Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Turn Signal

Why can't you use a turn signal? ANY OF YOU? Mad scientists built a lever into your wheeled robot house, on purpose, just so you could alert other robot drivers that you are moving laterally. And just to keep it simple, this lever lives next to where your fucking hands go.

Your assumption that you can just weave in and out of traffic all willy-nilly with little regard for your fellow travelers is fucking egregious. EGREGIOUS.

As with all things in life, when you make a decision, please take a second to reflect on how your decision is going to effect the people around you, and in the world. Even Ashton Kutcher knows that small actions make a difference, and he's a fucking dumbass. Then he made a shitty movie about it and made things worse. Don't see it. It's terrible and it doesn't make any sense. In a bad way, not in a good way. Ashton Kutcher did not consider the butterfly effect of his own movie back in 2004 that makes me feel angry today. The fucking nerve.

Thor 2 didn't make any sense either, but that movie goddamn ruled. Do you know why? Because the filmmakers didn't try to logic something that they didn't really understand, they were just like, "um, bibbity bobbity bifrost SCIENCE = MAGIC BLOODSMOKE" and then everything was fine.

Ashton Kutcher, on the other hand, tried to explain something that he didn't understand to serve his own agenda, like when Christians appropriate "science" for their religimagic, which is backwards. Technically not Ashton, but the guys who made that movie. You can't say "magic because of science." That defeats the purpose of fucking magic. Science will negate the magic. BUT! Undiscovered science? That is magic. Do you see? Idiots. EGREGIOUS.

Don't try to make sense of something you cannot fathom in the first place. Or...no, that's wrong. Always try to make sense of things. But do not flaunt your blatant misunderstanding of a concept on film. Talk to someone who knows what the what before you act like an idiot.

Then again, I got my shit on here, and I have absolutely no fucking idea what I'm talking about.

I didn't get in a car accident or anything. I just really don't like cab drivers. They're slippery bastards.

AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT? I don't think cab drivers really like NPR! I think I just get into a cab and they switch the radio to NPR because I have glasses and I dress like a hungover junior high school teacher. Well, your deduction is inaccurate, cabbies, because I like my ignorant pop music from time to time, and I'm only wearing these pants because finding pants I enjoy is very difficult, and I'm not as cultured as you think I am. BOOM!!!! Suck it.


Monday, May 5, 2014

A Love Letter to Quizzes

Dear quizzes,

I guess this can go back to assigning things, in a way, but not really. Because this is more...I don't know. This is more.

Yesterday my dad sent me an article called "Why Are Social Media Quizzes So Popular?" and my first thought was, obviously: um, because they're fucking awesome.

I love internet quizzes. At first taking them was kind of fun, but now it's a full-blown obsession. I'm fascinated.

I'm not linking the article my dad shared because it's stupid and it's basically an advertisement for the Chicago theater scene, full of clickable cues to determine which character you are from Sound of Music or Peter and the Starcatcher. Also, what the devil is Peter and the Starcatcher? The article doesn't let you know, but it's playing at the Goodman. No, sorry, it's playing at the Bank of America Theater. Honestly? Who gives a shit?

And then, in the most telling fashion, the article lists and links all of these quizzes you can take, and how theaters are using these quizzes to do absolutely fucking nothing. They're doing it for the clicks. Theater employees even explicitly admit they don't know how to use the data they're collecting to their advantage, which is probably why they're in media.

Well done, college. People like to write stuff, and no one can draw a fucking conclusion that isn't a personal preference. This, by the way, is why I hate Buzzfeed.

But I loooooooooooooooove their quizzes.

Sometimes I feel like the way a quiz is worded lets me understand the motivations behind changes in pop culture. When Buzzfeed asks which city we would like to visit, do their marketing algorithms change the ads I see to echo my choice?  I mean, if they're not doing that they're idiots.

