Haiku Review: ‘Inside Out’

June 26, 2015 by

THREE YEARS separate this from our last movie review, but rustiness and/or writing validity aside, Pixar’s latest demanded a return to the keyboard. Grab your “All of the Feels” haz mat suits and join us on this overwrought psycho-critical journey!

NEMye3g3VuXNQM_1_1Aimed at children, sure
But adults with movie blogs
Are still children too

Wall-E is the best movie Pixar has ever made, and this is an unequivocal fact. Robots in love dancing through space on vapor trails, expressing this beautiful feeling neither of them really understand (they’re robots) but know their lives would now be empty without? FUCK, BRO, THAT’S THE STUFF.

…Of course for you, “best Pixar movie, unequivocally” might mean the brotherhood of toys embracing each other as they literally stare down death of Toy Story 3. Or the ocean-spanning search for a nervous father’s only son of Finding Nemo. Hell, it could even be Brave, if you’re being deliberately contrarian about it! Everyone has their favorite Pixar movie, and everyone has that movie in their head, consciously or not, when they sit down to watch the studio’s latest.

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Dreams from my Fitbit

May 4, 2015 by

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Like 70% of the first world, I got a Fitbit for Christmas. I have worn it almost every day since, taking it off only for showers or occasions that call for a watch, like rainforest benefits. It’s almost permanently attached to my wrist now. But it’s probably more decorative than anything.

If you’re already a decently active human being, a Fitbit will just confirm for you that you’re a decently active human being. You’ll discover, though you probably knew this already, that you take a decent amount of steps, covering a decent distance. You also climb a decent amount of stairs. You tend to burn a decent amount of calories.

Anyone who wants a Fitbit (and isn’t gifted one by quietly concerned friends or family) is already the type of person who finds data about their fitness routine interesting, who has already carved out brain space to think about the number of steps they walk in a day. What do “steps” even mean as an exercise metric?! Not even scientists know!

Point being the Fitbit — and by extension the whole world of wearable health tech, or whatever you want to call it — is inherently conflicted: a worthwhile device for people who will probably never wear it, and a silly “already knew that!” counter for anyone who cared enough to want one in the first place. In Simpsons parlance: “Too much of a boy for crazy town; too much of a crazy for boys town.”

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You’re engaged. But what wedding #hashtag will you choose?

January 6, 2015 by

article-2589685-1C931B4900000578-449_634x427If you’ve been in a healthy-ish relationship for a few years now and you’re not currently having money problems, there is a good chance you got engaged this holiday season. Congratulations! (I meant to like your photo, but I wasn’t near a computer!)

But proposals, those are easy as shit. It’s wedding planning that (pro)poses the real challenge. And no part of that planning will test you to your core quite like selecting the right hashtag.

“What’s a hashtag?” is probably the first — no, that’s stupid, you know what a hashtag is. Jane Gilmore Kurtz, my grandmother, knows what a hashtag is. But wedding hashtags, those serve a purpose way more specific than acknowledging your good fortune (#blessed) or halting the tyranny of feminism (#NotAllMen).

You see, at today’s fully social media-friendly nuptials, your friends and family are your collective wedding photographer. Whether you ask them to or not, they’ll snap and shoot anything and everything. They’ll capture candid moments that not even the most adept professional could get to, like bathroom stuff, and they’ll do it just for the privilege of basking in your wedding glow and/or free well drinks. But how to mobilize all those shots? How to truly harness this awesome power?

Find out after the jump!

Fear and Loathing in Public Storage

April 17, 2014 by

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It was only supposed to last a month. Two, tops, if I really couldn’t get my shit together on the apartment hunting front. The plan made perfect sense to me: I’d couch surf with my friend Baily for whatever time it took, and when that was over — optimistically, end of November 2013 — I’d return to Unit 395 at Venice Public Storage to reclaim the stuff I’d very carefully shoved and thrown in a month earlier. A temporary vacation for all my worldly possessions, and a great series of spooky Instagrams to boot. And the first month was just a dollar*! I was scamming Public Storage, I was in control, I was a winner.

*plus insurance and account opening fees and “green credits” so, you know, way more than a dollar

Five months and somewhere in the neighborhood of $1100 later I finally loaded up the last of my furniture into a medium-load Uhaul and signed the closing paperwork that said no, I never cooked meth in my storage unit. Over the previous week or so I’d been making quick trips to grab smaller items that I’d…well, failed to properly pack in the first place. Duffel bags full of liquor. Beach chairs. A VCR. Fireworks. But now, box spring and mattress tossed in the back of the truck, I was finally sealing the door for real on this unique chapter of my life.

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27 and Vulnerable: A Very-Special “Lifting Fog” Episode

January 30, 2014 by

The_Royal_Tenenbaums_richie

DISCLAIMER: This essay is actually not about Wes Anderson movies (thank GOD!) but popular culture is always the easiest entry point to expressing actual human feelings, some of which I may dredge up below.

When I first saw The Royal Tenenbaums I was 15 and had no idea what to make of this thing I was watching. It was a comedy, maybe? Earlier that year my friends and I had seen comedies like Zoolander and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, which we knew were comedies because they made us laugh. Tenenbaums on the other hand squeezed laughter — uncomfortable laughter — between scenes of stylized and fairly graphic attempted suicide and old men contemplating the pain they’ve wrought on their families. Like I said…what in the shit was this? People create art that can scratch multiple emotional itches? One minute I’m belly-laughing at the line “You heard me, Coltrane” and the next I’m desperately holding back tears from my  best friend, because Ben Stiller’s “I had a rough year, Dad” has just about flattened me. I think I understood then, instinctively, that this uncomfortable balance between funny and sad is what really makes me tick. BUT THESE SEESAW FEELINGS, MAN, THEY’RE TOO GODDAMN MUCH.

