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Archive for the ‘Junk Drawer’ Category

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.

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Fireworks Make It All Better

December 14, 2011

December is one of those bipolar months. At the same time we’re gearing up for egg nog and repeat trips to the movie theater (Jewish or not!), the days are reaching their shortest length — light is at its minimal amount. We demonstrate how deeply we love one another in travel and gifts and begrudging church attendance, but we also can’t help but reflect on our own personal failings. We’re up and down, inside-out. Every year-in-review Top Ten list seems to have things so figured out at a time that’s otherwise beyond confusing for everyone else.

…But then Chinese explosion artist Cai Guo-Qiang sets off about a billion “daytime fireworks” in Doha, Qatar, and all your holiday frustrations take a backseat to the awesomeness of pyrotechnical impressionism repainting the sky. Things are good.

Everything’s going to be okay.

Barnes & Noble Nook Announcements, Sept.-Oct. 2011

October 14, 2011

As someone whose longest romantic relationship has been with the sound of his own voice, I’m no stranger to making myself heard. Sometimes in public, with a microphone! For over a year I served as the VOICE of Columbia Swimming & Diving, announcing meets with what many called a “mixture of fun and ineptitude.” In 2009 I MCed the Haddonfield Memorial High School Class of 2004 5-year reunion, telling my classmates that unfortunately ticket prices had gone up and the cheesesteak table would be shutting down in five minutes. Critics raved.

Most recently I’ve been manning the Nook announcements at my Barnes & Noble, where some combination of chutzpah and managerial oversight has allowed me to hop on the mic and straight rap about our line of eReaders. It goes without saying — but I’ll say it anyway, because narcissism, remember? — that I have been taking this job very seriously.

1) Do you like books? Of course you do, you’re in Barnes & Noble! Do you love being at the vanguard of book-reading technology? …Maybe not, but you will after stopping by the 1st floor NOOK desk and checking out the newest member of our e-reader family, the NOOK Simple Touch! Month-long battery life, thousand-book memory — this is the sleek, sexy reading machine you’ve been dreaming about. Come take it for a spin!

2) Books can be heavy. Books can be expensive. Why not ditch the weight and the cost with one of our three NOOK readers, each lighter than that stack of Patterson hardcovers you’re buying and with eBooks available at half the cost! It’s the future of publishing…now. Stop by the 1st floor NOOK desk for a time travel demonstration.

I may have ignored a steady stream of customers to pen those, but I think they understood the significance of my inattention. Great work requires sacrifice, and so much the better when it isn’t your own!

Keep reading!

Google Refuses to Stop Making Great Videos

September 7, 2011

Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury would have been 65 on Monday, and to celebrate GOOGLE tossed off (I say “tossed off” because this was probably completed by one of their high-functioning “synthetic emotions” algorithms) a typically amazing, energetic and poignant video set to the group’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

Who even thinks about Queen, or Freddie Mercury, that much these days? They’re like the music version of the movie Dave — you forget how great they are until one of their songs pops up on your iPod, and then it’s all you can listen to for days. Then you forget again.

But like a glasses-wearing elephant, GOOGLE DOESN’T FORGET. At this point the company is putting up Pixar numbers with these consistently perfect ads. So long as they never double-dip — say revisit the “American in Paris” commercial, only this time with more of the redneck sidekick — I can see this streak continuing in perpetuity. Great work, guys!

If ‘Watch The Throne’ Were Death Cab for Cutie and The National Instead…

September 7, 2011

Kanye West and Jay-Z’s ‘Watch the Throne’ is not the greatest album ever released (in case you were wondering), but it is still very, very good — especially considering the delicate balance of egos and artistry crucial to its success. Too much Kanye and the mental illness levels go THROUGH THE ROOF. Too much Jay-Z and you have, at this point, an overstuffed American Express commercial. But together they make it work! Which got the “What If?” team at Lifting Fog thinking: what does this album look like in the hands of another musical dynamic duo?

From Seattle, Washington, the emo-est band to have ever scored Seth Cohen’s teenage angst, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE!

And from Ohio — yes, OHIO! — the Baritone Bruisers, the Prozac Provocateurs: THE NATIONAL!

CHEYEAH IT’S YA BOOOOOYYYYYYYY

Keep reading!

