Sunday, August 31, 2008

Opinion of the Evening

Popcorn ceilings suck. Go tin.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Just like old times...

I'm watching Miss Congeniality on Bravo for the second time in a row right now. It's time to do something more productive. [For the oh-so-curious: right now is the scene where Sandra Bullock dives into the crowd to thwart a potential shooter... COMEDIC GENIUS!]

Anyway, I'm writing this blog to address the fact that, at the age of 20, I'm starting to feel old.

Not old in the sense that my knees are failing or I notice that kids these days don't remember an honest day's work. But old in the idea that pop culture trends are starting right under my nose, and I didn't detect the slightest whiff until they became full-blown phenoms.

I'm talking, of course, about the Jonas Brothers - or the JoBros, for the super hip. Being a frequent peruser of trashtastic gossip blog Oh No They Didn't!, I was made well aware of their hair - er, presence - a long time ago, but like so many things on said blog (Shauna Sand, anyone?), I thought they were just an internet elitist type deal.

But lo and behold, the three musically-inclined sibs have topped the charts and have caused oodles of tweenybopper tears to be shed. And yet, just a few weeks ago was the first time I heard their music - and at my own efforts, mind you.

Not Pictured: fourth member Flatiron Jonas.

I see the Jonas Brothers' appeal: attractive young dudes with good hair and guitars. But the JB wave didn't hit me until a younger generation pushed them to the top, with no help from me whatsoever. This is the first moment I have felt "left out" - as if I'm not part of the up-and-coming anymore. No longer is there a seat saved for me at the kids' table of pop culture. It sucks. I finally know what all those big kids were feeling when I, a mere 13-year-old novice to pop culture, helped Ms. Britney Spears become the ~*~living legend~*~ she is today: confusion, depression, and gut-wrenching sorrow. So, as a snob who prides himself on pretending to know more about pop culture than the average citizen but it still way to cool to admit it (oops, just blew that cred), I'm having a hard time coping with this feeling. Especially when it's being prompted by today's preteens.

Maybe I'm just jealous that these kids can enjoy sugar pop-tarts without ridicule. I mean, come on, just because I have a few Miley Cyrus songs in my iTunes library, right below the MGMT album, doesn't make me a hypocrite, right? Right? I take pride in my guilty pleasures, thank you very much, so I will no longer have shame in the disproportionate play count listed next to "See You Again."

So, this post is dedicated to all of us who have prematurely felt like an old fogie at the hands of kids who don't even know the Pythagorean theorem yet. And, oddly enough, the JoBros are barely out of that age bracket.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pimp at age 3, extraordinarily less cool at age almost 22.

Well I'm not sure about the rest of the University of Iowa community, but I thought Chuck Klosterman's lecture last night was off the chain. AKA he is my favorite author and I drooled the entire time, guffawed at all his jokes, and enjoyed my perpetual glee all night long. Can't wait for his new book to come out!

So school started, buzzzzzkill. In upcoming news, Thanksgiving break is approaching. But seeing as we are facing a new season, we know what that means. Another playlist that I will pore over for weeks, perfecting and honing, that ultimately no one will read or care about except me.

"Da new hits", or, "sorry to waste your time, and I know I said it last time, but this one's the best"

• "Everyday it's 1989"- Moby (Extended sidenote: TG that everyday is not 1989, though. I personally survived approximately 37 earaches in the year 1989, as well as a crippling lack of hair and a perplexing streak of lying. I once convinced my parents for no apparent reason that I had kissed a boy at preschool, and to this day, they won't believe that I made it up. They asked me, at age 3, "Well, Ann, what happened when you kissed Christopher?" to which I responded, "Well, he liked it." This day would serve as an indication for how the rest of my life would not go.)
• "Say So"- Uh Huh Her
• "Time to Pretend"- MGMT. It is my understanding that everyone is now over this band, but seeing as I've illegally acquired it song by song over time, this one is my new favorite. "This is our decision/to live fast and die young/We've got the vision, now let's have some fun./Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do./Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute." Doesn't that sound AWFUL? I'm rapidly approaching age 22, and for me, that means I better have enjoyed my youth whilst it lasted.)
• "Lip Gloss"- Lil Mama. She so hot! See my earlier post from late July/early August on this topic.
• "Crawl"- Kings of Leon. It's not getting old yet, and I foresee a bright future between myself and this song.
• "Konichiwa Bitches"- Robyn. ya wanna rumble in mah jungle? so perverse, so awesome.
• "Sex on Fire"- KOL again. This is the grownup version/equivalent of what Christopher was trying to tell me all those years ago. Except, that scene never took place, so... 3-year-old Annie should have known she was doomed.
• "Academia"- Sia feat. Beck
• "Lex"- Ratatat. My dad recently heard me playing this song, and said to me, "Hey, I like this song." which is pretty monumental, considering my dad considers most of my music to be akin to the sounds of things dying (see: Radiohead) (his opinion of course) I immediately was ecstatic and tried to convert him altogether to alternative rock, but he told me he was content listening to Latin music (note: NOT latino music, but Latin, like the cryptic dead language Latin.) and a little Smashmouth/Shrek soundtrack/Fleetwood Mac if he's feelin' funky. another disclaimer: my dad is actually incredibly cool. and if he ever reads this, which is not likely, he will call me to complain that I have misrepresented him. I am extremely confused why this photograph is appropriate for this blogpost, but it came up when I google image searched "cool Latin."
• "The Wrath of Marcie"- The Go! Team. I have previously always been vehemently against bands with punctuation in their names, but I will let this one slide.
• "I want you (she's so heavy)"- Dana Fuchs/Joe Carpio/Joe Anderson. This is the cover from the Across the Universe soundtrack, for which my roommate ridicules me because "that is NOT the beatles." I am aware of this, but I still like it.

