Monday, January 31, 2011

Overexplaining Underappreciated Tweets #5

Twitter User:

Idea: Spinoff of sadtrombone website. - plays 1st movement of Chopin's Moonlight Sonata
(link to original tweet)

It has been a while since of one of my brilliant tweets wasn't favorited or retweeted by at least one person. Oh, don't worry. My tweets are still being underappreciated, and most likely will be until the time I reverse the aging process and start starring in photoshoots in Tiger Beat.

This might sound strange, but I was quite happy to see this particular tweet not favorited or retweeted, because I thought my idea was funny enough that I would enjoy overexplaining it.

There's a website called which consists of... well, just go to the damn website and listen to the sound yourself. It's a clever website, in that it just does one thing -- just a "wahhh-wahh-wahh" sound effect.

The language for online interaction has acquired lots of interesting widgets/abbreviations/symbols, a shorthand for communicating. It's very vibrant, and constantly changing.

You might see someone link to the Sad Trombone site, or simply type [sadtrombone] in plain text to imply the sound effect. Sad Trombone can connote a lot of different things. I will not attempt to unpack the nuances of it here, but trust me, it's a very fluid signifier. Did I just say "very fluid signifier"? Jeez, someone kick me in the balls, please.

Okay, so basically, Sad Trombone is a very quick way of conveying a potentially complicated emotion/feeling.

Let's talk about the genius of my tweet. FINALLY.

My idea for Sad Piano is not a web page linking to a three second sound bite, but to the entire First movement of Frédéric Chopin's Moonlight Sonata. It's a solemn, mid-tempo song, clocking in at around six minutes.

I love the idea that in the incredibly quick back-and-forth of online communication, a link to Sad Piano will ostensibly slooooow down one's movement in the online space while he or she is obliged to listen to the Chopin piece in its entirety.

Similarly, imagine seeing "[sadpiano]" at the end of someone's comment. The reader then must imagine the Chopin piece in real time before he or she can progress onto anything else.

This whole Sad Piano thing reminds of a joke Louis C.K. told in his recent stand-up concert film, Hilarious. He said he wished that people who make the "jerk-off" hand gesture are forced to continue it until they "finish". He then proceeded to demonstrate this.

Anyways, I probably didn't word my tweet well enough to convey all of the above. There was probably a better way of putting it. But I liked my idea and I had a very pleasant time overexplaining it to you.

So thank you!

P.S. The website does not actually exist -- another potential reason why people did not recognize the tweet's genius.

Sad Piano :-(

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mother Jones, Your Ads Are Fucking With The Intent Of Your Articles

Look, here's a Mother Jones article.
The House GOP's Plan to Redefine Rape

This article decries a proposed bill to limit instances when abortions are eligible for government funding. The rape must be "forcible". Instances of statutory rape would not be included. It seems like a pretty awful bill, and...what the?

Look, a scantily-clad underage model! Thanks, Mother Jones!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Elevator Lobby Font Face Mystery

This past October, I started working in one of those skyscraper buildings in downtown Chicago. As you might guess, there are ELEVATORS in this building. Elevators which I actually RIDE on.

Elevator Lobby

See the bands of blue above each elevator? That's where it indicates what floor the elevator serves.

If you closely scrutinize the top picture, you may notice the band above the furthest elevator to the left is white, not blue.

Let's take a closer look.


What the?!! What happened? What is happening? What's going to happen?

Calm down. I'll explain. A month or so some work was done on that elevator. I have no idea what kind of work was done. What do I look like? Some working-on-an-elevator-expert kind of person?

The important thing is that after they were done with the elevator, it did not look like the others.

My guess is that this is what all the elevators looked like at some time. For the recent repairs, the workers probably had to remove the sleek blue, ultra-modern "4-16", revealing the previous incarnation of the sign.

The font face looks to be Art Deco. This is not really important to the story, but how pretty is this image search result for "art deco font" from Google?

So, Art Deco was a style originating in the 1920's. There's no way this backlit sign is from the 1920's, right? Hmm. According to its Wikipedia page, Art Deco had a revival in graphic design in the 1980's. AH HA. That sounds about right.

But wait! My building has a Wikipedia page, too! According to the page, it was built in 1990. Could this backlit Art Deco elevator lobby sign be from the building's original construction? Sure, why the hell not?

