Archive | July, 2011

top 5 favorite music videos

21 Jul

I LOVE a good music video. When I was in high school, before my parents canceled our digital cable, I could sit on the couch for hours watching channel 357, MTV Hits – all music videos, all the time. Some music videos I get so obsessed with I watch them over and over and over with the help of Youtube – and I don’t even have to sit through the ones I don’t like, praying my favorite will come on next. So I thought I’d  honor what I’m pretty sure are my five favorite music videos of all time with a blog post – I’m worried I forgot one! But here they are, in chronological order.

1. Best of You – Foo Fighters

This wasn’t one of the ones I was obsessed with, but this is one of my favorite songs, and the video is so awesome and creative.

2. The Kill – 30 Seconds to Mars

This is the doozy. I watched this video so many times I had it memorized; I could have laid it out for you verbally, scene by scene; I knew the hand motions Jared Leto made at every single part; and it played in my head even when I was just listening to the song. I was addicted. Never mind how creepy it is when Jared looks like he’s about to make out with himself, or the gross reference to the scene with the guy in the dog costume from The Shining (the movie the whole thing is based on). This video owned my life.

3. I Kissed A Girl – Katy Perry

Nothing revolutionary, but I love the aesthetic and styling of this video.

4. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

No words necessary.

5. The Wind Blows – The All-American Rejects

Back when I worked in the BP department at Nordstrom, this was one of the music videos that was part of the loop that played all day long on the big screen in the wall, and it (along with Party In The USA and One Time) was one that I always looked forward to and would get completely distracted when I heard it come on. Customers would be left standing in their underwear waiting in their fitting rooms for me to come back with that larger size while I stood agape behind the counter and marveled at the beauty in every frame. Okay, not really. But it is really, really good.


the american dream

20 Jul

On Saturday Kyle and I went to the Orange County fair in Costa Mesa and spent the day gawking at animals, eating whatever delicious fair-food choices caught our fancy (and probably shaving five years off our lives in the process), questioning existence at the sight of a sign advertising deep-fried butter, almost melting in the heat, and laughing at all the strange sights the fair had to offer. My personal favorite was the wide, shallow pool full of big plastic bubbles you could climb inside for five dollars and roll around in while everyone looked at you and laughed. And you better believe I did. Can someone please open a zoo that is just kids rolling around inside plastic bubbles?

If you’re going to the fair, I suggest bringing about two hundred and fifty dollars in cash per person and some Tums, and can you please win me a Domo plushie at the carnival? The big one, thanks.

a thousand words

14 Jul

There is not much better in life then when two of your favorite things in the world get combined and the result is practically sublime. Like Reese’s peanut butter cups, or two of your favorite people getting married and having the cutest baby you’ve ever seen, or Robert Montgomery‘s art. Montgomery writes poems and displays them in billboard or sign form in public places. It’s poetry+street art. They breed ’em talented over there in the UK.

Thanks to Rachel for posting about these on Tumblr!

slo/big sur photo diary

14 Jul

Lunch at The Spot on the drive up; strawberry-stained fingers and driving on the beach in Pismo; Dad ordering a Trenta-sized iced green tea at every Starbucks stop; soy lattes and beautiful weather in San Luis; reading at the mission; crocheted cactuses at The Wild Donkey Cafe; a view of the mountains from the Apple Farm; Phoenix Books (on Monterey between Osos and Morro, stop by if you’re in the area); sockiboos drying; hiking to the gorge; sleeping in my bathing suit; miles and miles of California coastline; grilling and s’moreing every night; reading Kerouac; river hair and sunburned legs.

