Random YouTube K-hole: Vertical Horizon

Back in the day, the leadup to the premiere of an anticipated music video was an event, awaited eagerly the way we wait for trailers for a summer movie tentpole. Artists were expected to come out with something worth the wait, and anything less was an insult to the diehard fan.

Not anymore. Not really, anyway. It’s the age of throwaway culture and handheld computers, so anyone can skip the middleman, spend five minutes and make their own music videos. Like these three.

Nicki Minaj, Chun-Li

Does anyone remember when Jennifer Lopez was the one with the booty? We were babies. Look at this. Camera? Check. Giant ass? Check. Nicki Minaj definitely puts the ass in asset and I can’t hate her for working that moneymaker, because if you’re going to commit to having a butt that big what’s the use of not shaking it? While bonered-up fanboys may forgive the crappy lighting, I think it could’ve done with a little less neon pink wash. I don’t get why Chun-Li needs the wi-fi password and Barbie Tingz is lyrically stronger than this, but eh. It’s no Super Bass, but it’ll do for a few replays.

Taylor Swift, Delicate

In a bid to make the world forget that the original video for Delicate is a blatant reenactment of a Kenzo perfume ad, Swifty releases a Spotify video version of Delicate, featuring just… her. In a field. Mouthing lyrics in the sunlight. Lighting-wise it’s loads better than Chun-Li, but its still the visual equivalent of not giving a fuck. It’s clearly the one take, it’s a wrap, I gave people effort with the other video and they shat on me so here ya go kind of vibe. While the video sucks, the single does not and its tropical chill vibe makes it very easy listening.

Maroon 5, Wait

Leave it to notoriously narcissistic Adam Levine to nail the vertical selfie video on the head: utilize an entire array of Snapchat filters, pretend your band doesn’t exist, and just wander around your huge mansion rocking out to a catchy song and being cute. I know a few girls and gay men whose ovaries regularly explode over Adam Levine, and this video for Maroon 5’s Wait isn’t going to help their already battered reproductive areas any. The band did release another professionally shot video for Wait, which features the many looks of Alexandra Daddario and a truly fantastic closing montage, but this first one is a lighthearted romp full of charm and whimsy.

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Enough

The goal was to be stoic. To endure. To get through a single winter without a word of complaint. To brush snow off my shoulder like Jay-Z.

Welp, so long, goal. Because this me losing it. This is me reluctantly counting the days since winter started and once again being reminded that almost a third of a year is devoted to the one season that can kill you, while the weather pundits do their best to rain on my parade because CBC and the Toronto Star have predicted an ice storm this weekend and I can’t. I just can’t.

I can’t sit back and think people probably have it worse in Saskatchewan. That this is paradise compared to Greenland. That I know someone who lives in Norway and never even complains that it’s made of snow and the sun never sets. All the little mental tricks I employ to make myself feel better have worn thin, because it’s mid-April, I’m still wearing a goddamn winter coat and insulated boots to work and now an ice storm is brewing. All I want to do is stop wearing knits but the weather won’t let me and it’s driving me insane. There was snow on the ground yesterday! In April, for God’s sake.

I tried finding Canadian memes to cheer me up, but I’m beyond laughter. Any more of this weather, and you will find me huddled in a corner, incessantly rocking back and forth with my hands over my ears. Yes it’s that bad and yes I’m that far gone and now I’ve run out of words to say so I need to go and calm down somehow. I hereby delegate any further expressive duty re the impending ice storm to Miss Bianca del Rio, who says it better than I ever could.

biancahatesyou

 

Image from Ohh Deer

 

Sharing is caring, and I apparently don’t

For anyone who cares to  follow, the perfectly curated lives of a lot of my friends are laid out online like a visual feast. On Instagram, some have over two thousand posts and are capable of sharing ten to twenty carefully selected shots of whatever adventure they’re having on any given day regardless if it’s the same adventure over and over. Adventures in parenting. Adventures in Taiwan. Adventures in bad haircuts, random non sequiturs, shared cooking videos, memes, trailers, jokes, and Throwback Thursdays.

I used to be a lot more active when Facebook was new.  A cursory sweep of my social media activities has made me realize I’m failing at life. Online life, that is. My Instagram has less than three hundred posts. My account is private, and whoever follows me gets the privilege of an exclusive peek at two different pictures of castaway shoes, a random cannoli, some guy at the summer barbecue fest and a little bit of me sprinkled here and there. My posts are fragmented and infrequent and I have never featured a single “story.” To the casual observer, it would seem like I really can’t be bothered to share.

If you’ve visited this blog every so often, it’s a very strange thing for me to say.

There is a dichotomy to my online self. In an online environment where I actually have a web of friends who will see pieces of my life without the need to ask for it, I barely share anything. And yet, I’m an open book to whomever cares to come here, to read a blog, which, unlike my IG, is full of verbal diarrhea and is actually open to whoever cares to find it. I do most of my sharing here, because I figure if someone wants to find about me, I’m around.

