My Favorite Things Written For The Internets, 2011

Taste Has Never Met Shame: I Love You, Conor Oberst! by Ben Dolnick

"And yet: there’s no musician I love more "A Line Allows Progress…" is the kind of song that Macaulay Culkin might sing if The Good Son were ever turned into a Broadway musical, but that part at 1:05 when his voice wobbles on “stumble ‘round the neighborhood…” has been, on dozens of cold afternoons when I’m running errands ‘round the neighborhood, more dear to me than my winter coat. “First Day of My Life” is, in its way, as syrupy as any Michael Bublé serenade, but it happens to be a syrup perfectly engineered to flood my emotional circuit-board.”

The Two-Fisted, One-Eyed Misadventures Of Sportswriting’s Last Badass by Alex Belth

""At least once a week someone asks me why I write about sports," George wrote in a column. "My friends on the Left persistently refer to the ‘pig mentality’ which governs organized sports and want to know how I can fathom sharing the delectations of Richard Nixon. On the other side of the spectrum—people I run into in bars, and not a few brethren sportswriters (many of whom have closer ties to the management and/or ownership of various teams than I) are wont to ask, ‘If you hate sports so much, why the hell do you write about it?’”“

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Clara Bow, “It” Girl by Anne Helen Petersen

"But it’s something else, too — something Billy Wilder once referred to as “flesh impact," a rare quality shared only with the likes of Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth, and Marilyn Monroe. Flesh impact meant having “flesh which photographs like flesh,” flesh you felt you could reach out and touch. In other words: flesh with which you would very much like to have sex. That desire made Clara Bow a star, but would also make it easy to tell outrageous stories about her, and for people to believe those outrageous stories. In 1927, she was the No. 1 star in America. When she retired in 1931 amid a tangle of scandals, she was all of 28 years old."

Kanye’s 808s: How A Machine Brought Heartbreak to Hip-Hop by Emma Carmichael

"That was one of many perceived problems with the use of the 808 on the album. Kanye’s production had been celebrated because he’d created his own sound and perfected it until it became familiar, even the norm. On 808s, that sound shifted so dramatically and so forcefully, it sounded unnatural. The 808 took the place of the Kanye soul sample (there are just four samples on the entire album), and it did so prematurely. Kanye’s emotional burden is expressed in every layer he piled onto “Love Lockdown”—from the pulsing, opening beat to the jumpy piano line and his strained singing. The singing, it must be said, is just never very good on 808s. Throughout the album, Kanye is crying to himself and shouting at us at the same time.”

Baseball Night In America by Joe Posnanski

"And on this wonderful baseball night, this wonderful thought struck me: Raul Ibanez at age 39, in the 12th inning of what was for him and his team a game without consequence, had run his heart out to first base, though the double play was almost certain. Why are you doing this? Maybe it’s because sometimes, when it seems least likely, we might find the best in ourselves.”

Thirteen Observations while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance by Lemony Snicket

"8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example."

The People Who Hate Tim Tebow by Chuck Klosterman

"Obviously, religion plays a role in this (we live in a Christian nation, Tebow is a Christian warrior, non-Christians see themselves as ostracized, and Christians see themselves as eternally persecuted). But the real reason this "Tebow Thing" feels new is because it’s a God issue that transcends God, assuming it’s possible for any issue to transcend what’s already transcendent. I’m starting to think it has something to do with the natural human discomfort with faith — and not just faith in Christ, but faith in anything that might (eventually) make us look ridiculous."

From Another Era and Another Sport, Sex Abuse Scandal Still Inflicting Pain Today by Jeff Passan

"Fitzpatrick never did go to prison. He died in 2005. Ogletree learned about it by reading a letter at the DeSoto Annex Correctional Institute, where he was serving the 678th day of a sentence that would last another 2,112."