Why do quizzes ask about food? Pick a Beyonce? Pick a social media platform? Pick a sunset? What is the relevance of these things now, after a year's worth of collected information? Do they write quizzes on a whim, or are they specifically tailored to learn something about their audience? I'm trying to figure it out. It's probably Google's fault. Fucking Google. Google is the worst.

Major money-making websites generate a massive amount of income by creating pointless quizzes that we choose to share. The company thinks anyone who pays attention is their target audience. They will pay attention again. "Keep them doing useless fucking crap," says the company, "maybe we can sell it to someone who knows what to do with aggregated data."

Apparently people cheat on these quizzes to yield an expected result. Because...why? They're trying to create a way for people to identify them, so people will see them the way they want to be seen. So as far as the audience is concerned, it's is less important for them to find they're own voice than to be told that they identify with an already substantiated voice.  That's just...it's so sad.

That meas we're a society of personal branding instead of a society of people. That is terrible. How is it that some 20-year old asshole that works at Buzzfeed is granted the authority to determine which character I am from Star Wars? Why do I believe Buzzfeed? Why am I happy or dissatisfied with my result? WHY DO I GIVE A SHIT?

The article, by the way, doesn't deal with any of these questions, and that pisses me off. But maybe the most telling thing about the article is that without saying anything, the message is clear: social media quizzes are popular because companies are telling us they're relevant, and we believe them. Pop culture is about money, which means it does not reflect the culture, it controls it. I give a shit because Buzzfeed and Facebook tell me to give a shit.

Look at that: they are telling me they are relevant, so what did I do? I spent an entire post trying to fucking justify their relevance.

Goddammit, they are villainous, dexterous, bastardous geniuses. I love quizzes.



This Love Letters series is for true. Click here for the list so far.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Love Letter to Having a Day

Dear Having a Day,

Jesus fuck I love having a day.

Requirements for having a day include:

1) totally unplanned
2) probably hungover
3) two or more persons, at least one of which is displaced from their normal residence by at least 500 ft
4) hilarity

It's not necessarily that you are hilarious (although I'm always hilarious, natch) when you're having a day, it's more that, like, when you're having a day, everything is hilarious. Having a day is something we invented. A term we assigned? No, something we Named.

When we have a day we tend to speak in primitive basics: "We are people and we are having a day."

It's never "Hey, can we have a day tomorrow?" It's always "Come play! We are having a day." Sometimes we try to plan it, but whenever we plan we fail.

Sometimes we can see having a day up ahead like a silhouette at sunset, our terrible, inevitable future: "Uh oh, Rassles. We're going to have a day tomorrow aren't we?"

"Yes, Schmee. I'm afraid we might."

Bloomingdale Trail. I found this on the google, I have no idea who took it. Rad though, yeah?
Sometimes having a day is just wandering around petting strangers' dogs, or an impromptu bar crawl in rain, or deciding to get drunk but instead we just sit around watching Back to the Future MST3K-style. Sometimes we go to Chinatown. Sometimes we walk down the street and collect high-fives. Sometimes we accidentally end up at the Circus Museum in Baraboo. Sometimes we hike the Bloomingdale trail, but not anymore because they're turning it into a sensible, three-mile elevated park. Chicago loses its wilderness foot by foot, day by day.

Sometimes we go see a psychic who tells us that throughout our childhood our usually-absent father, with whom we do not get along, had a secret family in Georgia, and because of his sins we are cursed to never find love unless we pay the psychic $45 a week so she can light giant candles and meditate and cleanse us of our misfortune and woe. Sometimes that psychic describes, in detail, our damaging miscarriage (????????WHUUUT??????). She says we have good business sense, we love our job cuz its what we do best, we do not enjoy reading and are not terribly creative. Sometimes that psychic also says that no man will love us because we are too ugly and intimidating (it was 6pm and I smelled like PBR and my soft pants had schnauzers on them) so we might want to consider settling with a woman just so we aren't so lonely anymore. Sometimes psychics are stupid fucking cunts that try ruin our day, but they fail, and do you know why? Because we are having a fucking DAY, that's why.