Should I be embarrassed by a building that used an Art Deco font face when everyone else was probably leaving it behind, along with their parachute pants, Duran Duran haircuts and Bret Easton Ellis novels?

I honestly don't know, but I will be embarrassed if you want me to be.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Short Posts

"Using a blog post to convey info that could be easily done in a tweet implies your post is especially compelling & worthy of attention." -- Splotchy

(do not include the word "Splotchy" in your character count)



"Without a sample of normal text for comparison, bold is not bold." -- Splotchy, 01/25/2010

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Social Kvetchwork

This is not exactly a movie review, but it will be in parts. And parts of this post will be all over the fucking place.

I sat at home on the night of January 16th. I checked in on my Twitter feed. It seemed like everyone who I followed was tweeting about the Golden Globes (#GoldenGlobes!). They were making snarky observations. I got tired of all the ha-ha's, and turned on the TV, watched a little of the show.

I strongly disliked it. I might have even hated it. Of course I had to voice my displeasure on Twitter. I tweeted, "I don't like these people." I wasn't being funny, I was registering my unasked-for opinion like a good Internet denizen does.

I logged off and decided to go see The Social Network (TSN) at the LaGrange. And maybe I would write about the movie in one of my blog's long-abandoned regular features, Two-Buck Schmuck, where I watch films at a second-run theater and comment snarkily about them on my blog.

The irony of leaving a group of people being snotty about the entertainment industry online to go forth with the purpose of being snotty about the entertainment industry online was not lost on me.

The people I gravitate to on Twitter are funny people. I love to laugh. And the person who I am, the person who I used to express more regularly on this blog, is the person that writes on the @isplotchy account on Twitter.

I am also a member of Facebook. I'm on it. But I don't really care about it. Twitter and Facebook have decimated the blogosphere. I'm not sure which has had more of an effect -- probably Facebook. Many once-active blogs are now dormant. Perhaps their typists found whatever need they had to express themselves online satisfied by the Facebook. (NOTE: As I learned in TSN, Facebook used to be called The Facebook, which justifies my prior obnoxious use of the word "The" preceding it up to now, and into the foreseeable future).

I don't really care one way or the other about the disintegration of the blogosphere, I guess. My involvement in the blogosphere was waning already when everything started shaking up. I mean, I took a long break from my days (1999) to the start of my blogging days (2007). I don't have a constant web presence, folks. Where we go, we go.

I guess you could say that the blogosphere has been revitalized somewhat with the explosion of Tumblr blogs, but I just fell asleep as you were saying that.

I thought about blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. as I watched the movie. I know it's impressive how fast and far The Facebook has spread, but, well….. MEHHHHHHHH. This MEH applies to The Facebook and not necessarily TSN. The Facebook has given lots of people a foothold to self-expression on the Internet, where they perhaps might not have had one before. The Facebook has brought people together, too, I suppose. I do not care about these people. Okay, they're okay. And I am friends with the drummer from the Feelies on The Facebook, which thrills me to this very day. But The Facebook is not to me what it might be to other people.

I liked doing the self-expression myself. And I like self-expression deriving from an amalgamation of my various writings, and hopefully you sometimes can get a sense of my "me-ness" from reading the things I write. And I like linking up with people who are sharing something very personal, interesting, which more times than not I have found in the blogosphere. I like reading good writing. And I connect with people whose writing touches me, reaches out to me, etc. I have felt connections to others on Twitter, I guess, but it's not quite as rich a connection, if that makes any sense.

You know what? I'm kind of self-involved and self-important on the Internet. It's true! I like having my own blog. MINE. It's mine alone. I remember being really pissed at something filmmaker/playwright Neil LaBute contributed to the blog Six Sentences. Here it is, it's short:

i stand all amazed

it's astonishing how needy people are. i had no idea. it was a technical advancement like anything else -- the microwave or the radio. the blog was born and millions of gasping little voices appeared, spilling out of their journals and crying a chorus of 'me, me, me!' so many electronic hands reaching out. some collective 'i was here.'

I was pissed off when I read this back in 2007. But in some ways, I guess he was right. This blog *is* me saying, "I was here". On some level I probably realized there was some truth to that. I guess the issue I had with it was, why the fuck *can't* I say I was here? Why not?