Can’t Be Tamed: A Manifesto by Molly Lambert

"Be the best. That is, assuming that you are the best. Be the best you can possibly be, whatever that means to you. Absolutely do not step down in order to not threaten people. Don’t apologize. If you genuinely fucked up fine, you are allowed to apologize once but then stop apologizing. Think about how much you hear women apologizing for themselves for no reason, or being self-deprecating or self-abnegating out of habit. What the fuck are you apologizing for? For being too good?”

I’m So Fucking Special by Tom Ewing

"The specific traumas of high school recede into memory, but your worldview remains stubbornly you-centric. The problem of self-actualization isn’t simply that people are led to believe they’re special and then face disappointment. It’s that people come to believe they’re special as a necessary survival mechanism, and find that hard to let go even when perspective might actually help. And now we’ve built a gigantic specialness machine called the Internet to keep that perspective as far away from us as possible."

When Reality-TV Fame Runs Dry by Kate Aurthur

"Spencer said: “Paris Hilton created fame for nothing. The fact that only 400,000 people tuned into her premiere? We’re< Paris Hilton fans.” He continued: “She didn’t make all these surgery mistakes, or crystal mistakes. She didn’t do any of that. But here she is. Her career stopped.””

Posts Tagged with It Happened Every Summer by Cole Roulain

"it is a luminous piece of provocative, experimental filmmaking quite unlike anything i have ever seen and it raises a good deal more questions than it answers. is it even possible to fault the children for indulging their murderous or libidinous impulses when they have received no tutelage that makes them appreciate the consequences of those actions as everyone else understands them? when does art cross the line from depicting depravity to indulging in it? is morality a dungheap, everyone standing on their own to shout about everyone else’s? this is definitely not for everyone, and that is unfortunate, but i feel like i have seen something we very well may look back on as revolutionary."

The Steve Jobs I Knew by Walt Mossberg

"Yet there was more to the calls than that. They turned into marathon, 90-minute, wide-ranging, off-the-record discussions that revealed to me the stunning breadth of the man. One minute he’d be talking about sweeping ideas for the digital revolution. The next about why Apple’s current products were awful, and how a color, or angle, or curve, or icon was embarrassing. After the second such call, my wife became annoyed at the intrusion he was making in our weekend. I didn’t."

One or Eight: Jeff Bagwell, Sadaharu Oh, and the Mystery of the Batting Stance by Ted Walker

"One or eight; all or nothing, When faced with failure, Sadaharu Oh chose the batting stance that embraced nothing. Bagwell’s stance incorporated all, every muscle fiber, every available point of tension. Perhaps on some subconscious level, Bagwell, realizing that there was no use in struggling against the pressure of external forces, projected that struggle inward, allowing the forces that would otherwise sink us to press against each other until they achieved a kind of balance.”

The Tetris Effect by Justin Wolfe

"My brother and I became addicted to cheating. After a certain point, to us, cheating was synonymous with playing; there was no separation between the two. At first we took out the Game Genie after every time we used it, only inserting it into the system again when we wanted to cheat on a particular game. After a few weeks, though, we just left it in there and didn’t take it out anymore. It stayed plugged into the system forever, its codes changing all our games and the way we played them. Once it was in the system, ultimately, there was no point in taking it out."

Bonus: Favorite Things Drawn For The Internets, 2011:

Drive: An Illustrated Response by Lisa Hanawalt

Animals Drawn Poorly On Cocktail Napkins With Lasers Shooting Out Of Their Eyes by Tully Mills

MLB Uniforms, 2011 by Craig Robinson

topics discussed at tonight’s softball games

Now I’m home and I just made some quesadillas and I’m about to draw a picture of a baseball player while Brian watches soccer, and these little things (softball and drawing and cooking and baseball and my boyfriend) are pretty much all I need to be very, very happy.

Today has been an EXCELLENT DAY

Here’s why: 

1. I did all the laundry I’ve been putting off for approximately an eternity and now my closet is fully organized and smells of dryer sheets. I even threw out all my clothes that had unfixable holes and all my shoes that had broken heels!

