used to keep me up at night, force me to fear myself, ruin the plans I’d made. Now addiction keeps me up at night even longer, because I have a list of 145 things to do this year, and I want to do them all before February. Also… maybe there’s a season of Friday Night Lights I haven’t seen yet. GET OFF MY BACK, I’M A SCIENTIST.
5. Say everything. The only bad ideas are those you don’t share. Unless you are Hitler. Point #5 has a Hitler clause.
6. Support your friends. Not just because they’ll support you later, but because you’ll learn so much from both their success and their failures. Mostly their failures. Rule 6.5: Never gloat. You’re next.
7. Acting is the most hilarious, difficult, stupid, genius, beautiful, awful career in the world. There is no line between total success and complete failure, and my God is that a humbling experience. The entire process, from audition notices to final product, is so frighteningly egotistical it could only be an American institution. And I am a patriot.
8. The only important friendships are the ones you can weaponize.
9. Do stand-up. Even if you hate performing or speaking in front of people, find a coffee shop open mic. Chances are there are no people there anyway. My satisfaction with life doubled overnight. Now, every crappy moment has this silver lining of being free material. Very Zen.
10. When your friend establishes themselves as the face of a stupid subculture, don’t tell them that. Just dance. WUBWUBWUBWUBWUB.
11. A day job makes you into a human being. A night job gives you meaning. Bruce Wayne has known this for 6500 issues.
12. Your friends will fail you; strangers paid a daily minimum rate will make your dreams come true.
13. Cage The Elephant just gave up and decided to be The Pixies on their latest album, and they are so much better for it. Sometimes, you too, must give up and be The Pixies.
14. Watch your friends get married while covering your eyes, as if witnessing an axe murder. Conversely, never cover your eyes during an axe murder. They are much more rare than watching fun friends become… mature. Also, for basic self-defense purposes.
15. Be both a Maker and a Critic. There’s innumerable reasons these two streams shouldn’t cross, but if you do it right, you’ll maximize the learning from both. Every voice helps the discussion, and too many fear the consequences and remain silent. If you’re absolutely truthful, no one can fault you for it. If the guys from The Darkest Hour or Our Idiot Brother never hire me over my review, that’ll be okay. Take it further: be a dick to yourself. Others can be antagonistic, but you should beat them to it. You have invested interest in making this person better. Don’t pull a single punch. If possible, do this at a microphone in front of many strangers. Have I mentioned how awesome stand-up can be? It’s therapy that you get paid for, and sometimes there are nachos!
16. Watch your little sister get married, but only while half covering your eyes, cause somehow her beau survived the four year gauntlet of personal attacks, Goldbergian-traps, and assassination attempts. You know what? He kinda deserves it. But don’t tell him. Or do. He’s in med school, you’ll be begging him for financing in five years. Let’s hope he forgets the Christmas where you got him a shovel, so he could dig his own grave.
17. If your friends want to start a high concept cover band based on a suggestive pun, totes do it. If your girlfriend wants to be Portishead for a night, do that. If the thing you mumbled in the shower made you laugh, take a few hours to commit the full band version to tape. You’re the son of a jingle-writer, you should be capable of churning out one song nearly as catchy as “The Great Salina Pothole.”
18. Try everything once “the wrong way.” Surprise, it’s probably better. Except for that one thing in the bedroom. You’re doing that one thing perfectly. And probably just that. NO ONE CORRECT ME.
19. If you look like a famous serial killer, use it. You’ve got blood on your hands, but it’s all from SAG-E stand-ins, so you’re safe.
20. Go without eating, go without driving, go without bar trips; never skip a live performance of someone you love. You don’t know when they’ll up and O.D.’ing on you. Or when Louis C.K. will show up and do a full set at the ONE Patton Oswalt Largo show show you don’t attend. Or when Death From Above 1979 will do a random one-off show at that beautiful music venue that will unceremoniously close a few months later.
21. Joss Whedon is God. Yeah, I watched the Whedonverse this year. Nerd cred card; please give now. Told my parents to get Firefly for themselves, and it wound up being my X-mas present. Point being, I have a spare copy to give you if you haven’t followed through on this yet.
