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Archive for the ‘Bildungsroman’ Category

It’s Labor Day. Let’s Talk About Jobs.

September 5, 2011

I don’t even know where to begin this post. There’s the fact that even bringing the words “jobs” and “recession” into the mix here at Lifting Fog means we’re already overextending ourselves, discussing BIG topics well outside our usual purview. Then you consider tone — can you talk about these things in a way that’s still funny, and entertaining? What number of Shia LeBeouf jokes is appropriate? (Two, probably.) Part of me wonders if tackling anything serious — and “Harry Potter reflections” DOESN’T COUNT — is in direct violation of our stated blogging mission:

…Sweet, ignorant relief.

That is definitely the target we tend to hit! But against the backdrop of a Labor Day underscored by continued 9.1% unemployment and zero job growth in the US this past month (and also the upcoming September 11th anniversary, so…), it feels oddly okay to cut the laugh track for a minute and dive into some actual, real issues. You think I’m kidding? Look at this serious face:

If that doesn’t scream “no bullsh*t editorial,” I don’t know what does.

Consider it your job to keep reading!

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Growing Up Muggle: The ‘Harry Potter’ Years (Part Two)

August 22, 2011

Sometime last month we dusted off the root causes of Pottermania; today we take our archaeological dig further and discover why it meant as much as it did…and what future generations will miss on their own Potter voyage. HARD-HITTING EDITORIAL, bitches witches!

2. What’s My Age Again?

Because we never mention this sort of thing here ever, I should state clearly that Steve and I are 25 years old. Most of our friends are between the ages of 23 and 26. So when the first (stateside) Harry Potter book was released, we were all between the ages of 10 and 13 — or to put it more clearly, pretty much the same age as Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Although we’d begin to speed past them in age when they’d take their extended summer breaks, the characters were often struggling with the same TEENAGE ANGST we were facing outside the book. Harry and Ron can’t find dates to the Yule Ball? Hermione freaks out over O.W.L.s? Sounds familiar! (They also battled dragons and snake-whispering mass-murderers but, you know, analogous experiences.)

Keep reading!

Growing up Muggle: The ‘Harry Potter’ Years (Part One)

July 28, 2011

For lots of 20-somethings who speak different dialects of English, this summer marks something like the final death blow to our childhood: the official, no-effing-around end of the Harry Potter book and film series. Those unhinged among us will always have their Quidditch matches to attend and Dobby/Aragog slash fiction to write, but for the purposes of CANON — of JK Rowling’s pure, un-besmirched vision — well, we’re done.

(Moment of silence)

The last written page was published four years ago, so it’s really just the movies now — pushed past the financial collapse and Betty White reanimation — whose ending we come to mourn. But considering how closely the movies have mirrored both the literary evolution of the book series (improving with each new entry) and the none-too-significant “waiting game” that played out between releases, the cut feels somehow deeper. More significant. It’s not just the story that’s come to an end, but the enveloping Harry Potter experience: ten years of reading, waiting, predicting, discussing, watching, and analyzing that occupied a unique time in a lot of our lives…a time that, let’s be real, can’t and won’t happen again.

If you’re up for it, please…keep reading.

BDA: “Chasing Sunsets” and other Short Stories

July 7, 2011

Everything we do in life starts from an idealized place. “This date’s going to go really well!” we tell ourselves before finding out the other person is a Nazi, or leper. “That guy in front of me will definitely use his turn signal properly!” precedes the accident we get in two minutes later. “It’s okay, I can hold it!” And so on. While the other shoe never really dropped in any way on my trek across America, I was forced pretty early on to reconcile my vision of the trip with its reality-based limitations. Mostly this took the form of abandoned projects:

  • The License Plate Game. Or more specifically, the version where you collect photographic evidence. I had gotten New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut before realizing somewhere outside Santa Fe that I’d missed my chance to snap Delaware, and would probably never see it again. All together now: “Ugghhhhh, Delaware.”

More dashed plans after the jump!

The Pros and Cons of Having Just Turned 25

July 2, 2011

For many all of us born in 1986, this is the year we turn the big 2-5 and say goodbye to one demographic (18-24) and accept, begrudgingly or with open arms, our induction into the 25-34 club. First off: congratulations, everyone! We made it! If honor student bumper stickers and participation trophies have taught us anything, it’s that no accomplishment is too small or too not-an-accomplishment to merit recognition. You’ve managed to keep yourself alive and breathing for exactly a quarter of a century, which is no minor feat considering the amount of Nikolai vodka you drank in college. Another round of applause for the birthday guys and gals!

But as with any celebratory event, rabble-rousing inevitably gives way to sober reflection and the realization that 25 is more complicated than its perfect square configuration would suggest. Pros AND cons attend this unique birthday, and as the title of this post would suggest we’re now going to straight up talk about all of them. It goes without saying, but hold onto your butts.

Keep reading!