2. Brian bought me some very cute shoes.

3. I registered for the SXSW Film badge that I’m getting for having screened films for them this year. And now, for pretty much the entirety of the next week starting on Friday, I will either be working at a movie theater or sitting in one. Which is neat because movie theaters are among my favorite places to be.

4. My leftovers are better than yours: without doing any cooking today except for the 5 minutes it takes to make fresh corn tortillas (and pushing the buttons on a microwave), I ate tofu and veggie tacos for lunch, and rich homemade five-cheese macaroni for dinner.

5. I played in our team’s first unofficial scrimmage of this year, and I went 4 for 6 with a run and I played second base for the last few innings and did awesome! I may someday not actually be the worst player on my team!

6. We get cable tomorrow. I haven’t had cable (or television service at all) at home in like ten years, so it’s going to be weird and I do have kind of mixed feelings about it, but since it includes the MLB Network and those cooking competition shows on the Food Network, I am mostly just really pretty excited. Hopefully I will be able to be the first person in the history of the world to make good on the concept of getting other things done while having television on “in the background.”

7. THIS HAPPENED.

a list of all the artsy fartsy things that are stacking up in my brain

1. I’m going to start making small limited edition prints of some selective celebrity portraits, maybe like 15 of each one and a new one each month? For like 20 bucks or something, depending on how much it costs for me to get nice prints made (I’m looking into it!).

2. Every Hall of Famer has had me thinking about baseball even more than usual and, so, working on my baseball zine. I promise that it will be out sometime during the 2011 baseball season, hopefully earlier than later.

3. I’ve been working hard on my commissions for Shawn and I can’t wait to show you guys!

4. Screenprinting t-shirts! With my boyfriend! Who is really funny and comes up to me randomly the other day and is, without context, all “what if you drew a picture of a cigarette holding hands with a matchbook and a lighter off in the distance crying?”

5. Dollhouses! You guys don’t even know!!!!!

6. The autobiographical web comic that I’ve been saying I am going to do for approximately, what, like, five years now, but I’m really serious about it now because I think the new tablet is actually the perfect medium for it?

7. I want to finally have an art show in real life physical space sometime this summer. I have big ideas for it! It might be my birthday party. And bands? Something fun.

8. And then, of course, after I’m done with the hall of famers I will have a thing where we will look at all of them and then I will give them away or something. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, actually. But I do know that I want to have an astrodome cake and two ball screwballs and maybe ballpark nachos or something there, though.

9. Shrinky dink jewelry of animals wearing unicorn horns!

10. My sloth halloween costume is absolutely definitely actually for sure happening this year and don’t let me back down this time.

2011, so far

- Too many acute fits of sentimentality and nostalgia, but what else is new?

- Also, too many cheerios.

- Every Hall of Famer

- Pretty girls inside the wonderful bubble of liquor and giggles

- Batting cages and softball rumblings and I can’t wait for spring.

- Summer Wars! Which was awesome and you should find it and watch it.

- Constantly striving to become someone you’re impressed by, and then wondering why the hell that's my standard, but unable to shake the feeling anyway.

- Maybe I like hockey after all, or maybe I just like Sidney Crosby a lot.

- “LOOOOOOVE! I DON’T GET ENOUGH OF IT.”

- Banh mis upon banh mis.

- 90s girl bands and play by play announcers and getting paid to draw pictures (!)

- Insomnia obviously not cured yet.

1000!

This is my 1000th post to ‘crazier than shirttails’ (in what I believe is the twelfth year of my blogging in one form or another, and the seventeenth month of this blog in particular) and, to celebrate, I would like to revisit some of my better moments in case you missed them:

DYLANS
This is a piece I did for an art show that never happened.
It is for sale (ronnythebear at gmail dot com). Sold! :)
If today was not a crooked highway,If tonight was not a crooked trail,If tomorrow wasn&#8217;t such a long time,Then lonesome would mean nothing to you at all.

DYLANS

This is a piece I did for an art show that never happened.

