Category Archives: Cultural-ish Stuff

Breaking Down the 80s – “Africa” Music Video by Toto

This is a bit of a narrative journey, but stay with me. It pays off IN SPADES! A couple days ago, I heard the song Africa while driving with my girlfriend. After I bored her with stories about the song’s greatness, I happenchanced upon this interview with the song’s writer. In that article, I watched music video, and I don’t mind telling you, it’s a masterpiece. So much goodness here:

0:01 – We fade in, spinning globe and a slow, percussive build. You know you’re in for something special. Wikipedia tells me that this video was directed by someone named Steve Barron (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!), but don’t be confused, this is some Terrance Malick imagery shit right here. Hope you’re paying attention.

Your Hero

0:21 – You’re hero is an obvious lover of knowledge. And is that a kerchief fashionably slung around his neck like a blue-collar ascot? You’re in. To recap, this is going to be a mind-bending safari thrill ride, and this guy’s got the keys to the jalopy. We’re all in.

Bespectacled Beauty

0:58 – Beautiful and bespectacled, our lady of the video aims a sultry gaze. At what, we can’t be certain. Is it the bearded peruser of books that’s captured her interest? Perhaps it’s dreams of the dark continent that is the song’s title? And maybe she’s just a lusty librarian—maybe a student, but her eyes betray more confidence than curiosity—feeling the emotions we feel as fans after getting our first look at Toto’s drummer, bell-shaker and pianist. She has to be a librarian, right? Turned on by that kind of musical acumen and range? Save the simple acoustic guitar on the quad for the students.

Shrunk Band

1:10 – An exhilarating drum bridge launches us into the chorus where, what in sweet 80’s heaven is going on? It appears that Toto is using the magic of film to shrink themselves down on some books about The Birthplace of Humanity. Hopefully this gets explained.

All The Books

1:21 – Are these all the books you have about Africa!? I’m questing with a torn piece of parchment that I have somehow fantastically tracked back to this very library! Give me more books about Africa! I’m questing!

Stranger Lurks

1:50 – A stranger lurks. Tension builds.

2:00 – “Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti” is some all-time lyrical genius.

Mustache Singer

2:20 – Not in a million years would I have imagined that mustache was the thing singing this chorus. Just, wow.

Goofy Uncle

2:32 – Is there any way that guy could be more dressed like your goofy uncle? Or how about that underachieving cousin of yours in the background? Those are rockstars, people.

Wristbands Piano

2:34 – Wristbands on a pianist. It’s practical. I get it. When Big Data finally brings advanced metrics to ivory tickling, you’ll see a correlation between wristbands worn and the lower numbers of keys missed. Also, that pianist wrote this song. Don’t judge an innovator.

Book Search

2:39 – These can’t be ALL the books you have about Africa, can it? Anything more obviously titled? Maybe hiding under a mystically miniaturized rock band?

Africa Book

3:10 – Yahtzee!!! And then, well, I won’t lie to you guys, things move quickly and get a little confusing…

Spear

….A spear crashes into the wall…

Glasses Ground

…the sexy librarian drops her glasses and is never seen again, and you’d feel pretty lost about what it all means except that our hero shows us the exact emotion to feel  about all this.

Emotion Face

A thousand words in that thousand-yard stare right there. Fear and excitement, he thrills at the unfolding of events, and thanks to him,  you feel all these things too.

Missing Page

3:32 – Ant then the book falls open. That’s it. The end of the rainbow. What’s it all mean? I’d like to think that our hero is putting together the very story of the legendary hunter who threw an opportune spear into an apparently arid and thus super-flammable library. But he wasn’t ready to reveal himself. Like the Africa of 1982 itself, there’s a romance to the unsolved mystery here. It’s best that way. Even when the promise of closure goes up in flames…

Burning Missing Piece

…Isn’t it best this way? You tell me, does this look like a guy who is unsatisfied with the way his adventure ended?

Lounge Book

Not at all. He had his great African walkabout, and while he’ll bask in this deep, life-altering moment a little while longer, he needs to get back to the states to raise his 13-year-old son, Zach Galifianakis, who’s in talks right now about fleshing this out in a movie called Kingdom of Desire: The Toto Story.

“Hurry, boy. It’s waiting there for you.”

Crying out in the night,
Dusty “Wild Dog” Riedesel

Buy or Sell: What Happened in 2014 that’s worth taking with us to 2015?

In a heavier mood from an earlier date, I pontificated on the passing of time:

I thought we made minutes small to trick ourselves into thinking that life is long. But I think the real trick is that the minutia of time was built in cycles. Hours, days, weeks and seasons repeating in perpetuity so that the future always looks like a cul-de-sac instead of a dead end. You hear it more than you think. This is going to be my year. The sun will come up tomorrow. It’s always darkest before the dawn. It’s as if hope was built into the fabric of time.

