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Archive for the ‘Junk Drawer’ Category

Another Day of [Lifting Fog]

March 28, 2017

You don’t have to, but listening to “Another Day of Sun” as you read the first however many words of this essay on…self-doubt? (idk) might help you get in the proper headspace. Your funeral either way, dude!

The scariest thing about penning a new Lifting Fog Post™, aside from the forever concern that I’ve “lost my mojo” (Editor’s note: it was never there to begin with), is addressing how much time has inevitably passed since the last one. Now in the Early Days™, this wasn’t much. Hiatuses lasted about a week depending on how many ‘OC’ episodes I’d decided to burn through, and apologies were easier when the act hadn’t yet been abolished by the 45th President of the United States.

Then time wears on and those silent weeks become silent months, become silent years. Suddenly it’s 2015, ’16. The fans are out there clamoring for new #content and I’m over here*, paralyzed by self-doubt and/or women who wisely fled the country. I couldn’t write even if I tried, and I definitely didn’t try!

Keep reading!

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Dreams from my Fitbit

May 4, 2015

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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.”

Keep reading!

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

January 6, 2015

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

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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.

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!

“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!

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.