The blog is a way of sharing my creativity, sense of humor, worries, thoughts, etc. How different is that from making a film, writing a book, a song, whatever? And what are other creative endeavors? Aren't they in some ways a way of saying "I was here."? Aren't you conveying your viewpoint of the world? Aren't you saying, hey everybody, have you thought about it this way, i.e. my way? You know what? Fuck Neil LaBute. I'm still mad at that douchebag.

Because I am operating under a rigid framework on Twitter and on Facebook, I feel like I am just renting space. Okay, this blog is technically running on someone else's website. OKAY. I WILL GRANT YOU THAT. But do you get how I can think of it as my space (MySpace!)?

But I digress. Or I digressed up until now. Okay, the movie. The review of the movie.

Actually before that, my car ride to the movie. I came to the lovely train tracks in my town, and counted 1, 2, 3 fucking freight trains moving hither and fro (there are a total of four tracks side by side). With only minutes to get to the movie theater, I said to myself, "Fuck that!", and followed another car who seemed to know where it was going.

Ah ha! I remembered, there was a way of going under the train tracks a half-mile west of where we were. So this car and me, its shadow, went zig-zagging towards the underpass. The car came to a one-way street that it could not turn down. This was the street that led to the underpass, but you had to take a circuitous route to get there. So the car turned left instead of right. And do you know what I did, dear readers? I TURNED RIGHT GOING THE WRONG WAY DOWN A ONE-WAY STREET. I didn't kill anyone or anything. Was this action-packed driving drama worth all that Facebook/Twitter/Blogging preamble you waded through? OF COURSE it was.


The movie was okay. I got tired of Jesse Eisenberg and the Aaron Sorkin dialogue he was forced to spew. It was all like "wabbity wabbity wabbity wabbity" and "wibbity wibbity wibbity wibbity". Enough with the wibbity wabbities, Sorkin!

Lessee. Justin Timberlake was the Napster guy. Hey, Internet. Hey, everyone who has an opinion. I don't like Justin Timberlake. I don't care how talented you say he is. Fuck him and the boy band he rode in on. Okay, he was alright, I guess. But I don't like the fucking guy. I DON'T.


A chunk of the movie takes place in the wintertime. They apparently shot some of the outside scenes when it wasn't wintertime and/or cold out, and in order to placate viewers who would expect to see the characters exhale visible breath, they CGI'ed the breath. THEY CGI'ed THE BREATH.

I'm done reviewing now.



(and don't look for Splotchy on Facebook, he is not there)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Misheard Lyrics, Vol 9

Neil Diamond - Cherry, Cherry

Actual Lyrics
Ain't got no right
No, no you don't
Ah, to be so exciting

What I Sing
Ain't got no right
No, no you don't
On a piece of *siding

* Aluminum

Overexplaining Underappreciated Tweets #4

Twitter User:

@JennaStern Don't worry. It's this September you need to worry about. The Month For Procrastinating Terrorists.
(link to original tweet)

The above was a reply to this tweet by @JennaStern:
"1am on 1-11-11. <<holding breath>> ...okay. Didn't blow up. Cool."
(link to original tweet)

I don't want to complain about the underappreciation of this tweet, so much as explain where it was coming from.

Sometimes I will get good ideas. I will think they are very funny or interesting, but then I won't ever make them into anything. They don't come along all that often, but they do come along.

A few days prior to the tweet featured here I had a funny idea about 09/11. Not 09/11/2001, but the month of 09/2011. I imagined a story where a group of terrorists intended to plan another attack against the US, echoing the number symbolism of the attacks in 2001.

However, they were very lazy. They kept on putting things off, because, unlike 2001, they had a lot of time to actually execute the attack. They had a whole month! Who cares -- 09/01/2011, 09/30/2011, it would be 09/11 when it happened, dammit!

And so my idea of the procrastinating terrorists was born. We would see them at various points during the month of September where they would be doing ANYTHING but actually doing terrorist things... cleaning their fridge, going apple-picking, whatever.

So, that's the idea. The chance of me actually putting forth the effort to write or film it was very slim.

But then I saw Jenna's tweet. Ahh! I could just unleash my funny idea as a tweet. Did anyone realize what I was saying? Maybe not. I don't know, because I wrote it. It probably is a bit obscure.