“And at first it’s so amazing to be able to enjoy dreamy afternoon meadows of heather up the other end of the canyon and just by walking less than a halfmile you can suddenly also enjoy wild gloomy sea coast, or if you’re sick of either of these just sit by the creek in a gladey spot and dream over snags – So easy in the woods to daydream and pray to the local spirits and say ‘Allow me to stay here, I only want peace’ and those foggy peaks answer back mutely Yes”
-Jack Kerouac, 1962

“esquire” should be called “metrosexual and boring in the 21st century”

12 Jul

Let me start off by saying that I love magazines. I absolutely love them. In seventh grade, I would sit in the school library reading all the laminated copies of Seventeen they had on the shelf and getting high off the perfume samples. In high school, once I was allowed to go off campus at lunchtime, it was a frequent occurrence for me to come back with the latest issue of Allure zipped into my black two-pocket Jansport backpack and proceed to spend all of sixth and seventh period surreptitiously reading it under my desk and writing down all the makeup I wanted to buy.

Women’s magazines are totally my guilty pleasure, but I know there’s a lot of talk about the questionable validity, integrity, and helpfulness of the advice they spout from month to month. I’ve been reading Cosmo for years, and I’m not taking a revolutionary stance on the subject by saying that the major plot points (besides the articles like “His 6 Secret Sex Spots” and “The Boobgasm Does Exist”) usually consist of how to make men want you and how to have juicy lips (or, how to make men want your lips). The subtext is that the pursuit of men and the continual attempt to change oneself in order to become more desirable to men is a crucial enough endeavor to read 200 pages on it every month.

But throughout all my years of becoming an expert on how to flip instantly to the cover celebrity article in any women’s magazine out there, I never realized that Cosmo had a male equivalent, which is significantly less criticized: Esquire. I happened to flip through the most recent issue the other day while I was at work, and I was blown away by the amount of arbitrary rule-making and the ubiquitous assumption that one magazine can tell the entire male population “How To Be A Man,” as the cover boasted in block letters. I had to write some of them down because they were so laughable. See below.

If you have a hairy back: “If it’s a special occasion (honeymoon, work picnic, reality-TV audition), four weeks before any expected disrobing, visit a spa. You can expect to spend about $50 and experience a good deal of pain.”
Your wife knew she was marrying a hairy back and she married you anyway. Also, don’t set precedents on the honeymoon you’re not going to live up to for the rest of marriage. Be yourself. I personally would be more turned off by a guy who waxed his back than a guy who had hair on it. But that’s just me.

If you plan on going barefoot: “You need only two things – a pumice stone and some moisturizer – and two minutes of effort.”
I’m gonna keep it simple on this and just say guys shouldn’t pumice their feet. Guys’ feet (and girls’ feet, for that matter) do not need to be as soft as a baby’s butt. End of story. Also, ditto about being more turned off.

“If you wear cut-off shorts: Khakis, yes; denim, no. If you wear tank tops: Stop.” 
Or: Wear whatever you want.

“In general, it’s better to leave before you’d like to. Because ‘before you’d like to’ is actually ‘right when you should.’ Sliding scale.”
Or: Leave whenever you want. And if you are at the point where you really just need to leave, you’re probably too drunk to realize, and let’s be real – you’re staying anyway. 

On the list of unacceptable things to do in bed: eating and clipping nails.
Honestly, just pack your crumbs and toenails out and it’s fine. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of collapsing in bed after work with some leftover pizza and NBC comedies. (Is that just me?)

“One hit of the snooze button: fine. Two hits: really? Three or more: dick.”
It was brought to my attention while writing this that sleeping in the same room with someone who hits the snooze button every five minutes for an hour every morning is infuriating, which is true. But the snooze button is your friend if you’re in a room alone. Here’s how I translate each hit. One hit: fine (you’re tired). Two hits: fine (you’re tired). Three or more: fine (you’re really tired and you’re probably gonna be late, but that’s your prerogative).  

“The TV can be 10 percent quieter.”
If your housemates are sleeping or someone asks you to keep the volume down, you should. Otherwise, unless you live in a library, who cares?

