Advertisements

In Russia, ambulances are taxis and opportunity is everywhere

March 27, 2013 by

ambulance-in-russia

MOSCOW, Russia — Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur trying to make it in Moscow. You drive the city streets everyday, motoring from one gig to another. You marvel at the congestion you see: the traffic, at a standstill. The commuters, aggravated at delays creating unwanted friction in their offices and home lives. These streets you drive are paved with frustration, yes. But maybe they’re also paved…with opportunity?

Enter: AMBULANCE-TAXI. For just about 6,000 rubles (or $200) an hour, wealthy Russians looking to sidestep the misery of their daily commute can hail a cab of a very different make and, aided by the handy siren system and normal citizens’ reaction to what they perceive as an emergency, get to work on time. And in style!

One of these vehicles, spotted by law enforcement on a recent patrol, was described as having an interior “fitted out like a high-class limousine.” Imagine the care that went into that job! First the ambulance had to be bought, probably from a friend of your cousin. Then retrofitted with plush leather and bulk variety packs of Fritos chips. Top it off with a classy website (I couldn’t find one) and you’ve got an operation of stealth and refinement to put the KGB to shame.

You never escape the question “what would you do if you had unlimited money?” As a kid, the answer’s easy: a pool made of ice cream, maybe a 300″ TV that plays only episodes of Spongebob. Later, more altruistic, you imagine buying every family in the world their own water filtration system. But then you get to be asshole-rich, actually achieving some modified version of unlimited money. And you use it to fool Russia’s lower classes into thinking you’re being hospitalized while you get to work quicker than usual.

Don’t ever change, Russia. You’re the beating heart of my idealized comedy world.

Advertisements

Parsing the lyrics to new Vampire Weekend single “Step”

March 19, 2013 by

Yesterday post-colonialist indie darlings Vampire Weekend released two songs off their upcoming album, ‘Modern Vampires of the City’:

  • Lead single “Diane Young,” in which Ezra Koenig laments the loss of an arsonist girlfriend
  • “Step,” a low-key paean to international studies classes.

The web is ABUZZ with people wondering what it all means. Could “Step” be a hidden tribute to the ABC show ‘Step by Step’, which dealt with familial discord in the same uptempo, driving fashion as sophomore effort ‘Contra’? Do the pitch-shifting “babys” on “Diane Young” suggest surprise parenthood for lead singer Ezra Koenig, and if so who is the mother? Mindy Kaling?

Obviously we’ve all got a ton of questions. But you know what? Lifting Fog has ANSWERS.

Keep reading!

“New York Biotopes” and the Overcrowded Sea of Visual Effects Reels

March 18, 2013 by

What you just watched, if — I mean, you watched it, right? What kind of weirdo reads video analysis on a blog without having watched the video itself? Holy cow, we need to at least respect some ground rules here.

“New York Biotopes” was created as a thesis project by German graphic design student Lena (no relation to Dunham) Steinkuhler. In her words, she wanted to explore the “assimilation of structures and forms…biotopes shaped by the existing living environment but also [shaping] the newly developed living environment by their presence.” It all sounds unbelievably German.

Keep reading!

The One Where We Say Goodbye

April 20, 2012 by

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 by

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 by

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 by
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 by

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 by

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!