Friday, February 19, 2010

Carnal Lust: Docs

My bff, Tai, frequently mentions the things she is lusting after on her blog (because she is thankfully a Mormon who is unafraid of filthy lucre) so I decided I might as well share some of my own worldly desires.

My latest yearning is for these:

That's right. Doc Martens. Tres 1998, I know.

The thing is, I have kind of been wanting some Docs since last year, right before I left for LA. They seemed like the perfect urban hiking boot for the San Francisco streets, in general I love having my foot cradled in a solid boot, and they had been out of fashion long enough that no one would think I honestly thought they were cool, thus also possessing a certain anti-cool appeal.

Apparently, my desire to be subversive manifests itself in massive geekiness. This is why I wore blazers in high school (long before that damned blazers and jeans trend fired up) and why I have been wearing grandpa cardigans since I was 18 (also long before everyone and their dog started wearing grandpa cardigans, dammit!).

On that note, a great tragedy has recently struck my home: my favorite cardigan--the blue cashmere one with the cowl neck that totally drowns me--is officially dying.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

For those of you who know me well, this cardie has seen me through many frumpy days, many profound conversations over hot cocoa, and many long painting sessions in drafty studios.

I will have to find a new frumpy, comfy sweater, but it will never be the same as this thrift store gem.

Back to the Docs. So the pretension of LA forbade the wearing of clunky Docs, but now that I am back in SF it's a different story, right? Imagine my horror when I found that Docs and Doc-like boots have made a dramatic resurgence amongst the hipster set of my new-found home in the Mission!

While apparently Docs are still anathema in the hipster Bible (Vice magazine), it's only a matter of time....

What do you guys think? I found a pair online for $80. Should I get the boots and risk looking like I am following an emerging hipster trend?

The fact that I hate looking like I am following trends closely probably reveals how prideful I really am. So there. I have confessed and revealed my vanity and pride, hopefully achieving a measure of catharsis and exoneration.

Should I get the damn boots?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


If you have ten minutes, check out this Oscar-nominated short film by by Francois Alaux and Herve de Crecy.

It portrays a world consisting entirely of familiar logos and mascots. Unreal in and of itself, but it is also a "gritty" crime story.


Monday, February 15, 2010

What's all the Buzz about?

Some people hail Google Buzz as the new Messiah of social media.

Here are the results of one of my first forrays into Buzz:

(You have to click on the damn link to actually read the convo. Lame.)

Ultimately, it is a microblogging service. I don't really see it as offering me something that I can't already do on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog.

The big thing it does offer is convenience. It is already there on my most frequently-visited site (which was initially unnerving/annoying). It's centralized. I do wish it was easier to organize and search through information. Maybe listing capabilities, like with Twitter (love that!).

So far, the people posting are my most adventurous of friends, so posts are interesting. It feels less commercial than Facebook (ironically) with a nice, clean interface that focuses on the content.

I do like that is can pull in my activities from so many different sources automatically.

I think it has great hope of scooping up people who have not gotten sucked in to other social media already.

What it may ultimately really do is poke people's curiosity enough to make them explore all of the many other things Google offers to make people's lives easier/better/screen-time consumed.

For example, in an attempt to figure out how to make Google Buzz more useful, I fell upon this nifty Mashable article on how to integrate Facebook and Twitter into my Gmail/Buzz. Still testing it, but so far less than dazzling results. Not really robust or smooth.

Still, I discovered a lot of cool gadgets, services, and streams in Google Labs, Gmail labs, and settings that I had not previously explored, making Google once again my favorite tech/web company.

Meaning I am committed to still keep playing with Buzz.


…speaking of Diane Rehm, I was just listening to an amazing interview on the Diane Rehm Show with Elizabeth Gilbert. I really loved her previous bestseller, Eat, Pray, Love, which really spoke to me, as someone trying to find spirituality and a sense of wholeness in this life without being shackled to the dogma of denominations. She is also a wonderfully frank and insightful writer that manages to pepper humor into even the most dire and serious of circumstances.

Her newest book, Committed is an exploration of the Western idea of marriage. Much to her reluctance, her own life circumstances have pushed her to marry the man that she loves, even though they are quite happy to live without the document of marriage.

In her interview, Liz talks about the wild, unrealistic expectations we put on marriage and the strange respect we seem to give anyone who has entered the institution, even though the act of getting a wedding license is one of the simplest things to do. Why have we fetishized marriage to such a degree in our society?

I couple of great quotes from the interview (loosely paraphrased):

“People used to make decisions of marriage based on very practical reasons on what would benefit their families and community, no one would ever think to hang their future prospects, prosperity, and happiness on something as fickle as romantic affection.”

“That is one of the greatest delusions we live under—balance. That we can have it all, that we can be both autonomous AND connected equally, simultaneously. That somehow we can achieve this if we can only figure out this magic equation of balance.”

These and other ideas in the interview really got my attention, as someone who is sublimely happy, but also sublimely challenged, in my own domestic partnership with the love of my life, Shane.

Growing up, I had such foolish notions about love and marriage. I imagined that my partner would help me become a better person by virtue of a relationship of such overwhelming mutual admiration (idealization), that we would both be perpetually-inspired to try to live up to the other. I imagined myself in a hetero-normative dynamic in which I would probably be the one bringing home the bacon. Most of all, though, I foolishly thought that I had such a willing domestic nature and such insight into human relationships that it would be easy for me to open up my heart and share my life with another person.

