Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christina Agui-where?-a

Christina Aguilera, what are you doing? I know you're kind of making a comeback right now and haven't ascended to music royalty the way some pop pundits perhaps predicted you'd pull off (prematurely?), but you're still...Christina Aguilera. And as much as I love Target, you and I both know you haven't stepped foot in a Target since the late nineties.

Plus, you look way too good for this commercial. Just saying.


Friday, November 14, 2008

One of Us Dropped The Ball On This One

Either our readers our lazy (doubtful!), or else we're stupid and don't realize when our ideas are bad (oh the stories we could share.)

ZERO SUBMISSIONS for the lit salon. Come on now. I hope that more than ZERO people read this blog, and I'd think that at least a couple of you write creatively...wouldn't you like to share your stuff? Lord knows it's probably better than mine, anyway.

So, uh...yeah. Unless this is a totally stupid feature and we should stop pushing it on you. Either way, let us know.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kevin Barnes Channels David Bowie, Continues to Make Me Swoon

If you're like me, you weren't impressed by Of Montreal's latest full-length offering, Skeletal Lamping. I know, I know, it's one of those abstruse albums you have to listen to a few times to appreciate--and, truth be told, I said the same thing about Hissing Fauna once upon a time, and now I love it--but I still can't get myself to listen to more than a couple of songs in one sitting.

But Kevin Barnes and company also released another song not on the CD, which slipped under my radar until last night. It's called "Feminine Effects", and it's...whoa. It kind of continues the pattern we first saw in "Derailments In a Place of Our Own," but substitute the acoustic guitar for a piano and give the lyrics a gay twist. "Feminine Effects" is, belatedly, my new favorite song, and I highly recommend you give it a listen.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Romantic Life Is So Simple and Sad, Even Random Straight Guys Get It

So I was browsing Unigo, the latest campus-connection Web site (still in Beta!) when I came across this random dude's review of NYU. Victor O., you know me too well:

The dating scene....ah. Evolves drastically from freshman to senior year. What starts as sneaking into each others dorms to drink cheap wine and forties eventually empties your already shallow pockets as you scrounge for quarters between the couch cushions to bankroll a $30 bar tab.

Yup, that about sums it up. Well, he forgot to mention the drunken threeways in U-Hall with two guys from Long Island you met at Splash while trying to not wake up your friend's roommate while your friend, who isn't part of the threeway, runs down to Walgreen's to get everyone condoms and then proceeds to watch Reba in the common room while you try not to vomit because one of the guys' cocks is huge and keeps triggering your already-sensitive gag reflex. Then the roommate wakes up and kicks everyone out and then a week later forces your friend who is also his roommate to move out. This concludes my review of the dating scene at NYU.


P.S. I hope more people start using Unigo. There are too many college-reviews-by-college-students Web sites out there already; one of them needs to become the go-to site, for the sake of high school students still figuring out where they want to go to college while studying for eighteen AP exams and writing twenty-page reports for their Model UN delegations and memorizing their lines for next spring's production of The Music Man. And Unigo could very well be it. But in order to work well and prove truly useful, a site like this needs lots of users. So...use away! And don't try to have a quiet threeway--it doesn't work.

Celebrity Endorsement #3

Celebrity Endorsement #2

Celebrity Endorsement #1

The Other Half

Apparently we're celebrating our birthday a day early. Though after all that's happened, it certainly feels like it's been longer than one measly year.

Right off the bat, I want to thank everyone who's been reading, either since the beginning or since the whole Gawker thing or even just because we asked you to. Your readership is what keeps us blogging, and whether or not you leave a comment, know that you, right now, reading these words, and providing more motivation for me to write than even the most prestigious trackback ever could.

Jess wrote an eloquent, reflective piece that, to some extent, sums up our attitude towards this blog. That said, I'd like to add a few things, because I think J&J has been something different for the two of us.

I was never profiled on Gawker. I was never asked to write for the Huffington Post, or for magazines that have since folded, or even for a panel discussion on Bleecker Street. I haven't been to Media Meshing, and the blogosphere largely considers me, if at all, to be That Guy Jess Writes With. But I don't mind. In fact, I really enjoy it. Selfishly, I get to reap the benefits of such attention--garnering write-ups in Boston newspapers and getting linked to by more popular Web sites--without being a whipping post. I'm here to support Jess, and she's here to support me, but to say we've weathered the same storm is both naive and wrong. Nobody's said they'd like to leave me trapped inside a burning car, anyway. I am so proud of her, not only for her new-found opportunities to share her immense skill with a broader audience, but also for the ultimate maturity and dignified stoicism with which she has received her detractors; it is a testament to her passion for writing that she has not let some less enlightened naysayers keep her down.

