June 26, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:38 pm by Iain

I’m a person that can’t have favorite things. I don’t know why. I just can’t. However, I do think I can safely say that (500) Days of Summer, although not my favorite movie,  is probably the best movie that I have seen in my life to date. And for me, that’s saying something.

The movie does have its flaws (the title’s hip parenthetical ambiguity or the weird scene where the movie confuses Summer’s freedom to not be protected by sexism with being an uppity not-girlfriend), but the rest of the movie is pretty damn good. The music matches the feeling of the movie perfectly, the plot is spot on, and some of the scenes are so well done it’s like they’re your memories. And when a movie whose plot revolves around recreating a memory recreates your memory, well, I think it’s done pretty well as a movie then, don’t you think?

And furthermore! The reality / expectations scene is probably the single best scene ever created in the history of the universe! Nuts to you, future big-shot movie writers /directors,  you all suck. Quit trying.


1. O Brother Where Art Thou?


June 11, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:25 am by Iain

I was listening to some music on the way back from Ames today and for some reason it dislodged this random memory I have from my ultimate frisbee years.

I was riding in a car with two high level guitar bros and we were all discussing whether it was cool and progressive for musicians to emulate specific sounds through music. I think guitar bro A was talking about sweet the Red Hot Chili Peppers are while guitar bro B was explaining how painful it is to listen to Jimi Hendrix? – I don’t really know. It was all typical music posturing and hence, typical masculine hubris, so I wasn’t actually listening to any of the arguments. I think I also might have been a little drunk at the time, so that probably could have affected things too.

Anyway, in the process of all of thise I tried to make a point, but was instead silenced by that patron saint of circumscribed discourse, hipsterism. I know how silly it is for me to say anything about music (I am bad at listening to music), so my comment probably deserved to be squashed. But I still wish I could’ve articulated how I felt. I don’t tend to have many male conversations that actually communicate anything, and that was a chance, in a very small way. But instead of having a meaningful conversation with two other guys, I  instead had to wait a couple of years and self-disclose to my own blog. How depressing.

For posterity’s sake, I agreed, and still do, with guitar bro A. Not for his opinions on the Red Hot Chili Peppers (lolz), but because I feel like music should be about something that’s attempting to evoke something greater than itself. Sure I don’t really like Jimi Hendrix trying to simulate have sex on his guitar, but I can at least respect how well that encapsulates who he was and where music was going. Or in other words, I don’t have to like a person’s music to respect their creativity.

And right now, what I do like is the poignancy and sincerity that singers like Sufjan Stevens are able to bring out of their lyrics or the musical genius of a guitarist like Kaki King. Musicians likes Sufjan or Kaki make music that is so genuine and so beautiful that it’s almost impossible to not love what they’re doing. Case in point, the song I was listening to that started me on this whole thing, Kaki King’s “All the Landslides Birds Have Seen Since the Beginning of the World.”

June 6, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:20 pm by Iain

Oh look, another social commentary that does nothing to actually change society and just ends up serving as another bastion of privilege and whiteness. How entirely new and original.

Who gives a fuck if a bunch of middle-class white kids repeatedly broke the law to start a money-less freegan resort. It’s slumming; it’s what middle-class white people were born to do. All an article likes this really does is to make other middle-class white people proud to be white and middle-class. I mean, just look at all the quotes from all of the other “respectable” citizens. Every one stresses a cognitive dissonance between how poor they looked and how polite they were, or how really, on the inside, all those hippies are just cute capitalism embracing butterflies waiting to spring forth from their dirty freegan chrysalises.

Come on New York Times, it isn’t hard to read in between the lines there. “Wow they were so polite!” doesn’t translate to “wow good for them! but “good thing they were white and middle class, or else we would’ve hauled their freeloading asses off to jail!” How long do you really think it would take for something like this to be shut down if it was founded by a person of color or a lower class white person? A day? Probably even less? And don’t get me started on the phrase “decadent poverty, ugh.” Way to fetishize the oppression of an entire socioeconomic class, real classy stuff.

I have to say though, my favorite part of the article is easily page five. There the author quotes Tristram Stuart, one of the main apostles of freeganist thinking, and while the author seems intent on painting the freegans as social luminaries (he compares them to Thoreau a little bit later), Stuart doesn’t comply. He simply writes that although “freeganism serves a purpose, because it draws attention to a problem…it doesn’t offer the solution.” Or more bluntly, “this article is self-indulgent middle-class bullshit and frankly, you have much better things to do with your time.”

June 5, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:03 pm by Iain

I’ve been a rock climber the past 2 maybe 3 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever really written about it. It’s not to say that I don’t want to write about climbing, but that for some reason it’s just…hard.

It’s hard not to fall victim to all the cultural stereotypes that seem to have to use to speak about a lifestyle sport like rock climbing. You know, the mindless rock bum, frolicking upon the impoverished margins of society. The brand name nature bro, whose existence depends solely upon our lady Mother Nature™. Or the globe-spanning climbing celebrity, conquering harsh foreign landscape at his leisure. They’re all great stereotypes, don’t get me wrong. It’s just, none of those stereotypes are particularly apt. Also, I hate them.

Or more specifically, I hate this guy.

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June 1, 2010

Another day, another park

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:05 pm by Iain

I would have been spending some more quality time with Marv and his bench today, but ’twas not to be. Today was Memorial Day and Memorial Days in Cedar Falls tend to transform even the most pleasant of parks into an amorphous blob of sentient Iowan flesh. I don’t particularly relish amorphous blobs, let alone those of the pasty, gelatinous variety. Hence, Washington Park for the day.

Unfortunately, this right here is a picture of the abusive piece of shit that decided to take his son to Washington Park on his Memorial Day. Rather than something reasonable like, I don’t know, actually loving his son, this asshole came to the park to verbally abuse his kid while playing baseball.  It was all clear-cut power dynamic bullshit, like “CUT IT OUT, QUITE PLAYING LIKE SUCH A PANSY,”  “WOULD YOU BE WALKING IF THIS WAS A REAL GAME?” or “I’VE HAD IT WITH YOUR LAZY ASS, GET GOING” and finally “I SWEAR TO GOD, IF YOU SAY ANOTHER FUCKING WORD YOU’RE GOING HOME.”

First, what do you even do in a situation like that? Not just as an observer, but as a member of a relationship that could easily slip into violence with the slightest of changes? And second, gosh, what is it about this power dynamic that seems so familiar, especially in the context of Cedar Falls? A white guy in a position of uncompromising power, belittling another human being with no respect for that person’s dignity. Hmm, I wonder what it could be…

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