Reality has been oh so different. Shane and I do push each other to be better people, because we demand it of each other, because being in a relationship of two strong-willed people demands greater patience, forgiveness, and love. No one knows our personal faults quite as keenly as we know each others. As it turns out, I am actually VERY autonomous and like a lot of personal space and freedom. Domesticity and sharing a life does not come easily to me. Also, while Shane and I are both very committed to the idea of building a family together, including adopting a child at some point, we both love to work and love the nature of our work. We will have to navigate a new path that would allow us to work and raise a child.

So far, Commited has been a great read. Comfortable, easy prose and very stark, unsentimental perspective of the ever-evolving institution of marriage in the Western world. I am certainly learning a lot about the cultural underpinnings of this institution and can’t wait to finish it (which I suspect will be in another day or two).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What's Your Favorite NPR Show?

If you ever hear me say in conversation, "That's funny/interesting/discombobulating, I actually recently heard a story about blah blah blah...."

Chances are I heard about it on one of these three shows:

BTW-Sorry to whoever out there is a fan of Air Talk. I am sure Terri is a lovely woman. Mike and I just can't stand her.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl 2010

This year I watched the Super Bowl with a small, but disparate group of friends out in Fort Mason.

Unfortunately, I missed the first quarter because we were foolishly trying to buy all of the ingredients for 7-layer dip 30 min before the game. It was a great game, with the Saints really pulling ahead in the end. I think everyone was pretty much rooting for the Saints.

On to what really matters: the commercials.


None of my Super Bowl buddies works in marketing or advertising, and yet everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and shut up to see how this commercial would end. Isn't that the hallmark of a great ad?

Okay the end was over-the-top cheese. Still. I rank it as the best ad of the Super Bowl. After awhile, everything just seemed annoyingly loud.

With an overload of ridiculously testoroned/predictable car ads, this ad was a pleasant surprise, that had us all smiling, reminiscing over our own Vegas trip, and debating over who would get to be which toy in the ad.

Maybe not the most innovative idea, but this car ad also made us all smile.

Speaking of car ads, Toyota's absence in the line-up was very noticeable. Wish they had taken the opportunity rather than shied away. When will they devise a PR strategy?


Golly. Where to begin? It seems like this year was SO many bad, annoying, typical ads.


This one gets a shout out as the biggest disappointment. Intel's Rockstar ads were so brilliant! This one is just sadly predictable and uninsightful.

This ad took wacky, off-the-wall humor to a level of...stupidity.


Another disappointment. The beginning looked so promising. We were all sure it was going to go somewhere hilarious and unexpected. Instead we got this:

DIS-Honorable Mentions:

Manthem? Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin? Who are they trying to kid? It's Dove. Give guys some credit for intelligence and recognize who you really are when talking to men.


They just seemed overexposed and had off-the-wall commercials/tie-ins that didn't make sense to us.

Also overexposed. And the baby gimmick is tired. Give it a rest already. Not funny anymore. It's like hearing someone tell another God-awful "That's what she said" joke.

Overall, it was refreshing to watch real TV with real commercial breaks. It is so easy to think that ads are genius when you watch them in the bubble of isolated clips. When you see them in context, they tell a very different story.

Sigh. Almost makes me regret my cable-free life. Almost.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Haus of Gaga

The Grammys suck. I think the last time I actually watched the Grammys, I was 15. Does anyone care about the Grammys anymore? Well. I am sure some people do. What I have noticed, however, is that in my conversations with people since the Grammys few people have talked about the winners but people have definitely talked about Lady Gaga's Grammy "performances" (and Pink's, too, of course).

This woman (Gaga) is brilliant. Sure her pop music is great to dance to. It has a certain Euro-electro-pop that has breathed new life into the American pop scene. But what I love about Lady Gaga is that she has crafted this larger than life spectacle (and brand).

To my way of thinking, she has brought post-modern art to the masses and made them love every minute of it.

I mean how is her work really that different from Jeff Kouns?

Or Andy Warhol (whose hijinks were arguably the greatest part of his work)?

The painter in me just has to love this.

She has created a persona that extends beyond a couple of music videos (*cough* Sasha Fierce!) to the stage, red carpet events, paparazzi photos, interviews,everything she does.

She manages to keep everyone interested without resorting to cheap parlor tricks like flashing cooch in paparazzi photos.

What I think is really interesting is that part of her aesthetic is an aggressive, seductive repulsion. It can be light and poppy and at the same time have a hard, sometimes uncomfortable edge. Which, I think in this climate is exactly what people need.

Anything too "pretty" would be out-of-touch and wildly idealistic, but at the same time I think people want some sense of celebration (which is why I think The Black-Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling was such a wild hit this past summer). Adopting Gaga's hard edge (and also her debauched dance club celebration) can make someone feel invincible, though; feel stronger in an uncertain world by defying convention.

This unique blend is, I believe, a big reason for her appeal across various social groups. Her inspiring fashions are also about personal creativity rather than unattainable labels, which is appealing in our current economy.

And when you're looking for bang-for-the-buck, nothing beats her over-the-top shows. If you gave me a choice between tickets to a Gaga concert or a performance of La Boheme, I hate to say it, but I am going to have to take the Gaga tickets and am pretty sure I would walk away with longer-lasting memories. Her performances have raised our expectations of creativity.

What is notable about Gaga's success is that she was this no-name weird sound that emerged to dominate the pop culture scene. I think she is great example of how viral sharing which so many young people do (a good reason to have a kick-ass music video that makes people say "You HAVE to see this" to their friends) can lead to huge commercial demand.

The Wall Street Journal
actually wrote a really great article on how Lady Gaga represents the future of the music industry, parlaying viral success into capital rewards in other channels.

One of my regrets about leaving LA, however, is that somehow, listening to Gaga outside of the boundaries of West Hollywood is just not the same. I guess it loses something of its ironic appeal.