I don’t take online personality tests. I don’t pipe up about loving Jesus. I don’t share what I’d look like if I’m male, what my eye colour says about me, or what my mother’s maiden name is (lord knows my mother has no qualms about it) because here’s the thing. No one cares. And anyway, it has nothing to do with who I really am.

No one cares what your personality is based on your favourite salad, or what Disney princess you are based on a few questions off of a personality test. No one cares. The person clicking “Like” is on auto-pilot. It’s like replying with “LOL” to a text message, but not actually laughing out loud. It’s polite, it shows positivity, but ultimately? It’s an empty gesture. I like to save ‘likes’ for something actually worth liking. Like a particularly funny quote. Or a particularly unique snapshot. Something honest, and frank, and real.

No one cares. And also, engaging in these stupid little tests is like signing up to get phished. I feel like this cannot be stressed enough. People should not be giving out sensitive information, like birthdays or maiden names. That fun little game where you come up with your catchphrase by pairing the month you were born with the date of your birth? Phishing. That cute little test that says they’ll tell you what your mother’s maiden name means in a foreign language? Phishing. Think about it. People are lazy. Trying to remember a password is annoying, so we birthdays, or a combination of numbers that mean something to us, catchphrase, favourite vacation, movie, quote, something.

Cambridge Analytica aside, I’m not quitting Facebook. Not that I’m a diehard fan, but I’ve always said trainwrecks are interesting. Somehow, without knowing it, I seem to have retreated. I’m not hiding, I just don’t feel the need to be the kid in class who’s constantly raising her hand. Now, I’m just the kid in class watching the other kids make complete prats of themselves, wondering  if their inner Disney Princess is really reflective of what they’re like on the inside.

Image borrowed from Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator

Random YouTube K-hole: Cathode Ray of Light

I used to have a rule about liking a particular single: I had to like the music video. It was essential, and a huge influence on whether or not I enjoyed the track. But that rule went out the window with the advent of Spotify. In this, the era of the playlist, music videos seemed like an afterthought. It also felt for a minute like the music video as an art form was no longer really being celebrated, the way it was when MTV put the music in television, so for the past few years, I’d given up checking out music videos.

But like the nineties, music videos are back and having a moment. Lady Gaga, Beyonce and yes, Kanye West, ensured the form was still to an extent, kept interesting and hopefully we’re beginning to surface from a morass of boats, hoes, stripper poles and cash raining down from the heavens. And just like the nineties, CRT televisions are having a moment. With the following music videos, I explore the answer to the question, “where do cathode ray televisions go to die?” (The answer: music videos of early 2018.)

Hey, at least we’re recycling.

Justin Timberlake, Supplies

Not my favourite cut off of Justin Timberlake’s largely panned Man of the Woods album, the single may not be a standout, but its accompanying music video is a smorgasbord of visual stimuli. Illuminati! White gators! Flashlights! Watching the collapse of a way of life just doesn’t feel the same unless it’s viewed on a wall of old school television sets, does it?

Cardi B feat. 21 Savage, Bartier Cardi

For what it’s worth, Cardi B’s Bartier Cardi only gets a mention because its current. And features a video wall. I can’t get with this single at all. Cardi is fun but so far the only rap she’s done that I really liked was her turn in Migos’ Motorsport. I would just as happily use Celine Dion’s Because You Loved Me for video wall purposes, but it’s not in keeping with our theme, and lordy I don’t want to admit how old I really am. Even if I just did.

The Weeknd, Call Out My Name

The music video that jumpstarted this particular k-hole, word on the street is Call Out My Name is about Selena Gomez. Whomever it may be about, I’m loving this single, and the fantasy of the accompanying lyric video. You can watch a world burn through the eyes of cathode ray televisions and you can also watch a heart break. Somehow this with a wall of flatscreens would be like being at Best Buy. At any rate, this video fully belongs in The Weeknd’s wheelhouse – it’s dark, moody and ever so slightly sad. It’s fitting that his latest album is called My Dear Melancholy.

Bring me the Chianti

This triggered me today.

I don’t usually like using the word ‘triggered’ because it brings to mind the ridiculous slang that’s considered hip these days, like bae. Or shookt. Woke. Ship. Cray. Having a tiny computer in our pocket 24/7 has  apparently given us all ADHD and no one has the time for syllables, or a proper vocabulary. Don’t get me started on the egregious abuse of the word iconic.

However ‘triggered’, in this particular situation, is an apt word for me to describe the way I’m feeling. Because #affected!

TL;DR: vegans organized a protest against Antler, a Toronto restaurant that boasts wild game as a big part of their menu; as they waved murder signs outside, the owner proceeded to (expertly, from the looks of it) butcher a leg of deer in plain sight.  Shock, horror and injured feelings ensue.

So, I was there for the comments, and ended up down a rabbit hole of commentary, which is par for the course when it comes to a topic as polarizing as vegans versus the world. Sometimes it seems like there’s a chapter somewhere in the militant vegan gospel that says if they won’t eat animals, woe to the rest of us who insist on doing so.