“Showers: under ten minutes, fifteen tops.”
If this article was written from an environmentally-conscious perspective and the premise of it was “save water,” then yeah. If it was a financial advice article and the premise of it was “save water, save money,” great. If someone is waiting for the shower, do your thing and get out in a timely fashion. But barring that, long showers are relaxing. Screw time limits and take them at your leisure.  

“You: Take out garbage. Fix appliances when broken. Clear table. Her: Wipe down counters. Sweep floor. Clean out fridge.”
Don’t even get me started on this one. Chores are unisex. Get out of the fifties.

A Few Rules for Meetings and Conference Calls: “Think about how long a meeting is expected to last. Then think about whether you really need to bring a beverage to help you through it.”
Because God forbid you do something as shameful as bringing a cup of coffee to a meeting, unless you stayed up till four in the morning helping a stranger give birth on the side of the road and are about to pass out onto your desk.

How to Behave on the Road: “Just because your seat back reclines doesn’t mean you must lean back all the way, especially in coach.”
Should you be mindful of who’s behind you before send your chair rocketing into their lap, beheading their laptop and spilling their toddler’s apple juice? Yes. Is it annoying to have the chair in front of you reclined? Yes. But is riding on an airplane ever going to be the most comfortable thing ever? No. Is that what the seats were designed for? Yes.

The Rules About Technology: “‘Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab’ should be deleted.”
Because if it’s not “Sent from my iPhone” or “Sent from my Blackberry,” you should be ashamed of yourself. By all means, hide everything about yourself that doesn’t make you seem like the coolest and trendiest person in your zip code. Life is high school, ya know?

How to Arrive in an Elevator: “Women enter first. Look straight ahead. No phone calls. No talking to others unless spoken to.”
When you ride an elevator, everyone should look like they’re on the train to Auschwitz. Ignore the fact that we’re in the age of cell phones, where important and urgent phone calls can be taken on the go, and don’t even think about making a peep while you’re in that car. You must communicate what floor button you need pushed with extravagant hand motions and/or interpretive dance moves.

In a Restaurant (How to Order): “Make a damn decision and make sure it includes a salad or an appetizer.”
It doesn’t matter if you don’t want and don’t eat a single leaf of that salad, YOU’RE PAYING FOR IT ANYWAY. Because THAT’S WHAT MEN DO.

How to Split the Bill (With Friends): “Evenly. Always.”
Screw that. If your friend ordered the filet mignon and you ordered a burger because you’re tight on cash and wanted to save money, you shouldn’t have to pay for any part of his filet mignon.

Just plain ridiculous:

“Rule No. 742: There is never a good reason to snicker.”

In Public – Things a Man Should Not Do: “Check Facebook. Take a call from his mother. Argue with a woman.”

How to Interview for a Job: “Stand, don’t sit, in the waiting area. Less fussing with yourself when they come to retrieve you.”

Your First Day: “Say very little. Smile a lot.”

I am emphatically not a rules person. I think there are standards of common decency, but I don’t think they’re as restrictive as most people seem to think they are (my best friend used to hiss at me to sit up when I laid my head on the table on a 2 AM trip to Denny’s). I personally don’t find tank tops and cutoff denim shorts that attractive, but far be it from me to tell anyone they shouldn’t wear them, even if they want to. If people want to make rules for themselves, to apply to their own life, I applaud them for pursuing consistency and personal standards. But don’t try to apply them to anyone else. Don’t type up some trite rules about what gym classes men are and aren’t allowed to take and try to pass it off as sound advice about what it means to be a man.

The books a man reads and the drinks he prefers aren’t what make him a man. Life’s hard enough without coming up with a bunch of arbitrary and essentially pointless rules to live by that will soon ensure that you tiptoe around the world with little thought to your own desires and individuality. Just be a kind person, wear what you want, and try not to fart in front of people you don’t know. It’s pretty simple.

The one statement I could get behind was printed on the Cosmopolitan Hotel Las Vegas ad on the back of the magazine. It said, “Life is about balance, like a clean suit and a dirty martini.” Hear, hear.