It is for sale (ronnythebear at gmail dot com). Sold! :)

If today was not a crooked highway,
If tonight was not a crooked trail,
If tomorrow wasn’t such a long time,
Then lonesome would mean nothing to you at all.

wish list

I’ve been using Amazon’s “universal wishlist” feature to exorcise my capitalist demons since I have zero dollars to spend on myself now or, let’s face it, probably ever. This way, when I’m feeling particularly poor and sorry for myself (blah blah blah first world problems, I know) I can “shop” for the “future” where I will be an “artist” and be able to “spend money.”

Just for fun, here’s a random sample of the kind of things I’m asking my own future Santa self for. Forgive me: 

Bob Dylan’s original mono recordings vinyl box set, which is a hell of a lot more exciting than the Beatles on itunes. 

Because I am an idiot, I need my old glove again. This one, I will have to actually buy before next spring.

Will Bryant’s That Good Feeling print, file under art I wish I’d made.

Skinny black pants, because my old ones died and there is no surer way for me to feel faux-unrehearsed-foxy than a pair like this, my tall boots, a good hoodie, and some black eyeliner.

Fancy solid colored tights in a variety of colors. After several years, my tights collection has been seriously depleted and is now basically dead. No more dresses and tights during winter? Why even live?

Sloth family portrait fabric. I will buy this, I will make a skirt out of it, and somehow, magically, it will not look like I am completely insane. 

Blue sapphire ring. This is actually for you to buy, iffen you’re planning to try to get me to marry you. I’ve never wanted someone to spend a totally insane amount of money on a ring. I think this one is beautiful and perfect. Just saying. Also, I am thirteen years old.

Message in a cookie cutters. I’ve posted these before, but they are worth mentioning again. The possibilities are truly endless. Think about the table settings!

The Sartorialist book. Despite the fact that my own “fashion” sense has devolved into slightly dirty Alamo Drafthouse t-shirts, hoodies, and dirty sneakers ( :( ), I still love this man and his photographs and would like to keep this book in my bathroom for possibly all of time. 

The cutest shoes of all time. Seriously.

Icing colors. Among my 20,000 other projects for 2011? Actually get good at cake decorating.

A Perfectly Kept House Is A Sign of a Misspent Life. This one is for me and mi madre, to make us feel better about ourselves while inspiring in the process. I love this stuff.

WESC Oboe Headphones. I had these headphones (though in a slightly less fabulous color) and someone stole them from me. Since I have finally given up on seeing them on the street and ripping the headphones off their head while simultaneously spitting in their face and stomping on their feet, I will have to invest in new ones someday. Earbuds make my ears feel funny. 

Wacom tablet. Someday!

summer anne’s top ten albums of 2010.

1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

If I collected everything I’ve written and said about Kanye West over the last few months, I’d probably have enough material for a book. It’s obvious to anyone who has been paying attention that this was going to be my number one choice: I’m more excited about this album than I have been about any music in years. Without delving into a direct defense of Kanye and his persona, here’s why I think this album excites me so much:

First of all, I am a sucker for good lyrics. Especially for two things in songwriting, which are usually mutually exclusive: emotional vulnerability — songs that I can relate to and feel, and words that make me laugh and feel good —- songs that are good for winning and dancing. I usually turn to crackly voiced white “folk” singers for the former, and to black hip hop artists for the latter. Kanye, miraculously, manages to do both, and he does so in such a complex, multilayered way, that even after listened to MBDTF probably fifty times through, I still hear new subtleties in the lyrics every time I listen.

Secondly, there’s the production. Kanye does whatever he wants. On paper, it sounds ridiculous. Sampling Bon Iver on a hip hop song? The album version of your big single is like nine minutes long, including a good four minutes of simple piano and what sounds like a dying robot? The Runaway film? Kanye can be called pretentious, full of himself, over the top, cheesy, indulgent… but so could David Bowie.