This is why I have a problem with militant anything. Militant vegans. Militant feminists. Militant racists. Militant religionists. Militant cyclists. They’re always free to believe what they believe in, but disagree with them and all of a sudden they’re the victims. It’s always their way or the highway, conveniently sidestepping the fact that having an opinion is a right that belongs to everyone. It leaves a sour, angry feeling in the pit of my stomach, which is how  I feel when it comes to people who claim to educate, but are actually intent on ramming their own beliefs down your throat.

At its core, my problem with militant anything is that it’s sanctimonious, it’s preachy, and it’s rude. If you’re okay with voicing your opinion that meat-eating is wrong, you should be okay with others who think otherwise and have the nerve to say so. I would like to think not all vegans have such a warped, blinkered worldview. There is a difference between education and straight out indoctrination.

So I am standing up and giving  Team Antler a slow clap for this masterful move. First of all, it’s his restaurant. If he wants to butcher a leg of deer in front of all and sundry, that’s his prerogative, the same way it was the protesters’ prerogative to gang up on a local business and wave meat-is-murder signs in front of paying customers. If he wants to have a menu that’s mostly ethically raised, locally sourced meat, that’s his choice. Don’t force a restaurant to add vegan friendly items to the menu just because you think animals have feelings and humans shouldn’t eat meat. The solution is simple: if you want vegan food, eat somewhere else. Why is that concept so hard to grasp? It’s Toronto, is there a dearth of choices? If there’s anything there’s a dearth of, it’s common sense. The word of the day is dearth. Scorched dearth. Dearth Vader. Dearth Becomes Her. Dearth, dearth, dearth.

Clearly, I’m raving and now need food. I think I’ll eat at Antler soon. I like meat, but you knew that already, didn’t you?

 

A quick run-through of my initial reaction to the official trailer of Avengers: Infinity War

The official trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has been released, and I just realized I feel  the way I used to feel catching a featured music video from an upcoming movie on MTV. Why? because I’m old and music videos used to function as unofficial trailers. Anyway.  It’s here!

I have no idea how many times I’ve hit replay because that thunderous Avengers theme is so emotionally manipulative, I don’t know where to begin. Or maybe I have all the feels because I’m revisiting how much money I’ve spent on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past ten years and this April I might end up spending even more. If the movie is as great as its trailer, I just might watch it a couple more times. Or five. It’s like the MCU is a goddamn annual subscription or something, you guys.

(It is.)

So, a few things:

Are we 100% convinced that Thanos is Josh Brolin and not Bruce Willis in Smurf drag?

thanos.gif

Teen Groot!

teen groot.gif

Rocket Raccoon and the fervent hope that Pepper Potts doesn’t appear anywhere in this movie!

rocket raccoon

Doctor Strange as the 1% who want to know where the hell Hawkeye is and his adversary as the rest of us who don’t give a rat’s arse!

stephen strange.gif

And lastly, but not leastly, I expect the mandatory Marvel superhero heaving beefcake shots to be on a strict 1:1 ratio.  Or this happens.

avengers gear up.gif

Sorry, paying customer here. It’s only fair.

Yes We Can

I’d heard of the Peabody Awards, but had never dug deep enough about its origins. Yesterday, George Peabody was the Google Doodle. The original billionaire philanthropist, old George gave over half of his money away and was so thrifty, he still took the bus. His only indulgence was an apple a day and he turned down a baronetcy offered by Queen Victoria, which tells us he had a set of brass balls as large as the state of Texas.

I like successful people who haven’t let their money change who they are. In my cursory research of interesting factoids related to George Peabody,  a list of billionaires who still do real things crossed my radar. If anything, I’ve always thought the family behind Wal-mart are a bunch of awful people, but knowing one of them drives a fifteen year old rustbucket was a nice surprise. Granted, rich people aren’t always angels sent from above. They are first and foremost all about business, which is a cold mother, especially when it comes to profit.

For all we know, George Peabody was closer to a crabby, tightfisted miser than Santa Claus. Even so, his kind of realness is the kind that I respect. Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day money is for spending and all the accoutrements are great, but I’ve always been at home with the idea that you don’t have to have something. You just have to know you can get it if you want to.

Like I want to know I can own a Ferrari if I want to, I just don’t need to have one. Or I want to know I can buy an island if I want to, but I’m not going to bother. And I want to know I can get a reservation at the world’s most exclusive restaurant if I want to, but I don’t have to go because I’d rather have Popeye’s chicken. Or I want to know that I can stay out until four in the morning and get shitfaced, but I don’t really need to. That’s it, really. Just knowing you can.

There’s no need for bullshit mega-mansion swag with the fast Italian cars and the private jets and bespoke clothing. They’re fun, and if I was a billionaire I would probably have bigger indulgences than George Peabody’s apple, but I want to think I wouldn’t be what Migos calls bad and boujee. I want to think I would be like Bill Gates, who still rocks a $10 Casio even if he has more money than the GDP of certain developing countries. I want to be a billionaire who still eats tempura at the boulevard because it’s yummy. And because I can. No need to show it, just have to know it. There’s freedom in that.

 

Image from Mental Floss