To all those who claim that we are primarily concerned with attracting media attention, I say: read our posts. Not just the silly ones about blankets with sleeves or erotic jewelry, but the longer ones, the rambling ones, the TMI-tagged posts where we reveal things that should probably have stayed private. Read them and you will know where our hearts reside; you will understand why we do this and why we keep going; believe it or not, pissing off Jezebel writers was never our goal.

Jess mentioned that we "blew up" on the Internet. That's not true. She blew up. That's not to say I haven't found any other writing opportunities--starting in 2009, I'm actually going to be a part of something really awesome, and when I'm allowed to talk about it publicly, you'll be the first to know--but for me, Jess and Josh was never anything more than a place where I could talk about anything I wanted, at any length and with whatever amount of sarcasm or, yes, pretentiousness I desired. For me, this was never a launching pad for bigger, better things; it was never an unlocked door to the New York media world; it was never a chance to converse with my idols, because none of my idols are bloggers and if they were, I'd be too scared to confront them anyway. (I am not implying that this was this a launching pad for Jess, either, at least at the start, but, you know, HuffPo versus Blogger. It just worked out that way for her.) What this was, and continues to be, is an outlet through which I share my thoughts with my friends, both the ones I know in real life and the new friends I've made through blogs like this one.

What this has allowed me to do is not censor myself, ever. I've never felt the glaring eyes of a dozen Twitterers waiting to mock my next post, nor have I ever feared for any real-world repercussions of things I write here. Keith Gessen has never sent me an angry email, and frankly, I don't want one. All I want is to keep contributing to the global discussion born from the rise of the blog as a viable media format; my end goal is to make just one other person laugh, or think, or change, or just pass a fun few minutes of their time. Everything else is extraneous--flattering, sure, but not what I came here to do. Jess has her own tightrope to walk; she can't go uncensored anymore, and as close as we are, I'll never fully understand that.

During the whole Gawker thing, I had an insider-looking-in perspective. I remember that night, because I think it was the moment we lost our blogging innocence, so to speak. A few of us were going to get drinks at Asian Pub, NYU's favorite four-dollar-vodka-tonics bar and restaurant. I waited for ten minutes outside the front door before calling Jess. She picked up the phone crying. She was sorry for making me wait. I was sorry because I already knew what had happened. So I went over to her room and together we read that first comment thread, skipping over the mean posts and making fun of the utterly stupid ones. We didn't know how to react on the blog; do we acknowledge what happened and stand up to it, or do we just ignore it and keep on chuggin'? In the end we kind of chose both, which is probably another reason we didn't stay huge. (I think we have a decent readership today, but our fameball certainly landed.)

Anyway, insider-looking-in. I didn't know how to react for another reason as well; how much was I implicated in this? Jess was the one whom Sheila chose to single out, Jess was the one who went to that party and became so disillusioned in the first place, and Jess was the one who had to stand behind her words. But what was I to do? I mean, it wasn't my disillusionment that was at stake, but our blog was receiving attention. Was any of it mine? I've never really answered that question. I've just chosen to keep on writing and hope that I receive a simpler kind of scrutiny--the curious eyes of a reader.

Since that night, things have quieted down, and with Jess an ocean away from Manhattan, it was up to me to maintain the blog. And I have. I'm not one to talk about feminism or media personalities or anything, really, other than whatever inanities pop into my mind, but I'd like to think I've done a good job holding down the fort, as it were.

On to the point: I love this little blog of ours. In a way, I'm glad we never bought that domain name on WordPress, because our current URL reflects the way I feel about J&J: it's a place for us to talk about stuff, another bit of reaching out in a sea of Blogspots, the one place I can turn to when I just need a blank space and a blinking cursor. Along with your interest, that is all I will ever need. Thank you, thank you, thank you readers, for making all this deliriously real.