Yeah, I just compared Kanye to Bowie (actually, this comparison was stolen from / brought to my attention by a guy I used to know named Ben Parker, via my friend Lakes). And if KW is Bowie, MBDTF is his Ziggy Stardust. A sprawling, epic expression — of a ‘character’ who embodies your most polarizing qualities. Your id, you know. Ziggy was Bowie’s and Kanye West is Kanye West’s. And, like Bowie, Kanye’s success here is tied up with the fact that he matters so much to people. Even people that hate him can’t stop talking about him. And as a result, his songs about himself are also songs about us and our culture and the way we feel about him and why.

But without meandering too far away from the topic at hand: Kanye’s new album is number one because I never get tired of listening to it, and because I think it will endure as a true classic of my generation. Also, Lost In The World makes me cry and Monster is my batting song for the rest of time (except maybe the times I’ll use Power).

2. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

I will remember 2010 as the year where I shouldn’t have even bothered to make playlists for dance parties, because this album is all anyone wanted to hear while shaking tail.

3. The National - High Violet

Containing some of the most beautifully sung lines ever, and you should know by now that I’m a sucker for inflection. “It takes an ocean not to break” lives inside a very special room inside the very special house inside of my very big, silly heart.

4. The Black Keys - Brothers

In contrast to Kanye, this album is one that no can really have an argument about, because as far as I can tell, everyone in the entire world who has heard it really, really likes it.

5. Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer

After he first hundred times I listened to “Fuck You,” I probably would have bet you a hundred dollars that this album would be my number one of the year. It’s place here is a result of that song being far and away the album’s high point, with a few other great tracks still yards behind it. Which isn’t to say that Cee Lo isn’t a brilliant man with a voice made of strands of gold and generous pours of champagne, cause he is and this is still really very fantastic.

6. The Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt

The obvious successor to my soulmate, Bob Dylan, and I truly hope he will be around and making wonderful, meandering, soulful, smart, spiritual music for just as long as my husband, Bob Dylan, has been. Kristian Mattson’s voice is truly a gift. He could sing me the alphabet song and I’d still love him for it, but it’s even better because he actually writes incredibly beautiful words to go with it.

7. Band Of Horses - Infinite Arms

Though I don’t think I’ll ever love a BOH album as much as I love their first (perhaps for sentimental reasons), I do think that this record has some truly magical moments — especially it’s final, triumphant track “On My Way Back Home.” I might never be able to make another road trip mix without it.

8. The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

A lot’s been said and I will be the first to say that this album is no Funeral. But I still find here a lot of what I loved about them then: an unabashed celebration of the beauty in the mundane and the sadness in the safe.

9. Micah P. Hinson - And The Pioneer Saboteurs

Micah has joined a hallowed subcategory of my music fandom, like Okkervil River before him, in which he can make my least favorite album of his career and still make this list. I think he maybe needs an editor, because my favorite song on this album is kind of the “one of these things is not like the other” choice (see above). I like him best when he is crooning audibly and banjo picking, because his voice and his words are really all that is needed to carry a song. That said, there’s a lot going on here and I have a feeling that if I could finally catch him live playing some of these songs, I would probably find myself revisiting this album. I can not recommend Micah’s live show highly enough. He is a sight to behold.

10. The Walkmen - Lisbon

Another example of “not my favorite album of theirs, but still.” I get what The Walkmen have been trying to do with their progression — getting further and further away from their guttural, almost tribal roots (Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone) and growing up into a more subdued and poised Spanish Harlem phase. Perhaps Hamilton is trying to rescue his voice from the brink of destruction. In any case, I miss the screaming and the scary passion, but there are many beautiful songs here, and I like to listen to this album when I am drawing because it allows my brain to meander away from trying to interpret the lyrics literally but still remain in beautiful scenery.