I regretted it a bit after tweeting the reply to Jenna. She lives in Brooklyn, and I was making a 09/11 joke. Maybe she has family and friends that died back in 2001. I don't think I did any lasting damage. She knows I think very highly of her and all that stuff, and wouldn't say something intentionally hurtful.

Anyways, I'm not complaining at all. I just think the story behind this tweet is interesting and worth overexplaining.

Overexplaining Underappreciated Tweets #3

Twitter User:

What am I doing for NYE? I'll attempt to instill an interest in science in my children, I suppose.
(link to original tweet)

I wrote this on December 31st, sometime in the afternoon, I think.

As you probably know, my tweet used "NYE", a popular abbreviation of "New Year's Eve".

But wait! WAS I referring to New Year's Eve?!!!

If you thought so, this tweet probably made little sense to you. But if you were "on the ball" and not "fucking dull stupid" you realized from the remainder of the tweet that in actuality I was referring to this guy:

Yes, it's Bill Nye, the Science Guy!

It's okay. People were probably more focused on their NYE plans to get my Nye joke.

Maybe this tweet will be appreciated next year. But I am not counting on it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Testing The Bounds of "Sweet Caroline" Singability

Okay, so every time the Neil Diamond song "Sweet Caroline" is on, and Neil Diamond sings the words "Sweet Caroline", you pretty much *have* to sing along with the horns going "BUM! BUM! BUM!" It's a compulsion. I can't explain it.

I was wondering how slowing down the song would affect one's desire to sing along. Here are my findings.

(NOTE: The following are snippets of the song, not the entire song.)

Normal Speed - Completely Irresistible. Don't bother fighting it.

26% Slower Than Normal - Mostly Irresistible. Oddly stately, regal.

42% Slower Than Normal - Still Pretty Damned Irresistible. A stoner anthem.

57% Slower Than Normal - Not Very Irresistible. I think the pain meds are kicking in.

88% Slower Than Normal - Resistibility Accomplished. That being said, this is a very nice moody piece. And the horns have the gravitas of a tragic Shakespearean death.

Thanks for listening. BUM! BUM! BUM!

Start Making Interesting Zombie Movies, Or Stop Making Shitty Ones

Enough with the zombies. They aren't interesting anymore. Dawn of the Dead came out in 1978. 1978! What other interesting zombie movies ARE THERE?!!

I don't really like any of the recent zombie movies/shows I have seen. 28 Days Later. Zombieland. The Walking Dead. Okay, so we see how people act under duress. Enough already. Who cares?

I haven't read the Jane Austen zombie book, but I am going to go out on a limb and say I hate it. Yeah, I hate something I haven't read! DEAL WITH IT!

I am going to give you 3 Zombie Story Ideas. They might have been used already, they might have not. I'm not checking.

1) Vegetarian Zombies

The dead walk the Earth! But they don't want to eat brains. They want grains, fruits, vegetables! They menace crops. They go after farmer's markets. They invade supermarkets.

Maybe they get violent in their attempt to procure these non-meats. They are aggressive.

How does the non-zombie world treat them?

2) Sex Zombies

Zombies don't want to eat your brains. They want to fuck your brains out. See, I just came up with the tagline. I did half the work for you.

The zombies are driven by their genitalia. To kill the zombie, you must destroy their junk. Ouch!

Depending on the zombies' sex and sexual orientation, they will be moaning after "Tiiiiiiiits" or "Coooooooooooooock" or, you get the idea.

3) Eat A Zombie To Stay Alive

Okay, the zombies are like regular zombies. They eat people, they can be killed by destroying the brain.

The world is overrun by zombies. They outnumber the living.

Scientists have discovered that when a human being ingests zombie flesh, they give off a scent which repels zombies. Well, the zombie doesn't want to eat the human, at least.

They have tried synthesizing the scent, coming up with a perfume, etc., but none of that works. The only thing works is eating zombie flesh.

Are there side effects to eating zombie flesh? I don't know, haven't thought of that yet. Perhaps some long-term effects that would be discovered in the course of the movie.

So, in this world zombie flesh is what's for dinner. It's a means of survival. How does this ripple out to society? There are chefs that attempt to make zombie flesh more palatable. Companies start marketing products. You get the idea.



Wednesday, January 5, 2011