Our One Year Anniversary

My hands are so cold I can barely type this. Know why? Because it's Paris in the almost winter, and it gets cold here, and I almost always have to be outside to get internet access. A year ago, when we started this blog - our anniversary is a year ago tomorrow, November 13th - my hands were not freezing, because I was blogging from the NYU Alumni Office. Those were simple times. No one cared what I had to say, so I could say anything I wanted. And I did. I talked and talked about myself. I still do, but now there's a certain element of censorship that I employ, because I learned the hard way what not censoring can mean. Josh and I produced as many posts as we could and lavished in the glory that came with a single comment from one of our friends who only commented so that we would comment back on their blog. It was wonderful! Coming to the internet had that fresh feeling that one often writes about when coming to New York for the first time. We had arrived and all the whiny shit we had previously saved to our harddrives was now out there for all to see. It was a kind of exhibitionism we thrived on. Two neurotic suburban kids, trying to make it in a failing industry in New York: our whole lives we had been searching for approval -- from our parents, our boyfriends, our professors -- and sometimes, on the internet, we got it. Sometimes we also got comments like "you guys are assholes" to which we could only shrug and reply, "We know." Blogging was therapy. It felt good. It was a quick fix to the deep-rooted problems that had long plagued us.

Our readership grew, but it still consisted of our friends, families, co-workers and random people from the outreaches of the internet that stumbled upon our site. Josh and I struggled with where we wanted to take our site. We decided to just be ourselves. We began as cultural critics, dealing out scathing indictments of people who in no way deserved indicting at all; eventually the fact that we are both probably too nice for the internet overtook us, and we decided to not have a mission at all. Like a lot of young people in New York, we wanted to write and be liked. These are concepts that seem, up close, completely separate, but indeed they're not. Commenters on blogs decide whether or not they like you based on your writing, not who you actually are. Our writing was now what people judged instead of us. The internet became a virtual high school cafeteria. The more entries you posted that struck a chord, the more popular you became. But since we had decided to stay true to ourselves and write only what we found honest, there were inevitably some bumps along the way. And the problem was that we hadn't - and still haven't - figured out how to divorce our writing from our selves. So when someone commented saying "you are a completely retarded twat," we had a feeling they meant that in actuality, in real life, we were indeed retarded twats. Even now while typing this I kind of believe that I am a retarded twat just because someone called us that once.

After the fiasco, I am unafraid to admit that I did not leave my apartment for days, subsisting wholly on and weed and frequently launching into horrifying patches of hysterics. I did not see anyone except my roommate for days because I was too ashamed that they had read what people were saying. And I could not pull myself away from my computer. I had to read everything everyone was writing about me. I had to know. I couldn't stop myself. Later I realized that it is true what they say: what you don't know can't hurt you. So these last few months, for the most part I stopped reading blogs and started reading books again, and started going on the internet and blogging less. I couldn't bring myself to be honest in the way I used to be. I was censoring myself. My posts became more vague. I think we lost some readership because of this, but when you have to choose between your well-being or your blog, the decision should be rather simple, though perhaps to millennials it kind of isn't.

So yeah, things have changed, on this blog and within ourselves, but that makes sense because we were 19 when we started this and we're 20 now and could there be any more formative time in a person's life? We are lucky that we get to share that formation with so many people, the good and the bad, because this is a way of growing up that has never occurred before, or perhaps, as J Dids put it, we only think it has never occurred before. But does it even matter? Things have changed and they will continue to change and all we can do is hope that they change for the better. If Josh and I had known things would blow up the way they did and this place would cease to be a silly repository for inside jokes and conversations between our close friends, would we have still started it? I can't answer for Josh, but my answer is this: no. Some days I wish I'd never even been confronted with the desire to write a single word. But most days the answer is yes, I would do it again. And again and again.

One year. We haven't kept up with something extracurricular for longer than 2 months in our entire lives. One year. Fuck.


Lit Salon Week 2

If you don't email us submissions we're going to be forced to post our own work and believe me, nobody wants that.

I'm Going to Go Ahead and Post About Annoying English Phrases

Oxford made a list of the Top 10 Most Annoying English Phrases, but I think there are many more that put these to shame. For example, the one referenced in the title of this post. What others should be added to the list?

Erotic Jewelry

I really want some for Christmas.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Change--and Warmth!--We've All Been Waiting For

GUYS. Change is coming to America. We face a brighter future and a new dawn. You too can be part of the revolution; all you have to do is call a toll-free number and ask about your Snuggie today!