Nothing can ruin a day. Spending $25 on a shitty tarot card reading is worth it, and plus? Awesome. She did not list a single accurate or recognizable trait of mine. It was like the exact opposite of a psychic, treading water in the toilet of lies. Seriously, did this witch divine vibes from a stranger on the sidewalk? Who was this stranger? Can I meet her? Would we be friends? I doubt it, we have nothing in common, and half of my apartment is books. Also, absent father? You kidding me? My dad worked from home. I saw him every day. Too ugly to be in a relationship with a man? Foolish, fuckeyed, gypsy harpy, your mystic science is stuh-rate up slander.

But none of that matters, because Sara and I were having a day.

Sometimes when we're having a day we buy all of the champagne at CVS and drink on the porch and yell at people on the street so they'll join us in our day. Sometimes we stay in and turn off all the lights and drink bloody marys and watch Buffy. Shooting the shit, being an idiot within the safe confines of your friends.

It occurs to me that the majority of them when I'm having a day, Schmee is there. Well done, Schmee. We are people and we are good at things.




This Love Letters series is for true. Click here for the list so far.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Love Letter to Diner

Dear Diner,

I love you.

Sure, you're sexist. Then again, you take place in 1959. If you weren't sexist, this would be a fantasy, and your strength is your realism. 

If any movie perfectly illustrates the dynamics of friendship without relying on stereotypes, this is it. You can keep your buddy films and your bromances and your coming-of-age. 

Diner is one of the only movies that leaves me with: Yes. This is how friends behave. This is friendship amongst a group of equals.  It's not about heroes and sidekicks or mentors and students or rivals that 'respect' each other.

I think one of the main reasons I identify with Diner so much is because there are (please don't hate me for where I'm headed, here) so fucking few healthy female friendships represented in popular culture. Why is it that female friends are always jealous and backstabby? My friends aren't like that. If I met a person like that, I would just not be friends with them.

Hollywood has very, very, very low expectations of friendship, especially with women. Stories about camaraderie are usually better friendship barometers than stories about friends.  Movies about growing up that are written or directed by a person who is, simultaneously, coming into their own self, are always the best.
Diner's success lies in the level of comfort these actors feel around each other, how they ricochet and couple and strain. I don't think I have a single friend I relate to in the exact same way as another. Friendships are fueled by reflection. It's how you respond to each other, the unique phrases you use, how you reminisce...if you reminisce at all. Some friends are for arguing and debates. Some friends need protection. Some give the best advice, some spill out a slow reveal of our similarities or flagrant differences.

The things that I remember about my friends are the parts that were easy, and those are the things I tell the most.  Staying up all night in on the train to New Orleans with Bobbay, shaking creamers because Muffy told us that if you shook a creamer, it would turn into butter. What did we talk about? Shit, I don't know. Buttermakers? I just know it was effortless and rad, and my favorite part of that trip was getting there. One summer I remember drinking around a fire reading passages from erotic novels with CrazyLiz and Phil and Tyler: I remember the nuances ("You know what word I'm not comfortable with? Nuance. It's not a real word" - Modell, Diner) and stress that each of used and how differently we all read the text. Driving around with Schmee in college looking for cigarettes, refusing to buy our own, just having a day. We weren't out of control or fucked up or anything, we were just...us. Sometimes it's the simple lazy times, when no one is faking it, when you're completely at ease and you don't need to work at anything, when you're not trying, when you're just effortlessly idle. But tthings end, and people grow.

Diner takes place just before the minute hand strikes sixties: the world is about to change, to call out the boys' collective narcissism and smash it up. But no matter what, they'll always have the guys at the diner.

Then they're getting married, having kids, starting new jobs and leaving town. But you know that the next time they're together, Modell and Eddie are going to bicker about absolutely anything and everything, Shrevie and Boogie will remain friendly, but tensely competitive, Fenwick will probably be drunk and brilliant and pissing off everyone else.