A Letter to My Unborn Class of 2011 Graduate

May 17, 2011

Dear Sir or Ma’am,

Sometime today, or tomorrow, or one day over the next few weeks, you will graduate from your liberal arts college. Shortly afterwards you’ll be taken to a nice restaurant by your parents, spend one last night partying with your friends, and by all accounts live out some variation of a Dave Matthews song. Six hours later, hungover, you’ll unceremoniously pack up a car or U-Haul and drive to wherever’s next. It could be Chicago; it could be Hoboken. Wherever it is, it’s the FUTURE and something for which neither your Kierkegaard seminar nor advanced pottery workshop could possibly prepare you. With or without honors, you are now a lamb to the slaughter.

Keep Reading!

BDA: Austin City Limits, for the Musically Challenged (10/8-10/10)

April 13, 2011

People infinitely cooler than I are right now packing their bags (or bindles, I don’t know what’s in right now) for Indio, CA and Coachella: a weekend of KILLER sets from an impossibly great lineup of musicians. But you know what else is cool?

If you’ve been reading Lifting Fog with any regularity over the past few years (which means you’re a relative, or you hate-check us), you know a few things:

1) Music trends are not something I can even pretend to know anything about. One time I tried to like Black Kids (the band! The band!); ten years after “What’s My Age Again?” I still sometimes listen to Blink-182. Meanwhile DJ Steve is named “DJ Steve” and GOD. DAMMIT.
2) Crowds I find generally unsettling, especially when there are unisex jeans involved.
3) “Oh, that? It’s from a Wes Anderson movie.”

The words I would use to describe my musical acumen, “not hip,” are already themselves the product of another time. Want to hear about “not hip”? Last fall I emailed a friend about this cool new mash-up artist, Girl Talk, who she should “really check out.” Girl Talk has of course been around for going on seven years now, and that I only found out a few weeks ago. So I’m very much NOT YOUR GUY on issues of contemporary coolness.

But in spite of that, or possibly because of that, I’m pretty sure I had a better time at Austin City Limits than any of the 100,000 other music-lovers in attendance. What was likely for all the cool kids just another cool weekend in cool city was, for me, an incredibly unique new cultural experience. Something totally off the beaten path. …And guess who just beat the hipsters at their own game!

The all-too detailed story just after the jump!

BDA: #BarfoedDoesAmerica

February 23, 2011

I am not what you would call a masterful Tweeter. DJ Steve? With his pictures of snack packaging and philosophical musings (sample: “I dare anyone to not want Wendy’s right now”)? Practically Twitter’s poster-child. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, advertising Lifting Fog posts (when available ROFL) and complaining about library noise. On occasion I might link to a video from 2006. I’m a premature grandparent struggling to figure out what the buttons do.

And yet…fate so often conspires to throw us headlong into those very arenas we’re least skilled in. Woefully unprepared, we just make do. Bratty teenagers get pregnant; I’m driven to Twitter to collect my cross-country thoughts.

More apt wordplay after the jump!

BDA: The Hostel Life of Barfoed and Dancing Bear (10/11-12/10)

February 8, 2011

North Korea WikiLeaks Ricky Gervais Egypt It’s been a while! Certainly beyond time to start honoring stray New Years resolutions. Did you know that “Restore Lifting Fog to its former glory” has been featured on my list (of course there’s a list) a record three consecutive times?

Just over four months ago I drove an orange handbag on wheels 4000+ miles from Southern New Jersey to Los Angeles, CA. After touching down, I began to recount my adventures: the urban, the automotive, the follicular…then I stopped, as is Lifting Fog’s wont. (What, you’ve got a problem or someth-) Left unexplored in that blogging vacation? A vast array of stories as big as the American territory and/or spirit (whichever is bigger, Pulitzer committee) that, whether you want to read them or not, are about to be revived. For me, for you, for all of us, let’s tesseract back to October and do America ONE MORE TIME.

Like a cake-eater, I spent my first non-friend-aided night of the trip in a hotel. Or a Best Western to be precise, but still — personal shower, complimentary breakfast, and a wall safe. Very not rock ‘n roll (in Nashville, of all places) and sort of defeating the point of the trip, too, which in many ways was about making myself uncomfortable. Not “take this unmarked substance!” uncomfortable, but a conscious effort to try new things. If I could go six long days without watching television (…interpretations of “uncomfortableness” vary), then I could also spend my next solitary night in a place that didn’t have a parking attendant. Or hell, heat.

Keep reading!

BDA: The Trucking World (As I See It)

November 16, 2010

Have you ever peed in a Pilot bathroom? If you answered “yes,” you have at one point thought about — or come CLOSE to thinking about — the American trucking industry. And you might be interested in today’s post. (Even if you answered “no,” would it kill you to keep reading?)

Truck drivers are the [insert appropriate medical analogy here] of our national economy, endlessly traversing our country’s highways to deliver merchandise we use on a daily basis. Those Bratz dolls and Fuji apples we take for granted? Only there because a trucker drove them there. They work almost invisibly, their deliveries completed out of sight (or before business hours) such that we hungry consumers don’t interact with them directly. So they’re not only [insert medical analogy here], but also tooth fairies and Santas and whoever does the dishes in my apartment. (Read: They’re magical, possibly fictional beings.) To study them in their natural habitat — the road — presents an uncommon opportunity for us to learn more about these mysterious creatures.

Keep reading!