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Author Archive

What is Urban Hiking?

April 6, 2012

A down-and-dirty guide to the recession-friendly pseudo-sport that’s sweeping 1-2 apartments in Santa Monica, California the nation.

In the city of Los Angeles, driving is king. If you work more than 5 minutes from home, it’s an absolute necessity. It’s also the primary way you’ll experience the city. You drive through Beverly Hills. Navigate Century City. Even the most famous sites, like Hollywood Blvd., most of us only see through a car window. (Unless your friend is taking classes at Improv Olympics, in which case you’ve been there twice.)

Walking is a crime. No to the point where you’d go to jail, maybe, but certainly of the “fashion crime” variety: it’s tacky and you DON’T DO IT, because your parents taught you better than that. What, can you not afford a Prius? Even taking the bus, to many a great sin, holds more appeal to Los Angelenos than extended pavement time.

So it’s topsy-turvy out here, an inversion of the natural order. Yet only out of these ashes could something like the Urban Hike take shape.

Keep reading!

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The Haiku Review Template

March 30, 2012

Lifting Fog will soon be no more. But should some poor sap want to perpetuate the vaunted “Haiku Review,” we have the tools you need to make it happen. What value is wisdom not passed on?

When we started out, man…we had dreams. Lifting Fog was going to become a true cultural gathering place, a digital coffee shop that TRANSCENDED “blog.” You wouldn’t check out Lifting Fog; you’d just be stuck in it whether you wanted to or not. Like real fog! Or dogshit!

Cultural historians will confirm this never happened. But despite our just not being that good at blogging, we did manage to launch a few recurring features. “The McCrazy Files” charted all the batshit confrontations that have always and will always occur at fast food restaurants. Five times “Lifting Fog Live” took us outside our living rooms and toward events with other human beings, mostly concerts.

Then there’s the Haiku Review™.

Keep reading!

Lifting Fog Fun Facts

March 29, 2012

The farewell tour continues!

One thing a blog does on its journey from birth to death is accumulate a buttload of pointless statistics, and on all kinds of stuff: daily hits, tags, post frequency. Most of the time these serve only to make you feel bad about how few people read your writing (and the weird extent to which you’ve written about furries). But as a “closing shop” exercise…it’s actually kind of interesting to look back on four years through the lens of facts and figures. Unlike DJ Steve and I in all our posts, ever, THEY DON’T LIE. Reading them, you begin to get a true sense of what you did and the kinds of patterns you fell into. Like:

1. Despite me being the Ivy banner-waving douchebag of the duo, it’s actually DJ Steve who bleeds Columbia Blue — he’s written two more posts on the CU-born group Vampire Weekend than I ever will.

2. Lifting Fog has cultivated and nurtured more than its share of enmity over the years, including rivalries with Will Edmondson, Tim Goessling and his ‘This LA Life,’ and Jeopardy! contestant/actual accomplished writer Daniel D’Addario. Not to mention ongoing bad blood with nostalgia freaks (especially human Quidditch players), and the actual Bloods. What fun is peace?

UPDATE: To all of you…we really do apologize. (Except the Quidditch kids. Never.)

Keep reading!

More Words and Expressions Aspiring Adults Should Strive to Avoid

March 29, 2012

In August of 2011, we spent some time discussing the state of modern conversation in a post we called “A List of Words and Expressions Aspiring Adults Should Strive to Avoid.” Our mission? Help those of us — Henning and Steve included — oppressed by our juvenile speech patterns to OVERCOME, and enter the world of adult interaction. In one intense exercise we struck colloquialisms like “play” and “come at me bro” from our collective vernacular. We reconsidered our use of the word “brilliant” (which, we’ll remind ourselves, can never refer to a dog or latte). Then we went to cocktail parties and BBQs where we — for the first time in our lives — didn’t sound like f**king toddlers. It was an amazing afternoon of personal growth for everyone.

But the thing about language, and the English one in particular, is that it’s every changing. New words and expressions replace old ones all the time. Yesterday’s “as if” becomes tomorrow’s “child, please” becomes next week’s “scalped.” The way we spoke even seven months ago is now outdated. Then there’s the fact that there are simply TOO MANY words and expressions to avoid. You’ll never hit them all!

But that’s where Lifting Fog comes in. Seven months after our first weed-whacking, we’re back to keep up the work we started: identifying trouble words that, if not killed, will lose you respect and de-arouse your partner. We don’t want either one of those things for you.

Keep reading!

Emailing Your Friends in Finance/Consulting: A Quick Etiquette Guide

March 28, 2012

If you guys are anything like me and Steve, and have only rarely been held accountable for your actions, then the concept of “email etiquette” will seem to you a very foreign one. Monitoring what you write with an eye toward the receiving party’s professional environment? WHAT? I should be able to express myself wherever and with whatever I please, especially when the “wherever” is your inbox and the “whatever” is Botswanan clown porn with bullet point commentary. I thought we were F**KING FRIENDS, DUDE.

But the world many of us live in is not the idealized one we’d always dreamed about, and sometimes…you can’t just share Botswanan clown porn all willy-nilly. You need to follow some goddamn rules! That’s why we put together this rough style manual for you to use.

Keep reading!

The McCrazy Files: The Hamburglar of Augusta, ME

March 27, 2012

You know what I’m going to miss most about Lifting Fog? Beautiful crap like this.

Just before dusk on Sunday evening, the sun shedding its last rays on what had been a stunning spring day, a family pulled into the drive-thru of an Augusta McDonald’s. They were eager for burgers and fries and maybe Shamrock Shakes, too, if the kids had done especially well at their soccer game. (“We’ll see!” Dad responded when they all pleaded from the backseat.) Fast food was a fun treat, a once-in-a-while meal. What the hey — it had been a great afternoon.