But alas, class approaches like a small cloud of doom. Today, I am sharing an essay I wrote about anxiety, and I sense that my classmates will think I am extraordinarily troubled/awkward/edgy based upon this essay. Therefore I am also going to bring my MacBook to class so they will think I am simultaneously cool, in addition to having this absurd obsession with my worries.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Sex sells — and thankfully, someone is thirsty!

I won't try to deny it — sex and food mix quite well. Now, get your minds out of the gutter — I'm talking sex appeal, not merely sex. And let's be honest — sex sells.

(If you don't believe me that the libido can lure buyers, just check out any of the recent Axe deodorant "Bom Chicka Wah Wah" ads, the now-infamous then-controversial suggestive (in the most orally of ways) Puma ads, or just walk past an Abercrombie and Fitch, plug you nose, and peek in.)

Yet sex has been selling everything from vacuum cleaners

to cars

to condos

and even to toilet paper.

But the line between sex and food might have just been erased — at least in the mind of anyone old enough to know what sexual intentions are – in the latest U.K. commercial for Orangina, a orangey carbonated drink I enjoyed several times during class parties in high school French.

With an aggressive (and, so it appears, aggressively horny) bear, clips of female animals being drenched in orange liquid, and a scene showing Orangina bottles exploding between the legs of zebras, I can't recall a time when food has ever been so sexually charged. This beats, by far, the ad for an Italian pasta maker once thought to be a bit too erotic:

While sex will always sell even the strangest of products, what's your take on the video below? Has sex appeal gone too far when companies are using graphically animated animals to push us to, seemingly, "Be sexy, drink Orangina!" with commercials?

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the drink. I'm also not incredibly concerned with sex selling foods. Or the link between sex and food (I mean, I loved the photo shoot Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi and some babyback ribs did for GQ.)

So for now, sex up the carbonated drink commercials all you want. But the day I see my favorite vendor at the farmers' market in a bikini "bom chicka wah wah"-ing some produce, I'm going to have to put my foot down.

Oh, and I won't even start on the extreme and overt raciness of every Dolce & Gabbana ad ever published (or banned). You can Google Image that one yourselves.

—Brian S

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Landlocked blues? Hardly.

Classes start on Monday. Boo.
But before then, get your indie movie groove on at this weekend's Landlocked Film Festival, which starts tonight and runs through Sunday night. For a complete list of films, panels, workshops, and showtimes, visit the fest's website at And for a fabulous story about the whole shindig, read my sweet 80 Hours front!!!!!! Please?

To whet your whistle, here are trailers from some of the films mentioned in the article, as well as some that just looked downright good.

Beneath the Mississippi (shot here in Iowa)


Cave Women on Mars


Alaska Far Away

Alcatraz Reunion

Ancestor Eyes


But that's not all! Here are links to many more:
Illegal Use of Joe Zopp -
Cathedral Park -
Remarkable Power! -
The Flyboys -
The Wretched -
Finding Kraftland (clips) -
Katrina's Children -
King in Chicago -
More Shoes -
Pipeline -
Pond Hockey -
The Life Penalty -
Vaccine Nation -
Alicja Wonderland -
American Jouster -
It's In the Blood: Leo Abshire & the Cajun Tradition -
Lost Nation: The Ioway -
This American Gothic -

There you have it. If I had a way to put popcorn online, I would have included it here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Woof Woof Here, A Syndicated Pet Dining Show There...

If you missed the news that Rachel Ray is launching a line of dog food, with a feline mix in the works, then you probably have a life that resembles some sort of world where FoodTV isn't your only source of headlines. (Or, you don't read the DI — shame!)

But on Gallery of the Absurd, the web page of the artist who calls herself "14," things get quite a bit creepier. 14 mocks a few other celebrity chefs with fake pet meals:

In addition to 14's proposed chick'n and dumplins, Paula Deen plans to introduce a deep fat fried doggie biscuit, rolled in 3 pounds of bacon, drizzled with melted butter and then dusted with 2 bags of powdered sugar and garnished with a Krispy Kreme donut.

So, what's your take? Have celebrity chefs gone too far? Or, by the time I'm nearing a mid-life crisis, will my beloved FoodTV have succumbed to shows like "Creatures' Chow with Ina Garten" or "Throwdown, then Sit, Roll Over, and Fetch, with Bobby Flay?"