Author Archive

BDA: Santa Fe and the Southwest (10/11-13/10)

April 18, 2012

This and the Grand Canyon. We’re so effing close.

You may have heard that vicious drug cartels roam the wilds of New Mexico and that immigration unrest is tearing the south of Arizona apart. While I don’t have the stories to confirm either of those things, I can tell you that the American Southwest has some of the most expansive views in the country. It’s not like wide-open spaces don’t exist in other parts of the country. They just somehow feel more epic out west, like the world has expanded tenfold at the same time the distance between you and your Maker has been drastically condensed. You could reach out and touch Him, which is a very real possibility if you don’t keep your eyes on the road!

Although by this point in the trip I’d more than worn out my Boss-heavy “Americana” playlist, it took on new relevance as I drove through New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. Ghost towns? Endless highways?That moment when the dark creeps in and you’re driving down some weirdo side road for 50 miles with depleted gas reserves and the possibility that you might not make it and those lights trailing you suddenly go out? That last part isn’t so much Bruce, but still — America, man. It’s out there!

You’re reminded, too, just how isolated many of the region’s cities and communities are. We complain in Los Angeles about the time it takes to get from Santa Monica to Downtown. SMALL POTATOES when about 100 miles separate one Southwestern pit stop from the next. They’re practically frontier outposts — places to hitch your stallion for the night and trade whatever animals you managed to trap/kill along the way. I’ll start apologizing for these cowboy references when I stop feeling them so deeply in my soul.

Keep reading!

Henning vs. Modern Art

April 17, 2012

Hey, painting! You’re stupid!

Over the years Steve and I have directed our critical eye toward a wide array of popular works, from albums by Passion Pit to the movie Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Minus no exceptions, we’ve stuck to the big three: music, movies, and film. Stepping foot outside those felt scary and weird, like touring foreign lands without even a McDonald’s for safety. Life is scary enough without the threat of musical theater, or books!

But as retirement looms ever nearer along with the opportunity to scream our opinions in an environment that isn’t “outside Starbucks,” the time has come to take that scary step into previously untouched terrain. And so today we summon all our critical strength to go after an artistic medium that for TOO LONG has gotten a free pass on Lifting Fog. Modern art, you’re on notice.

Keep reading!

Fake Suburban Prison Makes Us All Feel Like We’re in a Much Larger, Existential Prison

April 16, 2012
Photo by Andy Holzman, Los Angeles Daily News

In the West Hills area of Los Angeles right now stands a house surrounded by chain link fence and razor wire, a makeshift guard tower on the premises, looking to all passersby like a prison. A man in an orange jumpsuit often pumps iron in the yard, attended by guards. Signs warn of electric shocks to those who touch the fence. There have even been protests outside, some broken up by police. The scene has all the trappings of an honest-to-God penal institution.

But wait a second — home-owned and/or -converted prisons don’t yet exist! That’s not a thing! I’m starting to wonder if this is more like-

Keep reading!

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!

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.

Keep reading!

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!