The family was hungry, and ordered quickly. Dad drove to the next window. “What do you think might happen on ‘Once Upon a Time’ tonight?” Mom asked. They had a few minutes before the dedicated kitchen staff would have everything ready. But before that final transaction could take place…before McNuggets could be placed in appropriate hand…CHAOS.

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Haiku Review: ‘Contagion’

March 27, 2012

Germaphobes and shut-ins, THIS is the cinematic validation you’ve been waiting for! (Bird — six months!)

Dozens of Oscar
Winners lend B-movie a
Slightly higher grade

There is one reason and one reason only that Contagion made as much money as it did last fall, and it’s staring at you, dying, on the bottom right side of that movie poster. Though hardly a spoiler alert when the trailer gives it away, SPOILER ALERT: GOOP founder and Emmy improviser Gwyneth Paltrow bites it in the first five minutes of the movie. The people want what they want! Why this strategy didn’t work for Jersey Girl I have no idea, but there you go — kill a loathed actress in the opening scene of your movie and the audience will come in droves to watch. Even if the rest of the movie has them grabbing for the nearest bottle of Purell and hoping to God no one in the theater coughs!

Keep reading!

“Lifting Fog to Retire” says Lifting Fog Staff

March 22, 2012

The press has gathered and the mics are humming, so now’s as good a time as any to make the big announcement. Nearly four years after launching our blog and Digital Playground ™, Lifting Fog, the time has come to finally close the door…

…turn off the lights…

…cut the cord…

…and every other ending metaphor available, because if you’ve keyed in to anything here in 300 posts it’s that we never say briefly what can’t be beaten into the ground, mercilessly. Terrible writing at value quantity is sort of our thing.

While it’s true that we’ve already had, like, twelve false deaths since May 2008 (consider them practice!) this one is definitely real. So long after ‘The Dark Knight’ premiered and Sarah Palin lost the Vice Presidency, we’re really, really calling it quits. Run-on sentences and all.

Keep reading!

BDA: Austin (10/4-11/10)

March 20, 2012

Lifting Fog is nearing retirement, but standing in the way of digital shuffleboard bliss are 9-10 stray posts I’ve been sitting on for at least a year (if not years plural), including the last batch of “Barfoed Does America” entries. Just HUMOR ME WHYDONTCHA.

I. Prologue

I was maybe 30 miles into Texas, just pass Beaumont, when a cop pulled me over for speeding. “Where you headed so fast?” Officer Packer asked. “California,” I replied, trying my hardest to sound like a Steinbeck character. He looked me over. Peered through the windows of my car. “You off to school?” “School?” “Yeah, school — all your stuff there packed up, dorm room stuff.”

He was right — I DID own a lot of things more appropriate for a college freshman than an adult! And in that moment, halfway across the country with nothing but my license plate tying me to my previous identity (except all the French New Wave DVDs in my car, shirts that said “Haddonfield Swimming & Diving,” and the fact that I was still terribly, terribly me), I thought what the hell — let’s have some fun with this.

Keep reading!

Chipotle Advertises Carnitas Burritos with a Side of Social Message

March 10, 2012

The following may have happened over a month ago, but attention spans are a funny wait hold on…

Attention spans are a funny thing. They keep us from–shit, I’ll be right back.

Okay. Attention spans. We don’t have much of these things anymore! Whether the short-term consequence of too much iPhone time or some scarier rewriting of our fundamental biology triggered by a forever changed information landscape, it’s hard to argue that we’re not the…almost focused people we once were. Be honest: when you see a 5-minute YouTube video, you hesitate to click. It’s too damn long. Consider a 3-hour movie or many-more-hours-long book (fuck THAT), and there’s no point denying it: we’re cat video people now, and if you haven’t gotten our attention in about two minutes then you’re never going to get it.

Hence commercials as our storytelling medium du jour. In 18-20 fewer minutes than you’d spend watching the latest episode of ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter,’ you can tell a complete story. And in all kinds of genres! “Boys will be boys” Budweiser commercials. American auto industry by way of ‘Friday Night Lights’ Chrysler spots. And sometimes ads that go deeper — videos that accomplish their default surface-level promotion while tapping into something of greater social relevance. The latest addition to the Change.org Commercial Hall of Fame? Chipotle.

Obviously people love both pigs AND twee sensibilities (an upcoming ‘New Girl’ storyline where Jess adopts an albino pig will probably unmake the universe), so the commercial’s aiming at a very calculated sweet spot. But DUH, that’s the definition of “commercial.” And this one hits nowhere near the levels of emotional manipulation found in the “Kony2012” video, instead opting for an almost minimalist approach to getting its message across. In 2 minutes and 20 seconds, you’ve got a visually arresting journey from farm to industrial hell and back to farm again, all done without words (minus Willie Nelson’s cover of “The Scientist”) or the sort of YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF THIS PROBLEM guilt-making so prevalent in similar ads. It’s a socially conscious advertisement from a once-McDonald’s-owned corporation that doesn’t beat you over the head, but let’s you figure out for yourself a) how to feel and b) what to do. Could be nothing! At least you saw a cool stop-motion video with music by Willie Nelson.

As noted by James Poniewozik in a great TIME article,

“…it’s pretty remarkable to see such an eloquent-without-being-strident argument questioning the way our food system is set up being made, in prime time, by a big fast-food (or “fast casual”) company…I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a short film by any advocacy group that was as well-made, well-argued or emotionally on point.”

Google’s been doing it for a while now, but we can add Chipotle to the list of top-flight short-form storytellers doing something to entertain while making us question what’s going on around us. And maybe stop fast-forwarding through our pre-recorded TV shows?

Hahaha come on.