And it's stories we all know: the universal, gap-mouthed look Eddie gets when he realizes he just lost a pointless argument, but he still keeps arguing because he must, because he is making a goddamn point, and then later on he brushes it off, why so serious?

Seriously, Steve fucking Guttenberg is a goddamn genius in this movie (words that have never, ever been spoken, and technically they still haven't since I typed them, but whatever jerk). As far as I'm concerned his role (Eddie) is one the most well-actualized characters I have ever seen - because we know him, we can tell how he's going to react to anything outside the sphere of Diner because he does such a fucking perfect job reacting to things. I could go on and on and on, but that shit's boring to list and dazzling to watch. I'll let the movie do it.

In a way, I guess, it's about taking shit seriously: my serious business is much more fucking important than your serious business. Nah, just kidding, super sors, we cool?

Maybe it's because, stripped of the question of masculinity and what it means to be a man and all that bullshit (which I could talk about, but don't want to) Diner is really about learning who you are and admitting those faults, and how none of it matters with the people you love. 

Maybe I the reason I love Diner is because it's like...it's like when an old friend gives you a confident a kick in the ass and tells you to fuck off, so you do a round of shots and make fun of each other for five minutes and feel better about the world. 



So I guess I have a Love Letters series now.  I mean, I do. Click here for the list so far.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Love Letter to Preposterous

Dear preposterous,

Of all the words that mean "contrary to common sense," including but not limited to:

1) ridiculous       2) absurd       3) foolish       4) silly       5) etc.

You are the best.

I'm predisposed towards the preposterous automatically, but only in a very specific way. I like my preposterousness to have intent, somehow. I think it's because preposterous things are best when they veer swiftly from a serious something. When they have a reason and that reason is, itself, preposterous.  All that is probably rooted somehow in absurdism, right?

Still, I'm not directly talking absurdism, here - like the disharmony created by humanity's continuous search for meaning in a meaninglessness universe -  for example: mathematicians rummaging for the secrets of pi, or people who do the "paleo diet" (which is worst name ever, and here's a tip if you want to lose weight: exercise (yes, fine, pots and kettles and their inherent blackness, whatever, but at least I'm not jumping on fads)) because, you guys, we have no way of knowing that Paleolithic humans refrained from starch.  Or Catholicism. Pi, paleo diets, Catholicism. All the same thing. Everything is the same thing, nothing is different, everything is different, everything is absurd, but omg, why? So obviously I agree with absurdism, pretty much, but I don't like the fact that I do. Which is, of course, fucking absurd.

But I'm talking about artistically preposterous, or personally preposterous, or professionally preposterous. The kind of preposterousness that springs from the cracks of too much seriousness rather than a lack of understanding, of the willing neglect of things that are sensible in order to embrace the nonsense, because of the nonsense. It's just more fun that way.

In light of disappearing flights, I'm going to use LOST as an example here: LOST excelled at characterization. Each person portrayed on that show was pompously elaborate, fat with memories and glaring idiosyncrasies.

The plot to LOST was developed, but shittingly preposterous, and that made me love it more. The more entangled and irrational each story became, a pervasive concern arose among viewers: the scriptwriters wrote themselves into fallacy. But then instead of writing themselves out of it they just said, "Eh, fuck it. Let's do this instead: EVERYTHING IS MAGIC."

Look at that foot. Why is the foot there? Because it used to be a statue of Taweret. Why was there a statue? Because someone built it. Probably an Egyptian. Why Taweret? Because she was the goddess of makin' babies, and no one could have babies on the island so the statue was an appeal for fertility. Why? Because some people like babies and the island is magic.

That is my idea of a good time. Instead of solving our problems, let's just use magic.
[pri-pos-ter-us s, -truh s]
completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense; absurd; senseless; utterly foolish: a preposterous tale.
Origin: 1535-45; from Latin praeposterus with the the hinder part foremost. See pre-, posterior, -ous.
unreasonable, excessive, ridiculous. See absurd.