The Snuggie (I have just linked to what is apparently the horse variety) is a blanket with sleeves. That's...that's it. It's essentially a glorified robe. But oh, how glorified it is. Let's watch the commercial together, shall we?

We start off with some rhyming couplets, an infomercial standby.

You want to keep warm when you're feeling chilled,
But you don't want to raise your heating bill!
Blankets are okay, but they can slip and slide,
And when you need to reach for something, your hands are trapped inside.
Well, there you go. That's pretty much the whole sell right there. I appreciate their efforts to stay relevant; we're in a recession, which may make it more difficult to pay for things like your heating bill, so you should spend twenty dollars on a blanket with sleeves. I don't know; so far, I'm not convinced. Let's see what else the Snuggie has to offer.

Our lady narrator (narratrix?) goes on to tell me about all the things I can do with a Snuggie: use my laptop! Call someone on my cordless phone! Knit! Or, if you're John McCain, enjoy a bowl of popcorn! And I can do all this without exposing my delicate forearms! Sure, you could do all these things with a blanket and a sweater (like I am right now!), but that's not the point. This is the Snuggie, ladies and gentlemen, and...

...I have always wanted to look like a gay friar.

Then we learn that with the Snuggie, we'll have "no more cold feet," which is what I thought socks were for but gosh darn it I guess I was wrong, and we can comfortably move around the house without abandoning the Snuggie's fleecy goodness. Well, my God. But what I have to leave my house to, say, watch my son's softball game?

NO PROBLEM!!! I can take Snuggie anywhere. My guess is that somewhere on the screen right now, a microscopic disclaimer warms customers about "looking like a tool" and "alienating your friends," but hey, at least my arms will be warm. They'll be warm because of Snuggie. And if you're in college and think you're too cool for the Snugz, know that it's perfect for "those drafty dorm rooms" as well.

The fine people at Snuggie want you to be as comfortable and hermetic as possible, however, which is why they're not just offering you a blanket. No, no, they will give you--free of charge--a "press-and-open booklight!" No more struggling with those cumbersome normal booklights. Just press a button, and voilĂ ! Thanks, Snuggie! (But the joke's really on them--no one reads books anymore. What are they, dumb or something?)

So that's the Snuggie. Wow. It even comes in three fun colors! I don't want to hear you complaining about your drafty dorm rooms anymore, Target Demographic Of This Blog. Because the solution is here. The change is now. The Snuggie is $14.95. (Plus shipping and handling.)


Music From Across the Pond$file/Madcon_So-dark.jpg

Sometimes I accidentally find out about popular music, and that's what happened with me and Madcon. A friend mentioned she was attending their concert in a few weeks and then I realized I'd heard their song "Beggin'" about 548390243 times at various clubs around Paris. But really, it's a super catchy song and I am intent to spread it to the states. I'd embed the video but it has been "disabled" so click here to check it out on YouTube.


Update: Josh says: If you live in America, click here to watch the video instead. I...didn't know YouTube videos weren't universal.

The Weekly Realization That I'm a Bourgeois Asshole

Last night I watched the movie City of God, a scathing drama directed by Fernado Meirelles that takes place in the Favela, Rio De Janeiro's infamous slums. I immediately feel like an asshole because both Friday and Saturday nights last weekend I went to a Brazilian dance club in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris; it was called Favela Chic.

Oh, chic slums? Cool. Somehow I don’t think de Beauvoir would approve. People in Brazil - a place kind of like where I’m from in that I’m part Portuguese and they speak the same language - are shooting each other because they have to sell drugs to feed their families and I’m paying a 10 Euro cover to grind with the hot doctor/professor I'm getting with while having my hair tugged on by countless married guys and getting so drunk I apparently think I’m Paris Hilton and dance on tables.

I like being slapped in the face with perspective sometimes. It is often times quite necessary.

I also watched the documentary that is in the special features, which touches on the realities of the situation: people addicted to the drugs the dealers have to sell to pay for food, incredible poverty and violence, illegal gun trading, a neverending war between the police and the people: it seems to me like if the government figured out programs to help end poverty, drug addiction and hunger, then these problems wouldn't be so pronounced. It seems to me if the government stopped spending money arming the police with AK-47s and instead used that money to implement programs that would help the people live and not die, then the problems might ebb a little. But I'm always on the side of the impoverished because I grew up in a place where most people were impoverished. Not even close to those in Brazil, but also not New York or Paris either.

