Archive for April, 2010

And watch this:

Last week I went to see ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, a new film about street art (sort of). Actually, it’s not really about street art, but to tell you what it’s really about would be to spoil the surprise a little. In any case, go check it out. You can find out when the movie will be playing near you here. Otherwise, you can stick to your original plan of going to see ‘The Backup Plan’ with J-Lo. And, I mean, that’s fine, you should do what you want. You’re entitled to your own opinions. But you should know that we’ll think less of you for them. And really, let’s be honest here, you’re all striving for the Lip’s approbation. You know it, we know it, and that’s why we’re pouring so much time into helping you out. Well, you can start here, then we’ll talk about those Ke$ha cds and your dog-eared copy of Eat, Pray, Love later.


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I could have written a post about some film your girlfriend wouldn’t let you watch.  Or I could written about the latest Hollywood contribution to the big game of ookie-cookie their playing on our heads.  Or perhaps I could make a case for a once promising director, who’s career has paralleled Matthew Mcconaughey’s.  But no, I’m not going to talk about any of that.  I’m here to talk about drinking.

Or at least that’s what you should be doing when you go to see Predators (released July 9th).  Now before you roll your eyes and search for the latest lo-fi clamoring Pitchfork recommends you should listen to, hear me out.  Predators is a formula for success.  Here’s why.

First off, you don’t have to like the cast (Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace).  Nor do you have to like the film’s overrated producer (Robert Rodriguez).  But you do have to like this guy, director Nimrod Antal.  Wait, no, you don’t have to like him actually.  I’ve never seen any of his three films, but he does share the same name of the greatest album of all time.

What was I saying?  Right, don’t be a film snob.  In fact, unless you have a giant swimming pool of money, don’t be any kind of snob.  The important thing to remember here, is that some things in life, should be taken at face value.  Look, you know that no one is going to be nominated for an Oscar, so just move past it and enjoy yourself.  If you can’t enjoy the commoner’s entertainment, then you’ll have nothing to talk about and you’ll come of as a pretentious dick bag and no one will invite you to their parties.

“Dude, did you see the new Predators movie.”
“Yeah, it was sick.”
“What about you?”

But, you won’t have anything to say, because you were to busy dissecting Ansel Adam’s aperture choices and drinking yerba mate all while blogging about it from your iPad on the train (or bus or fixed gear bicycle or parent’s G-Class).  You’ll just stand there, looking ridiculous in your purple ascot, raw denim and Grover t-shirt.  Then what’s your move?  Spin on your heals and walk away, hoping they’ll be impressed by your wallet chain?  My point is, I’m trying to help you.  Here’s what you do:

1. Gather your friends.
2. Plan on seeing the Friday evening showing of Predators.
3. Fill the pockets of your Champion sweatpants with Skoal, whiskey, KFC Doubledowns and napkins (to catch the ejaculate).


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In a new documentary, Stephen Hawking – seen here… no, that’s not right… seen here… still not it… seen here… er, I’m going to hell – as I was saying, in a new documentary, Stephen Hawking channels Orson Welles to tell us why we should fear contact with extra terrestrial life.  Hawking claims that aliens would likely be to us what Columbus was to native Indians, which I can only assume means they would trade us glass and syphilis infected blankets for gold.

All I can say is, “duh!”  We all know how prescient Hollywood is, and they’ve been warning us of our impending doom from above for years.  And at least Hollywood is making constructive suggestions as to how to stave off total annihilation.  Just a little tip, Steve-o, nihilism doesn’t score you much of an audience, except maybe in France.

Ah, wait, how did this not occur to me earlier!  Stephen Hawking warns of alien invasion and Arizona passes much-maligned immigration law.  They’re not worried about this guy! They’re worried about this guy! On a (slightly) serious side note – not to condone the Arizona legislation, but is anyone really surprised that the only state that doesn’t celebrate Martin Luther King day would do something like this?

And speaking of prejudicial authoritarian entities, remember that time you wrote a humorous email about a client and sent it around the office and it accidentally got to your boss, but it was cool in the end cuz it turns out he can take a joke?  So much funnier when your client is the Pope.

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If 30,000 more soldiers won’t cure them, then we’ll send 30,000 more. As many as it takes.

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If I didn’t know better, I’d say John Mayer is a pretty cool guy.  Think about it.  Multiple platinum selling records, guitar virtuoso, good with the ladies.  All the pieces are there to make me want to . . . go to one of his shows?