wishlist

a bunch of mason jars, a palm sized elephant, perfectly fitting pants that aren’t jeans, these shoes, the ability to sleep like a normal person, a throat that doesn’t feel like crap, sewing lessons, for it to be fall already, backyard chickens, freelance illustrating gigs, a decent home bar setup complete with mini fridge and martini glasses, betty draper’s wardrobe, all the frames and canvasses i need to finish putting together a real show, singing and painting and culinary and yoga classes, for micah hinson to play here again, cute feet, a bunch of cake pans and stands, two decent chairs, this PLEASE, the fifth moomin comics book and the second mouseguard book and the new franzen and the third y the last man hardcover and the rest of the walking dead hardcovers and are we winning, to be able to stop chewing my nails, a place to stay in new york at the end of september, to actually be good at softball next year and while we’re at it some baseball pants, a new glove, my own bat, and scorekeeping pads, a new okkervil river album that i like as much as the old ones, the sketchbook that had my baseball zine drawngs in it back, for jeff bagwell to get into the hall of fame his first eligible year, invitations to everyone else’s work christmas parties, all the fabric i need for my sloth halloween costume, and this lens for my camera.

THANKS IN ADVANCE.

What I Do With My iPhone

In order of how much I do it

1. play the iphone version of windows solitaire.

2. skip through songs until i get to the right one.

3. snooze and reset my alarm for five-fifteen minutes after the time i originally set it for.

4. look at facebook.

5. read emails from my dad and occasionally from others.

6. check out fantasy baseball scores.

7. play the iphone version of civilization.

8. take and look at pictures with my stupid hipster photo app.

9. look at tumblr (i really prefer to browse tumblr on my real computer but sometimes i get bored and crack).

10. play various forms of trivia games.

11. solve arguments using google and/or wikipedia

12. text.

13. play monopoly as the dog against the computer, usually shoe. effing shoe.

14. write ‘notes’ about books to read and songs to seek out and things to draw pictures of and other random reminders. last few: “mixtape for mom: that blitzen trapper song the tree,” “ingrid michaelson’s can’t help falling in love with you cover,” “are we winning,” “ron artest with devils on each shoulder?,” “more pants that aren’t jeans,” and “bet with patrick: steven strasburg will win a a cy young within his first three seasons. $20.” 

15. actually talk on the phone.

Things I Learned Yesterday.

- Some people who have otherwise great taste in music actually, genuinely don’t like Bruce Springsteen.

- Uruguay is even smaller than I realized. Smaller than Houston.

- Mike Tyson is currently a vegan.

- Seals are the easiest animals to draw ever.

- How to make a mojito.

- Prince thinks the internet is over. He is also vegan.

- Some people who are grown ups with real jobs who know about plenty of other things don’t really know what sloths are.

Feeding your vegetarian friends at a cookout

This is all common sense, but it’s necessary to explain to most people anyway.

squashed:

The weather is warming up—which means it’s time to fire up the grill and invite friends over for burgers, brats, and a celebration of our victory over the edible mammals. But … what do you feed your weird vegetarian friend?

This question seems to genuinely concern a lot of people. Since many people organize meals around a meat dish, it becomes baffling to plan a meal without meat. But it’s really not hard.

What do vegetarians eat?

Food. Except meat.

Are chickens made out of meat?

Yes.

Are fish made out of meat?

Yes. Some vegetarians eat it anyway. Either ask or assume they don’t eat meat.

Read More

Bloo bonnets. On the &#8216;this is what Texas is to me&#8221; list along with Gruene Hall, Barton Springs, tacos, The Flatlanders, Cormac McCarthy, Dallas hair, the gulf, &#8216;mexican martinis,&#8217; Dazed and Confused,  the Astros, giant oak trees, Denton hipster beards, the Cactus Cafe, Daniel Johnston, Larry McMurtry, the riverwalk, armadillos, rattlesnakes, mockingbirds, and bats. Oh, what a good list that is.

Bloo bonnets. On the ‘this is what Texas is to me” list along with Gruene Hall, Barton Springs, tacos, The Flatlanders, Cormac McCarthy, Dallas hair, the gulf, ‘mexican martinis,’ Dazed and Confused, the Astros, giant oak trees, Denton hipster beards, the Cactus Cafe, Daniel Johnston, Larry McMurtry, the riverwalk, armadillos, rattlesnakes, mockingbirds, and bats. Oh, what a good list that is.