2014. It’s nearly in the books. And in an effort to take steps forward, I’m going to highlight 5 things from the year we as a society should be buying more of for 2015, and 5 things we should sell so hard that the only place they show up is in SNL skits in the year 2027 to remind us of how ridiculous this era is. All credit for this idea belongs to my co-blogging penemy, Tommy Cooksey. But first, because I don’t want to bury some of the most valuable and prescient information a man can use as New Year’s Day approaches, here’s a classic conversational tip for the upcoming season:

Ask people about their New Year’s resolutions. Few other topics simultaneously disclose a person’s insecurities alongside their dreams. Knowing those two things are like putting your two hands on the steering wheel of their life car.

Alright. That’s settled. Misogynists and gentleman alike, you’re welcome. Now on to Buy/Sell 2014.

BUY

Matthew McConaughey

2014 was a banner year. There was this:

And this:

And that character led to this:

Which turned into this:

I thought that I’d be willing to buy all things McConaughey until we’re born again into the moments we’ve already lived, but there is an end to this rabbit hole. It’s MM-spoofed marriage proposals.

Buy McConaughey. Sell social media marriage proposals…I mean, we were selling those back in 2012.

Colored Shoelaces

Most sartorial pros would tell you I’m a year (or two) behind on this trend. Maybe I am. I’m 29, and my mother was the one who told me this was a cool thing, so that is what it is. But this isn’t a “What’s the bleeding edge of cool in 2015” blog post. So don’t worry about it. BUY.

Enjoying Small Ball Baseball

Let’s be clear. Small ball is not the way to be a successful baseball team. High OBP and home runs are still the “best” baseball strategy. But as a fan, the threat of the steal, the high contact/low strikeout lineup, and the “we’ll never pull away, but we’re never out of it because you won’t score in the last three innings” approach of the Kansas City Royals is just better suited to build tension in every game. Just as in story-telling, complexity and layers create a richer narrative. I wish al lthe teams played smaller. In something we unfortunately can’t control, BUY.

The Hemsworth Brothers

As my friend Britt says, “There’s seriously a Hemsworth for every taste. You like long & lean, there’s a Hemsworth for that. A taste for shorter men, we have a Hemsworth for that. Maybe more of a broad and muscular, good news, there’s a Hemsworth for you too! Best of all, all Hemsworth models come with Australian accents.”

I’m a Chris fan. While his IMDB shows nothing in 2014, he still wrangled Sexiest Man Alive, and his 2015 is looking awesome. Don’t sleep on Hemsworth.

GIF Texting

Because:

BUY.

SELL

“Bye Felicia”

This isn’t something white girls should be clinging to. SELL

ice bucket challenge

Dear IBC,

It’s not you. It’s us. When we first met, we all thought you were fun and had a great heart. But after a while, you were forcing us to hang out with friends on your time. You made us feel crappy about the fact that we’d rather dump cold water on ourselves than give money to a disease (or water to thirsting nations for that matter). You aren’t who we thought you were, and we’re leaving you in 2014.

No longer yours,
America

“NO MORE” NFL CAMPAIGN

The NFL tried to cover up from me (and you and everybody) that one of their players did something horrific in an elevator. When their cover up was found out, they responded with an ad campaign that tells the viewer that they won’t stand for violence towards women. The hypocirsy is bothersome enough. But also, I don’t beat women. It’s one of those basic things that I picked up with “respect your elders” and “don’t be naked in church, or the general public for that matter.” Has one of these PSA’s ever stopped a guy? All these commercials do is make me angry at the NFL for being such a two-faced league that is actively violent and dangerous while saying it’s against concussions and battery and….[deep breath]. SELL

#blessed

We wanted to sell it in 2013. It’s still around in 2014. By all that is holy, let’s sell this thing in 2015.

This will help explain: https://twitter.com/bestofblessed

E-Cigarettes

These do not have a future. I’m pretty positive they peaked last February. Sell it all. Sell it now. SELL.

Build a better you,
Dusty “Project 2015” Riedesel

How ‘Hipster’ are you? A 10 Question Quiz to determine your level of ‘hipness’

Much like the words “literally” and “ironic” I’ve found the word “hipster” to be an overused and inaccurately pinned word. Much like the former 2 words, it seems people don’t generally understand that it makes no sense to use the word “literally” followed by some exaggerated statement; “I literally at like 100 hot dogs on Memorial Day.” Or when someone uses “ironic” in place of “coincidence” like their interchangeable words. Sorry, you’re not Eli Whitney.