This is just another example of there being too many things wrong with the world and I get incredibly overwhelmed and can't decide where to concentrate my efforts. Just when I think I've zoned in on one problem that could be the root cause of all the others, something else nabs my attention. Of course, in the end I do nothing but write about it, and ultimately words alone could never save us.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Omg Even Arnold Schwarzenegger Opposes Prop 8

See? Like, it's the fucking Terminator. Come on, California.

Aaaand my professor just asked the class what "gaydar" is. Then a student described gays as "catty" and fucking referenced Will and Grace.

The real lesson (as opposed to the one I should be paying attention to in class) is that everyone opposes Prop 8 and is ready for change but is also still happy to lean on established stereotypes of homosexual culture. WOOOO.


What the Hell Is Going On?

We are jajtas, and we are proud. And, apparently, part of a virtual abbreviation conspiracy.


P.S. Alternatively, we are:

Yeah, you can go ahead and bookmark that.

I Don't Get T-Pain

My friend Danny is sitting next to me in class right now and he saw my desktop background and asked me if I had a boyfriend and, you know. I don't. It's been that kind of week, and it's only Monday.

In fact, the one ray of sunshine today comes courtesy of my friend Jacob, who just sent me this summary of hairstyles Barack Obama should avoid, and while I'm liking the Coolio thing he's got going on in pic number two, I like even more the service it provides, free of charge. The Root, you see, "hosts an interactive genealogical section to trace one's ancestry through" I wish Manhunt offered something like this, only instead of genealogy, it told you who your soul mate was. They could really have fun with it, too; I'm thinking Someone buy this domain right now.

In other news (and the original point of this post), this interview with T-Pain pisses me off. Specifically, the part where he talks about those he's influenced with his Auto-Tune:

It's flattering when they ask Lil Wayne the same question and he says, "T-Pain is the reason I even started trying to sing and use Auto-Tune." It's flattering when you got Kanye [West] saying, "I stole all this from T-Pain."

Like, shut the fuck up T-Pain. Lil Wayne and Kanye West are two exceptionally talented emcees and songwriters. You, on the other hand, have somehow managed to mask your otherwise glaring lack of musical ability with GarageBand technology and a knack for surrounding yourself with the right people. So I actually praise your business savvy. But please don't call yourself "sensible." This is not sensible. I can't believe you're a Grammy-award-winner.

Scratch that, I totally can.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mac Attack: Special Edition

For whatever reason, I looked up the word "incorrect" in the trusty Mac dictionary. To my surprise, here's what came up (click for larger):

Looks like those Mac guys have got a sense of humor after all.

P.S. I didn't crop the screen shot because I wanted to share with you all the beauty that is my desktop background. So hot.


Internet Commenter Does Music Journalists' Work For Them

On Gawker, responding to the new Kanye video:

The autotune effect is so Cher circa 1998. Kanye must be a big fan of hers.

Truest thing I've heard in a while. And I don't know what Gawker's talking about, I'm not that impressed with the clip.


Britney Spears Slyly Reveals Pothead Tendencies

Only a true stoner would notice this: in Britney's Womanizer video, the calendar on her boyfriend's phone shows the date as being April 20th, aka 4/20.

Picture of the Week

Budget Disclosure March

The ever amazing and politically active Duncan asked me to spread the word on an important event happening in NYC this week to help challenge the NYU administration to give full budget disclosure. If I wasn't 3,000 miles away I'd be there with signs and anger, but alas, you will have to go in my place.

This is an important issue for a few reasons. I mean, on the most basic level it'd be nice to know where my $50,000/year is going. But on another level, I know for a fact from working in the alumni office that there is some sketchy shit going on, which is obviously the reason they refuse to disclose the budget. As a private university they are not required by law to do so, but it's up to the students to hold the administration accountable for what they do with our tuition dollars; I mean, it's clearly not going towards scholarships or financial aid. This march is also throwing gender into the mix which has me hyperventilating with excitement.

Here's the info, from Duncan:

Subtitle: Has NYU broken the glass ceiling?
Description: A march demanding budget disclosure in the interest of ensuring gender pay equity.

When: Wednesday, November 12th, 1-2 PM
Where: Washington Square Park and surrounding areas. Meet in Kimmel lobby.

Folks will be marching through the park carrying plexiglass above their heads. I think you understand the metaphor.