22. Amongst all the idiotic, cruel failures of our existence, some are worth fighting back against.
23. This thing we do, day in and day out, is incredibly funny. Despite any advice given in the first 22 points, never take life serious. Right now you’re here, one day you won’t be, nothing will change. It’s the greatest punchline in the book, but it’s your punchline too.
24. Wear sunscreen. This is really just a tie back into #4, since that was the major change this year brought. Just MAKE. All of the time. Doesn’t matter if it is good, comprehensible, or interesting to the rest of the world. This song exemplifies that idea perfectly. Why would Baz make this? Well, why would Baz make any of those Baz things? Probably just for Baz’s own enjoyment, and I’m sure that dude is happy.
Posted by Mike
Piracy destroys industries. We all know it, and don’t have to hide from it. The mp3s we downloaded from Napster in the mid-1990s probably helped destroy America’s recording industry.
But that certainly doesn’t mean that the recording industry should have then been given broad powers to eliminate its competition and exact revenge. That’d be like trying to kill a fly with an atom bomb — the collateral damage would be unjustifiable, and besides: that level of overkill wouldn’t even address the real problem.
Corporations, like people, ought to be forced to innovate to survive.
While those record labels in the 1990s were busy suing their customers for downloading Metallica albums, Apple was doing the hard work of finding new ways to monetize what Napster was doing. And it worked. Apple got rich because it evolved.
That’s the real American story: we create new worlds, even at the cost of the old one. We’re not the kind of people who keep old businesses around and old institutions in place simply because they’ve been there for years (if we were those people, we’d still be an agrarian society). When our circumstances change, we change, too, often for the better.
We built the Internet to match that innovative spirit, that willingness to embrace the chaos of change. The Internet is the living embodiment of our belief in the constructive power of unbridled creativity and open access to one another. It is our purest notions of free enterprise in motion.
#SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) would allow content providers to shut down other people’s websites simply by claiming that they are in violation of copyright. No judicial oversight. They would just have to write a letter.
Giving these corporations that kind of power doesn’t make sense for anyone. It is anti-competitive, anti-innovation, and wouldn’t even solve the problem. It would merely create a de facto Internet blacklist.
Several influential sites, like Wikipedia, Reddit, and Mozilla, have blacked themselves out today in protest of SOPA.
We would never presume to claim that we are anywhere near as important as them. But we are taking this opportunity to ask our readers and friends to consider what the Internet would be like if we allowed corporations with vested interests to control what we can and cannot access online.
We built the online world together; we should defend it together.
Read more: What is SOPA? via Gizmodo
Posted by Lindsey
Gym advertisements are pretty standard. Guy in shorts on a treadmill. Girl in sports bra with weights. Make sure to include a healthy amount of body oil/sweat, hardcore expressions and defined muscles and you’ve pretty much done your job. We get it. You want a good body, it’s going to take work.
Equinox fancies itself as more than a gym, though, and for the $130/month membership fee, it better be. Unfortunately it’s only “more than a gym” in the sense that they want you to think that being a member is a lifestyle statement. Just look at the website. The slideshow of their instructors shows them in their casual wear of course.
Cause they’re people! Stylish, cool, slim people, just like you! Ahh isn’t it comforting to be away from the riff-raff of those discount gyms? Maybe Johan and I will grab an Intelligentsia Coffee, go shopping at J.Crew, and talk about Proust after yoga one of these days!
In this spirit, they hired professional creep Terry Richardson to shoot their new campaign and everyone’s head exploded for various reasons including but not limited to pressing questions such as: Why’d he use models with zero muscle definition? Why does it look like a porny Brooks Brothers campaign? How can we tell if these ladies actually work out if they’re not sitting on a yoga mat? And other such pressing matters.
But the thing is…Equinox has been using the “not your average gym ad” technique for a while now and weirdly enough, Terry Richardson’s version includes a lot less nudity than previous iterations. Here’s a 2008 campaign.
So whatever, no one loves reminding the world how weird Terry Richardson is as much as I do, but come on, this isn’t even original.