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The gourmet cupcake trend is dying. What will replace it?

July 10, 2013 by

Cupcake mania first gripped the United States of America sometime in the early-to-mid 00’s, catapulted to prominence by the curly-haired likes of Carrie Bradshaw and Andy Samberg. Both of them extolled the virtues of Magnolia cupcakes, just the first of a soon-gleaming infrastructure of cupcakeries: Crumbs, Sprinkles, and so many more, each with a name somehow more precious than the last. Whatever gourmet snack trend had dominated the culture before (Ben & Jerry’s?) was crushed under the heel of Big Cupcake.

A decade later, the whole sugary firmament may be collapsing. Earlier this spring, New York-based cupcake chain Crumbs reported a major drop in share price — from a 2011 high of $13/share down to just $1.70. Magnolia now earns less than half of its profits from cupcakes. And I don’t know if you’ve been in an elementary school classroom lately, but birthdays aren’t exactly being celebrated the way they used to be. It’s all quinoa, and veggie loafs. Birthdays are terrible now!

Why this sea-change in our snacking habits? Maybe it’s the emergence of gluten as our greatest-ever nutritional enemy. Or it could just be the thing none of us want to admit: that we are just BURNT OUT on cupcakes, and ready for a new snack craze to glom onto. Not just anything will do. The cupcake resonated for meeting some very specific metrics: portability, eating efficiency, potential for quirky store name, to list a few. With that in mind, we had some ideas as to what could rise from the cupcake ashes…

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True Life: I Dress Up as Cookie Monster for Tourists

April 11, 2013 by

cookieNEW YORK, NY – If you’ve been groped by Super Mario lately or yelled at by an anti-Semitic Elmo, chances are you know too well the spread of costumed characters in and around Times Square. Once upon a time, the area was populated by thieves, hustlers, and sexual deviants. Today it is populated by thieves, hustlers, and sexual deviants wearing knock-off Sesame Street costumes.

In the past few years their ranks have grown, unchecked by copyright infringement or local law enforcement, who mostly stay clear. But then you get the flare-ups. Most recently one of these performers, dressed as Cookie Monster, allegedly accosted a tourist and her young son after they did not tip him for the photograph they’d taken. Aside from the fact that this is just not the way a character beloved by children the world over should behave, it raises questions about freedom of speech and entrepreneurial rights. Should these seemingly deranged men (trust me, they are all men) be allowed to perform?

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In Russia, ambulances are taxis and opportunity is everywhere

March 27, 2013 by

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MOSCOW, Russia — Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur trying to make it in Moscow. You drive the city streets everyday, motoring from one gig to another. You marvel at the congestion you see: the traffic, at a standstill. The commuters, aggravated at delays creating unwanted friction in their offices and home lives. These streets you drive are paved with frustration, yes. But maybe they’re also paved…with opportunity?

Enter: AMBULANCE-TAXI. For just about 6,000 rubles (or $200) an hour, wealthy Russians looking to sidestep the misery of their daily commute can hail a cab of a very different make and, aided by the handy siren system and normal citizens’ reaction to what they perceive as an emergency, get to work on time. And in style!

One of these vehicles, spotted by law enforcement on a recent patrol, was described as having an interior “fitted out like a high-class limousine.” Imagine the care that went into that job! First the ambulance had to be bought, probably from a friend of your cousin. Then retrofitted with plush leather and bulk variety packs of Fritos chips. Top it off with a classy website (I couldn’t find one) and you’ve got an operation of stealth and refinement to put the KGB to shame.

You never escape the question “what would you do if you had unlimited money?” As a kid, the answer’s easy: a pool made of ice cream, maybe a 300″ TV that plays only episodes of Spongebob. Later, more altruistic, you imagine buying every family in the world their own water filtration system. But then you get to be asshole-rich, actually achieving some modified version of unlimited money. And you use it to fool Russia’s lower classes into thinking you’re being hospitalized while you get to work quicker than usual.

Don’t ever change, Russia. You’re the beating heart of my idealized comedy world.

Parsing the lyrics to new Vampire Weekend single “Step”

March 19, 2013 by

Yesterday post-colonialist indie darlings Vampire Weekend released two songs off their upcoming album, ‘Modern Vampires of the City':

  • Lead single “Diane Young,” in which Ezra Koenig laments the loss of an arsonist girlfriend
  • “Step,” a low-key paean to international studies classes.

The web is ABUZZ with people wondering what it all means. Could “Step” be a hidden tribute to the ABC show ‘Step by Step’, which dealt with familial discord in the same uptempo, driving fashion as sophomore effort ‘Contra’? Do the pitch-shifting “babys” on “Diane Young” suggest surprise parenthood for lead singer Ezra Koenig, and if so who is the mother? Mindy Kaling?

Obviously we’ve all got a ton of questions. But you know what? Lifting Fog has ANSWERS.

Keep reading!

“New York Biotopes” and the Overcrowded Sea of Visual Effects Reels

March 18, 2013 by

What you just watched, if — I mean, you watched it, right? What kind of weirdo reads video analysis on a blog without having watched the video itself? Holy cow, we need to at least respect some ground rules here.

“New York Biotopes” was created as a thesis project by German graphic design student Lena (no relation to Dunham) Steinkuhler. In her words, she wanted to explore the “assimilation of structures and forms…biotopes shaped by the existing living environment but also [shaping] the newly developed living environment by their presence.” It all sounds unbelievably German.

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