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Archive for the ‘Bildungsroman’ Category

A Totally Sincere Post About Flowers

April 5, 2017

Maybe you don’t all live in Southern California, but you sure as hell know someone on Instagram who does, which means that when I write the words “Super Bloom” you probably already know what I’m talking about. It’s this

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and this

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and this

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…just endless ‘What Dreams May Come’ landscapes, pockmarked by the occasional Millennial selfie-taker (who didn’t, for the record, post that on Instagram! Just here).

What you’re looking at above is Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, CA, where after one of the wettest winters in recent memory, fields that would normally host a smattering of flowers have instead EXPLODED with color. And Antelope Valley is just one SoCal hot spot — there’s Anza-Borrego to the southeast, Mugu State Park closer to the ocean. Lots of places to check out. Each is overflowing with wildflowers that aren’t just orange, but yellowpurpleblue…all of which have Latin names but we’re not botanists here or anything so let’s just keep going. Super Bloom!

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

January 30, 2014

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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 One Where We Say Goodbye

April 20, 2012

Well, here we are. Four years, 300+ posts, and shockingly few personal changes later we’ve arrived at the end of the line. It’s not that there’s nothing more to say — in the realm of personal blogging there is always more to say — but that, for two 25-year-old guys with non-childish aspirations…it’s time to put away childish things. (Writing about real-life Hamburglars could not fit this any more perfectly.) Near the end of The Return of the King, Gandalf tells Pippin of a “far, green country” that lay beyond death. In no so many ways that’s where DJ Steve and I are headed — outside our digital comfort zone toward a world that’s terrifying and beautiful and unavoidable and here it is and OH SHIT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO NEXT.

Keep reading (for the last time)!

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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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Lifting Fog Live: Blink-182 at the Hollywood Bowl

December 2, 2011

Imagine for a second that you’re an inappropriately sensitive 20-something whose musical taste has not advanced much in over a decade. (I know it’s a stretch, but keep imagining!) You try out “now” bands, like Vampire Weekend, and genres, like dubstep, but nothing can replace that middle-school-fresh sound you grew up with; nothing can come close to piercing your heart, your SOUL, like the group that essentially defined 7th and 8th grade.

Now imagine that not once in those formative years but several times did you miss out on the chance to see these guys live. Your friends who had older sisters caught them. Even people who didn’t like them all that much so WHY SHOULD THEY GET TO GO? managed to snag tickets. Meanwhile you sat at home, listening to their teenage anthems on a battery-powered Discman. You sobbed and stewed and life just sucked.

Twelve years later you’re a man, sort of, with disposable income — when you apply credit card logic — and an adult’s right to do whatever he wants whenever he wants. Your friend Ashley has landed tickets to your group’s TOUR ENDING show. The stars have finally aligned.

Everyone can take off their imagination caps because it’s time for the BIG REVEAL: the musical group is Blink-182. And that sensitive 20-something, stuck in some 1999 time loop that thankfully does not include JNCO jeans? He’s ME. I KNOW.

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BDA: Limbo, Limbo, Limbo

November 22, 2011

If we accept the fact that personal blogs are, at their core, self-serving beacons of ridiculous narcissism untethered to anything resembling reality, then this return to the Barfoed Does America well needs no apology or explanation. We’re good!

“Beards,” “Sunsets,” and “Chicago” are all nouns around which previous entries in the Barfoed Does America series have revolved. Today we add one more: “Limbo.” Not the party game, fascinating a 500-word exploration that might be, but the state of being. Limbo isn’t uncomfortable; it’s not anything, really, except maybe the absence of defining edges. It’s the middle, Purgatory, that sensation you get when you’ve been living out of your car for two weeks and feel more at home driving a stretch of unfamiliar highway than you do at any of the places you’ll sleep, including the room you left way back when (…two weeks ago). Limbo is perfect room temperature and feels like it has been and will continue to be this way forever.

(From there I suppose you could say Limbo is like a “goldfish’s memory,” but that level of metaphorical inception is practically unconscionable. Let’s not say EVERYTHING we’re thinking.)

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Finding the Funny When You’re Drowning in Melodrama

October 28, 2011

DISCLAIMER: Whether the following is amusing and/or useful is entirely up for debate.

The ability to express oneself, I think most of us can agree, is all too dependent on mood. Especially if you’re aiming for a specific tone. Those whose wheelhouse is death and human misery might stumble in the light of a happy personal life; anyone all about bemused agreeability is going to suffer when they’re feeling anything but. Jolly sadists! Sad clowns! The world is obviously a coldly ironic place.

Not to mention a terrifying one.

But what’s a student of the written word to do when they’re not properly outfitted for the task at hand, WAIT IT OUT? NO! It’s when you’re at your least comfortable, your most angsty, that it’s more important than ever to convert those icky Zach Braff emotions into positive creative fuel. Remember the scene from ‘Waterworld’ where Kevin Costner waters his plant with filtered pee-water? That’s what we’re going to learn how to do today, and it will probably make just as little sense. SO:

Started/continued after the jump!