Sure, saying that using magic is better could be utterly foolish. Why? Number one, magic isn't real. Two, it's cheating. But most importantly it means taking that thing that we were all wondering: is there a fucking logical explanation for all this? No. There isn't. There is only magic.

But how, do you ask, is that putting the hinder part foremost? That which defines preposterous, which is why this is preposterous and not absurd? Literally, "pre-" meaning before; part of "posterior" meaning subsequent, followed by, hinder; and "-ous" meaning...you know...the part of the word that makes this an adjective. Either way, preposterous magic is the driving purpose. We're well aware of what should be done, if things were right and proper, and we just...do it differently for no goddamn reason.

Things that are literally backwards and preposterous, just off the top of my head: 

  • Looking-Glass magic plum-cakes (hand it round first, then cut it after)
  • “We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.”
  • Put your thing down, flip it, and reverse it 
  • posting something on Facebook just to see different sidebar ads
  • butt chugging

The obvious preposterous thing to list is "don't put the cart before the horse." But what people always forget is this: horses can push, too. 

Do horses dream of hauling booze or is the very notion of this preposterous?



So I guess I have a Love Letters series now.  I mean, I do. Click here for the list so far.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Love Letter to Bread

Dear bread,

As far as love letters go, I've already fallen behind on these bad boys. I refuse to give up now.

So, dear bread, for you I shall write Shakespearean sonnets. Multiple sonnets written with the same theme, by the way, are totally called a crown of sonnets. How rad is that? I love that. It's like a George RR Martin novel. Speaking of which, if I ever have a son and give him two alliterated middle names beginning with R, will he automatically become a best-selling fantasy novelist? Let's hope. 

My sad attempts at poetry did not go over well in the past, but fuck all. I think it's fun. More fun poetry is what I say. No joke, I walk round shouting it.


So the past two months have yielded ZERO worthy sonnets, so I think I'm just going to post some screw ups and notes that I just...it is not fucking easy to write about bread, you guys. 

Ode to Bread #1: The Sourdough

This taste and smell is the hearth of hearts (gag yourself)
Warmed and golden brown, with crunch
Snuggled crumb sponges and flirts
With the cushioned strength to pad a punch  (< punching bread should be a thing. make it a thing.)

If breads and scientific theories shared beers,
Sourdough and cosmic expansion would bond
They'd bro around and feed for years
- stories about heritage (because of starters) and stuff. Rhymes with bond?

That slight sour snap is electric, literally
(something about protons, taste cells and triggers)
- With a...goddammit, SHUT  UP.
A thick, snacky respite from life's...rigors? ??? eh?  Visit rhymezone.

(This line is about how bread is delicious)
(This line is about loaves and fishes)

"There is evidence that the protons that are abundant in sour substances can directly enter the sour taste cells. This transfer of positive charge into the cell can itself trigger an electrical response." - kinda neat. mention that.

Ode to Bread #2: Fraternity

You're there when I knead you (ads;lfkjasd;flkjsdfl;kdsf I am hilarious)

omg zucchini bread is soooooo goooood
Breaking bread is universal
share your bread


punching bread (because frat brothers punch each other? f;aldksjfa;sdlk full circ)
bakin bread (bacon bread?)
makin bread
makin money
gettin paid
workin WHAT
gettin laid

Writing about bread is HARD. Like crust. what.

Ode to Bread #3: Shall I Compare Thee

Thou musn't. Shit. Thou mustn't shy from olde Englishe ck olde-type spelling.
If thou shalt hap to fail to rise,
For want of leaven, there's naught so sad
Thine self is leveled! O damn mine eyes!
Condemned me to darkness, my flour comrade

Ending lines, no matter what:

I sorrow for celiacs but fad-jumpers suck
Gluten-free is not a real thing, you fuck. 

Ode to Bread #4: Haiku, Bitches

Bread tastes so damn good
I could eat like a fuckton
just trust me, okay?


See, I told you this was hard.



So I guess I have a Love Letters series now.  I mean, I do. Click here for the list so far.