Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Location

Hey all,

I started a new blog with some friends, which is where I'll be for the foreseeable future. It's called Those Hovercrafts. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Insta-Nostalgia; Missing 2010 Already

Every year since 2007 this DJ, DJ Earworm, has put together a mashup of the top 25 Billboard hits of the year, which he calls "United State of Pop." Typically he takes an emotional-sounding melody (like the "Love the Way You Lie" piano) and overlays recognizable lines from various songs, cued up to rhyme with each other. It's a simple system that makes the full collection of songs seem bittersweet and nostalgic. Simple but affective.

It's an audio/visual synopsis of the past year, just like any year-in-movies or books or news aggregations. Taken together with those other compilations it forms some semblance of comprehension that the last year was something discreet, recognizable. Plus, recollecting the high moments of the last twelve months is such a fun exercise; it compresses 365 days of mostly mediocrity to a few hundred words or, in this case, minutes of poignant images and sound.

In any long enough time frame there's bound to be a montage worth of compelling sounds, pictures and ideas, and looking back at 2010 in this way makes it beautiful. In annual lists the year comes off as worthwhile, as if it helped us reach our current state of understanding in some way. When really, this year was the same as any other -- alternately cold and hot and full of as much suffering as any other time in recent memory. But it's nice to think it meant something.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Jingles

It's been a busy Christmas. Not so much for me -- I mean, you know, same as ever, I guess -- but mainly for musicians. It seems like everyone even vaguely relevant released a Christmas song this year, which seems a little odd.

Typically contemporary Christmas songs are the stuff of tired musicians looking for a quick payday (it wouldn't be unreasonable to be astounded that anyone actually payed money for Jessica Simpson's Rejoyce: The Christmas Album in 2004). But 2010 is a new year, and things are different now. Now, when song distribution has regressed to the model of single sales, as mp3s have become prioritized over albums, it's acceptable to put out three minutes of seasonal cheer on iTunes and blogs. It's a charming, easy way to remind fans that you exist.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lines From A New York Times Article That Are Talking About More Than Just The Subject Of The Article

Tonight, for those of you that pay little attention to tax policy, the Obama administration announced a deal with Congressional Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts on all wage earners in exchange, essentially, for continuing benefits to the long-term unemployed. Here are some lines from the New York Times story on the topic that could have been used at any point in the paper's coverage of the President's first two years in office:

- "But Mr. Obama made substantial concessions to Republicans."

- "'Ever since I started running for this office, I’ve said that we should only extend the tax cuts for the middle class,' he said, acknowledging that he had been thwarted in one of the chief goals of his presidency."

- "Republican leaders, clearly relishing the upper hand they have held in the tax fight, reacted positively to Mr. Obama’s announcement on Monday night."

- "But Mr. Kyl also expressed satisfaction with the preliminary agreement, given that Democrats now control big majorities in the House and the Senate."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Car Is Haunted And/Or Upset With Me

I got my car years ago. Returning home from school one summer, I realized I would need to be able to get to my seasonal job across town somehow, and I had needlessly sold my dependable Subaru station wagon the year before, when I graduated high school. Now it's a ten-year-old Pontiac Sunfire that's held up well enough to still be running, even with its 150,000+ miles (I'm actually unsure about the mileage, precisely -- the light in the odometer stopped working long ago).

But lately it's been acting up. First, about a month ago, someone stole the front and rear license plates. Then, not a week later, I go to it one night and discover that the front passenger's side window is completely rolled down, and everything from my glovebox is on the seat. Nothing is missing -- not my CDs, radio nor outdated maps -- and nothing is broken. Both doors are locked. And there are leaves inside. It's as if someone was just playing a prank on me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Let me tell you about my Thanksgiving

This is how I descend into a vacation of gluttony. I go to visit my aunt in Grand Rapids, Mich., who lives alone in a three bedroom condo with three TVs, three refrigerators and two cars. This side of my family is Lebanese; they show their love through food. Mostly to me.

There's nothing that makes my father seem more sane and like myself than visiting his family. He comes to meet me in Grand Rapids, and constantly we exchange sidelong glances as my aunt insists upon over-performing some menial task -- on her own, denying assistance -- for hours before and after mealtime. She becomes so overwhelmed with the logistics of performing the role of hostess that it turns surreal, almost humorous.

Friday, November 19, 2010

RIP Four Loko

Alright guys, it's been real. We had some jokes, we had a few Halloween costumes, but it's time to stop talking about Four Loko. Most of us never actually drank the stuff -- which is for the best, because it's disgusting -- yet it's been all over the news, what with the plans to outlaw it from here to kingdom come. Really, it needs to come to an end. It's just a gross alcoholic energy drink. The only one of those that was any good was Sparks, because it tasted like Fanta and gave you the great tongue color. I could drink four Sparks in a day, because they were so tasty. Not Four Loko. Four Loko is gross.

Oh where have they gone, the beautiful alcoholic energy drinks of our youth?

Just go back to drinking 40s. They're delicious, cost efficient and 100 percent non-political.