So too is the word “hipster.” Just because something/someone is slightly different or trendy doesn’t make it/them a hipster. Now you’re wondering, “Am I a hipster?” I’ve put together a 10 question quiz below for you. Answer honestly. At the end, total all of your points (answers numbered 1-4) to see just how hip you really are.

Question 1: It’s your turn at the bar. The bartender asks “What can I get you?” you reply:

  1. Bud Light
  2. Jack and Diet Coke
  3. Do you have any local microbrews?
  4. PBR. Tall Boy.

Question 2: Your plans for this weekend are?

  1. Rager. Hangover. White boy wasted.
  2. Hosting a “Beers from Around the Globe” party
  3. Blogging.
  4. Checking out a new art gallery and shopping at the farmer’s market

oOoOoO Look at that sweet filter!!!

Question 3: What is your primary means of transportation?

  1. Pick-up truck
  2. SUV
  3. Prius
  4. Fixie (if you don’t know what this is, don’t Bing it, just choose 1, 2 or 3).

Question 4: How would you describe the pants you’re wearing today?

  1. Shorts. I always wear shorts.
  2. Pleated khakis
  3. Not sure, my wife/girlfriend bought me these
  4. Skinny jeans. But definitely long enough to cuff

Question 5: In your closet right now you have ___ plaid shirts?

  1. Does a polo shirt count?
  2. 1-3
  3. 4-6
  4. 7+

Question 6: Are you going to see the Black Keys on tour this summer?

  1. I LOVE the Black Eyed Peas!
  2. Is it part of the Country Mega Ticket? No? Then, no.
  3. Yeah I’ll go. It’s gonna suck sitting in the lawn when I saw them in the pit at Bonnaroo TWO YEARS AGO. They were so much better then.
  4. No. As far as I’m concerned, they’re way too commercial. El Camino might as well have been written by Nickelback.

Question 7: My current mobile phone is a _______.

  1. Android
  2. Flip phone…but its got a QWERTY keyboard!
  3. iPhone 4 (or lower)
  4. iPhone 5

Question 8: What is your go-to Instagram filter?

  1. What the hell is an Instant Gram? I don’t do drugs.
  2. Kelvin
  3. Walden
  4. Nashville

Question 9: When the sun is shining bright you always reach for your _____.

  1. Visor
  2. Oakleys
  3. Aviators
  4. Ray-Ban wayferers

Question 10: Summer is coming, what type of pants/shorts will you be rocking?

  1. Budweiser swim trunks. Can’t go wrong there. (If you truly choose 1, please see this link for help)
  2. The shortest coral shorts I can buy from J.Crew
  3. Well-fitted khaki shorts.
  4. Cut-off skinny jeans, that I cut into shorts myself.

Now based on your selections, add up your point totals…(drum rolllllllllllll)

If you totaled:

10-17 – My my, how the roles have reversed. You used to be the cool jock/homecoming queen scoring all of the attention from the opposite sex. Now you lack any culture, sense of style or music and that skinny jeans, plaid shirt wearing hipster is getting all the love. It’s ok though, you’ll still be a shining star at frat parties and Kenny Chesney concerts!

18-25 – You’re in luck! You have some sense of fashion OR irony OR culture; but you don’t have it all. You probably have no idea what a vlog is, or have probably never eating a vegan chicken nugget (OMG so GOOOODDD) In some social settings you have idea of what is cool and trendy, but your grandma and her retirement home, bridge-playing friends think anything post WWII is “the trendy thing the kids are getting into these days.” Embrace the part of you that’s hip, and work hard “hipping” up the rest (but don’t try too hard because that’s just not cool).

26-33 – In most situations people are probably going to call you a hipster. You’re never seen without a pair of skinny jeans, a plaid shirt, an ironic (not really ironic anymore) mustache while sipping on 24oz of the Blue Ribbon. Hell you might even blog about music, style and what makes a hipster. But something’s missing. You’re just not as plugged into the hipster social and music scene like you should be. Your more hipster friends will accept you and celebrate when you’re around. But when you’re not, they’ll secretly scoff at the fact that you don’t own a fixie all while they Instagram pictures of their 100% local grown and raised organic meal with a kick-ass Nashville filter.

33-40 – You’ve done it. You’re hip. You and your friends were hipsters before being a hipster was the hip thing to do. What others call skinny jeans you call jeans. What the general public calls “a new CD” you call a “viynl.” You always know what’s going on downtown and if it involves art or local food, you can bet you’ll be riding your fixed gear bike to that event and judging the hell out of everyone there who DARES to show up without a proper fitting cardigan or blazer. But you didn’t need some test to tell you that. In fact, if you scored >33 you probably stopped reading at the title (because reading blogs is so 2012). So these last 60 words or so are probably a waste of space.

Images {IMG Donkey Pitchfork  The State Hornet  Neatorama Cyanide and Happiness {The Atlantic}