Here’s a few Tweets (shudders), from johncmayer:

couldn’t someone write a Final Cut plugin that rendered only the changed pixels in each frame? Wouldn’t render times be faster? 12:16 AM Apr 9th via web

the plugin could compare the current frame vs the last and then only re-render the pixels that had a different value than the last? 12:16 AM Apr 9th via web

I’m being schooled in video rendering right now. This is why Twitter can rock from time to time. Like a humid, throbbing Google. 12:23 AM Apr 9th via web

This seems harmless enough, but what’s really going on here?

What’s really going on here, is that nothing is going on.  Which brings me to first point.  What are you talking about John Mayer?  Final Cut video rendering?  What relevance does that have to anyone outside of yourself?  Albeit a interesting idea, the part about the rendering plug-in, but what purpose does your Tweeting or anybody’s Tweeting or Facebook updating serve?

There is a purpose, but it may not be what you think.  Consider an exercise in deductive reasoning:

1. John Mayer likes Final Cut.

2. I like Final Cut.

3. [Therefore,] John Mayer and I like the same things.

This is the heart of social networking.  When left alone with their own thoughts, humans, for whatever reason, are insecure, emotional, indecisive and unfortunately, bored.  Simply put, we as society use mediums like Twitter and Facebook to alleviate these feelings.

For example, if one updates their status on Facebook and says:

Sasha Mitchell Going to see Clash of the Titans!

and someone comments to the effective of,

Jenny Lewis oh yeah, me and my new boyfriend saw that, it was AWESOME!

Sasha becomes instantly validated in his decision to go and see Clash of the Titans.  His feelings of uncertainty are suddenly nullified and he can walk into Loews with his head high, confident that others share in is personal tastes.  He is not alone.

Whether they know it or not, those who participate in this strange social ritual (hopefully a fad), are all little budding scientists.  Using this rudimentary form of hypothesis testing.  These individuals are writing and rewriting their hypotheses (or worldview) based upon the feedback they receive from others in the social network.  The beauty of it is that it works both ways.  If Sasha likes Clash of the Titans and I already saw (and liked) Clash of the Titans, then I like Sasha.  Or, if Sasha likes Clash of the Titans and knows that I have a new boyfriend who also likes Clash of the Titans, then Sasha will like my new boyfriend.

If we return to our dear friend John Mayer, we can see that this works similarly, but instead these scientists are testing from only one set of data (johncmayer).  Or perhaps a few: Jay-Z (JayZ), Kevin Spacey (KevinSpacey) and George Lopez (georgelopez).  Shame on you scientists!  Don’t you know that you need a control group?  If any of these celebrities like the same thing that I like then I like the same thing as these celebrities and therefore we are similar in our line of thinking.  This makes me feel good about my personal tastes and decisions.  “If it’s good enough for Kevin Spacey, it’s good enough for me.”  The celebrities in this case have the distinct advantage of pulling from a population of millions, but the principles remain the same.  If I’m Kevin Spacey, “I just met Hugo Chavez and then I Twittered about it.  I got so many positive responses from my followers.  I am strong in my political beliefs.  I am K-Pax.

You don’t have to be a graduate of ITT Tech to realize that above logic is preposterous.  The thought that anyone would or could actually base their own emotional infrastructure on the rantings of celebrity whom they will never meet is absurd.  But is it?  If so, why then do people participate in this odd social regurgitation of recycled thoughts, likes and dislikes?  One would be hard pressed to argue: “I don’t like Final Cut, nor will I ever participate in any activity using Final Cut, but, I am deeply interested to know John Mayer’s feelings on Final Cut, even if they are limited to 140 characters.”  Or, “I am confident in my decision to go see Clash of the Titans.  I am not interested in opinions on the film itself, I just feel that everyone should know that I have made the decision to go see it.”  Or perhaps the most absurd, “The need to comment on a status update regarding Clash of the Titans was so strong, that I did not even notice that I mentioned my boyfriend, who happens to be new.”

At some point, I’ll examine the cost of completely exposing one’s life to a community of people who aren’t even your friends.  But for now, consider what it is you are actually doing and ask yourself if you’d be better of finding answers and validation somewhere other than Facebook or Twitter.  I don’t know, perhaps a book?

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