“Can You Hear Me, Major Tom?” RELOADED

September 4, 2011

In a summer where one of the most talked-about movie releases is the latest in a 40-year-old franchise and the average age of baseball’s best team is, like, 35, it’s no surprise that David Bowie’s Major Tom, a character first introduced in 1969, has gotten a new lease on life. It JUST MAKES SENSE. To wit: Breaking Bad‘s deceased nerd chemist, Gale Boetticher, a few weeks ago sang a karaoke version of “Major Tom” (by Peter Schilling).

(Was the catalyst for his murder rooted entirely in this performance? We’ll have to wait for the season finale to know for sure.) And now for the kids, illustrator Andrew Kolb has put together the saddest book ever in his illustrated version of Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

Keep reading!

Here is Something to Look At

August 23, 2010

MISDIRECTION!

While you were watching that video for Cee-Lo Green’s wickedly perfect cover of Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You,” I* was quickly throwing together these accompanying few sentences. To you they’re a hollow reminder of what once was here at Lifting Fog (dumb posts about blockbuster movies and skiing). To me? A tentative first step back into a blogging world that grows more terrifying with each newly graduated English major. Hold me, please.

*Henning, not to be confused with DJ “I actually write posts for this thing sometimes and it’s not even my name in the stupid play-on-words title” Steve

Lifting Fog Believes in Miracles

April 23, 2010

POP QUIZ! There are so many apologies backlogged on Lifting Fog that:

a) An internal search for “sorry” now brings up as many hits as “movie review” or “Michael Cera + shoot me” (our bread and butter)
b) We’re actually forced to spend as much time writing these new apologies as we would any normal post, given the cliches we’ve accumulated in 37 previous attempts
c) Our grandmothers have told us we “ruined blugs for them. That’s what they’re called, right?”
d) WordPress has politely asked that we take the old site out back and quietly (but decisively) put an end to its misery

We’ll have to apologize for not including an e) All of the above, because they are ALL PRETTY MUCH CORRECT.

Life, right? You’ve got some creative momentum and think you’re operating at a good click — really flexing those writing muscles on important issues, like the Oscars — then BOOM! It’s a month later and you wake up in a daze wondering what hit you so hard in the face. No, that wasn’t an abusive girlfriend. It was life.

But we’re a regular Chumbawumba song here at Lifting Fog, and know that for every “get knocked down” there has to be a “get up again” rounding out the refrain. Ain’t nothin’ gonna keep us down.

…We’re maybe MORE, though, an Insane Clown Posse song called “Miracles” (which you probably saw parodied — if there’s any way to parody something already totally nuts — on SNL) that sums up in curse words and clown makeup everything our little corner of the Internet is about:

Yup, that should do it. “Magic everywhere in this bitch.” Good to be back!*

* Not a guarantee

Some Sick Videos. That’s It.

March 3, 2010

Take it as one of the reasons we don’t post everyday or just a testament to our own false sense of superiority (either works!), but it’s become something of a Lifting Fog mission to not allow this site to become a compendium of Internet paraphernalia. You know the stuff: Downfall Hitler mash-ups*, bizarre music videos** — the endless and endlessly inane stream of clips and images and links that keep us from writing our novel (it’s about a society disconnected) or even getting to that article we bookmarked on avoiding procrastination. “Dude, this is the SICKEST video I’ve ever seen. Starts kind of slow, but you have to watch the whole thing!” will probably be the last thing we hear before collapsing onto our keyboards and embracing warm, sweet death. Lifting Fog doesn’t want to be a party to that! We refuse to drink the Kool-aid***!

…But sometimes the videos really are the sickest you’ve ever seen. And what can you do?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This “History of Western Art”-inspired Hold Your Horses! video is pretty French and yet PRETTY SICK.

Two more SICK videos after the jump, because of the rule of three.

To DJ Steve on His 42nd Birthday

August 31, 2009

1172270909_happy-birthday

And we didn’t think you’d make it past 33 with all the…well, you know. So happy you’re still bombing around! To those reading this in the Burbank area, be advised that Steve will probably pull out his guitar at some point tonight and ask you to join him in a Jimmy Eat World-ish version of “With a Little Help from My Friends.” Indulge him, this is his special day. Kisses!

PS – Although this post is filed under the “Junk Drawer” category, it’s worth mentioning that Steve is not, in fact, junk. At least junk gets picked up.