Posted by Erick
Somebody discovered an ancient coin that was probably the entrance to a Roman brothel. Cool, but not fantastically interesting…except to Caroline McDonald.
“This is the perfect archaelogical object. It’s sexy and provocative in the best sense of the word,” said Caroline McDonald, museum curator.
First off, what is sexy and provocative in the WORST sense of the word? Secondly, how kinky is Caroline that her perfect archaeological find is the entrance to a brothel? Thirdly, with all that being said, I wonder what other erotic delights of ancient times have penetrated her museum?
She goes on to say, “Museums should engage with these more grown-up and sometimes less comfortable topics.” This is all well and good, but since I’m nowhere close to in a grown-up mood, here is something that may have penetrated Caroline’s museum.
Posted by Kyle
Caved: 2011 movies, no order except #1
- Le Havre
- A Separation
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Tree of Life
- Rise of Apes/MI:GP/Fast Five
- Certified Copy
- Le Quattro Volte
- Midnight in Paris (why not)
- and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
Close calls: This Is Not a Film and The Turin Horse (2012), Hugo, Take Shelter, The Muppets, Shame, Moneyball, the NBA Finals.
Posted by Joe
On the verge of the Iowa Caucuses, one Iowan reminds us that contrary to image of simple farmers tending to their amber waves of grain that’s repeated in campaign videos and 24-hour news coverage, Iowa is a lot more urban, progressive, and industrious than we may think. Also, farming is hard.
[video mildly NSFW]
Posted by Mike
Last week, DJ Earworm released his annual mashup of the biggest Billboard hits of the year, “World Go Boom,” and the fact that it was a vast improvement over last year’s lackluster compilation is both a credit to Earworm’s evolving curatorial skills as well as a verdict on 2011 pop in general.
The repetitive but infectious hook relies heavily on Katy Perry’s “Firework” and “Last Friday Night,” along with a great use of Britney Spears’ “Till The World Ends” and a (surprisingly underused) sample from “Super Bass.”
Most notably, there’s a satisfying, foreboding climb, but that speaks mostly to the delirious creepiness of Calvin Harris’ beat in Rihanna’s “We Found Love” — a sort of perversion of David Guetta’s signature sunny-eurotrash sound, house music from a hopeless place.
In hindsight: Adele was the breakout artist of 2011, LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” was its purest summer hit, Watch the Throne was the greatest album of the year, but it was Rihanna’s late-to-the-game autumn single that turned out to be the pop song of 2011, with its frantic nostalgia and sad undertones, its exhilarating builds to nowhere and final, exasperated surrender.
Posted by Lindsey
I’m sad to say, but W thought we should know where to buy the looks.
Mike: HAHAHA oh my god this completely misses the point, and beautifully. Dunst plays a woman who is trapped by the very same glamourous aesthetic that marks the film’s gorgeous cinematography. The visual design is, on some level, satirical. Brilliant, W.
Posted by Mike
I am in love with this … what would we even call it? NPR parody? Podcast sendup? Satirical radio-drama? Whatever it is, it’s one of the funniest things I’ve heard in awhile: a fake This American Life where Ira Glass makes a sex tape.
Obviously, if you’ve never heard of TAL, it won’t make any sense to you at all, and you should probably skip it entirely. But if you listen to the show even semi-regularly, you’ll be surprised at how many inside-jokes you’ll catch about the structure, the tone, the more or less predictable (yet oddly satisfying) build and resolution of conflict in each act — this parody made me realize how intimately I know the real show.
And it gets every excruciating detail right: the music, the pacing, the cultural signifiers, Glass’ relentless self-deprecation, even the right cameos (Alex Bloomberg of Planet Money) and namechecks (Peter Sagal fromWait Wait… Don’t Tell Me). I like that the video is deliberately slow, taxing your patience like the real NPR, and that the jokes stay within the universe they’re trying to lampoon. Best of all, it fully commits, never apologizing for its geekiness and bizarre, esoteric knowledge of NPR.
This is a prime example of how great parody, when done truly well, is practically indistinguishable from fan fiction.