SHE SAID: Silly Bandz

July 30, 2010

I don’t get it.  I don’t get it in the same way that I didn’t understand beanie babies and pokemon cards, but that’s to be expected since I wasn’t between the ages of 4 – 14 when those products came out.  Ask me about garbage pail kids and cabbage patch kids and I can contribute something positive to the conversation and will attempt a pathetic defense of why those products are better than today’s options mainly because I have to defend my allegiance to ridiculousness, not because cabbage patch kids were the most amazing toy ever invented.  Garbage Pail Kids, on the other hand, I will defend as art and I wish my mom hadn’t thrown them out because they were awesome … but I digress.

What I don’t understand is why the 28 year old man I talked to today was wearing a Silly Band.  Or the 26 year old woman who told me in great detail how she traded her black submarine Silly Band for a glow in the dark shark after turning down previous offers for a penguin and a multi colored kangaroo.  The cross over to the adult market for shaped rubber bands (that people are actually paying money for), amazes me. And no, these aren’t random oddballs or teachers and people who work with kids and thusly feel the need to decorate themselves in the accepted accoutrements.  This is common enough and widespread enough that I feel the need to post on it.

Go to a bar and you will see adults wearing Silly Bandz.  Okay, maybe not at the swanky I-Banker bars in New York, but most bars.  I haven’t checked with the generation above mine, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and say they weren’t trading garbage pail kids or wearing slap bracelets any time, much less while out at night.  Are we so terrible in our attempts at interaction that we are resorting to the bag of tricks of a fifth grader?  It has to be something other than that.  And I’m not going to credit the designers of the Silly Band for coming up with something so cool that everyone from age 6 to 60 is jonesing for it.

Maybe by crossing the threshhold of 30 I have decended into the age of incomprehension.  Next I’m going to be telling my son how I walked seven miles each way to school with nothing but newspaper on my feet in freezing weather.  Or how much an ice cream cost with I was a kid.  And he’ll be rolling his eyes and sneaking off to spend his allowance on Silly Bandz.

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HE SAID: Silly Bandz

July 30, 2010

I do get it…at least to a point.  And I say that because I am a 28 year old man (somewhat debatable, not the 28 year old part, but the man part) that does indeed wear a single silly band.  If I may, allow me a brief explanation of how it came to be that a lime green 4 leaf clover is around my wrist as I type.

I taught tennis to a bunch of kids this summer. As has always been the case, kids freaking love me (let that be a note to any single females looking for a baby daddy), and as such, these kids couldn’t get their silly bandz off their wrist quick enough to give them to me.  At first, I laughed them off, and then I realized how upset they were that I wasn’t accepting their gift.  So, I started taking come choice ones…a guitar here, and neon yellow duck there…and before you know it, I had about twenty on my wrist – that I would only wear while teaching the kids.

By the end of the camp, I started using them as leverage to get the kids to work a bit harder: “make five forehands in a row, get a silly band” or “pick up the fu*&ing balls for once and get a silly band.” And so, when my teaching days were over my collection had dwindled, a few of which I gave away, but I couldn’t bring myself to give away the 4 leaf clover.  Now of course, if I had been so lucky to obtain a star of David (anyone know if they make those?) that would have been the one I kept.  It’s been on my wrist non-stop since late June, and the basic fact is I really like it.

Will it remain on my wrist this weekend at a wedding? Not likely. But as I said at the top…I do get it.  I got into them because it was a way for me to connect with kids, and not in the way your creepy uncle connects with them (sorry, a bit off color, but I was getting too serious).  And admittedly I still wear it because it is a bit of a fad, but I’ll never get into silly bandz the way my cowriter is describing.  I will not trade with other adults, I will note obtain any more (well, star of David aside), and I will certainly not wear it at some trendy club in NYC, mainly because I will never enter one.  But, sappy as though it might seem, when some kid asks me what silly band I have when they notice it, I think that’s pretty sweet.


SHE SAID: Case of the Mondays

July 28, 2010

Jeremy is guilt tripping me more than my mother for not posting my Monday links.  Impressive, if you know how well my mother lays on the guilt. 

Thanks to my little brother, who hates being called my little brother, for passing along this song

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May I introduce you to my new favorite website?

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And in the same vein, only because I’m feeling so high and mighty, may I lead you to you are not so smart.

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HE SAID: Case of the Mondays?

July 26, 2010

I should be spending my time typing up 40 or so references for a paper I’m working on, but I think in properly researching Monday links I’m showing that my priorities lie in the right place…we will start off with Seth Meyer’s opening ESPYs monologue.

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Steve Jobs press conference…collegehumor dot com style.

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The best, best of craigslist, post I’ve ever seen.

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Why oh why do I find watching a robot learning to flip pancakes entertaining?


HE SAID: Mainstreamedness

July 23, 2010

Look, I invented a new word! There is no way ‘mainstreamedness’ is a real word.

I’m going to start this post in earnest with my favorite joke (courtesy of faithful reader ZSarg9) – “How many indie hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb?…..wait for it…It’s a really obscure number that you’ve probably never heard of.”

And I’m not just poking fun at people who listen to indie rock (then immediately dismiss bands that make it bigtime), but to anyone out there that is snobbish about ownership over something.  I realize this topic sounds bit ironic given the general tone of most of my blog posts, in which I am generally snobbish about everything, but that doesn’t change the fact that these types of people are dbaggish.

Most recently it’s happened with soccer (and yes it’s soccer, because as Tosh.0 said, “I speak American (first time in awhile I’ve done the double paranthesees, but Tosh.0 is the best show on TV)).  I am a casual soccer fan, and by that I mean I watched lots of World Cup games, and I’ll watch maybe 5 games in total in the next calendar year.  And no, not one of those will be an MLS game.  As a result, myself and those like me get shit on for not being “real” fans.  Just like people who only started listening to a band like Vampire Weekend get shit on after they’ve had a bit of commercial success.  “Oh now you like them? I’ve been listening to them since before they got big.”  Great, now I know two things about a person like this 1. He/she has pretty solid taste in music and 2. He/she is also an uppity bitch.  And for what it’s worth, Vampire Weekend’s second album sounds pretty much like a bunch of b-sides from their first.  Another words, it sucks.

The thing is, I know what it’s like to be a snobbish fan…because I am one about many things.  Especially the Red Sox. I firmly believe that I am a “better” Red Sox fan than most out there.  BUT, that doesn’t mean I look down on other fans.  I embrace them.  Without the many casual Sox fans out there buying pink and light blue Red Sox hats and gear, the organization probably doesn’t have the financial capability of putting out a playoff caliber team year in year out.  On the same token, guess what die MGMT fans?  Those two geeks wouldn’t have been able to make a second record without millions of non-hipster fans downloading their first album just because they liked the song, “Kids.”  And uppity soccer fans, I got news for you too – you want around the clock World Cup coverage on ESPN again (instead of choice games being shown as was the case in the 90’s), you better hope us casual fans continue embracing your sport.

Ok, enough ranting. I hope this made sense…and if it doesn’t let me put it to you this way: If you are a faithful reader of this blog, you are one of about 100…once Nifer and I make it bigtime and start getting paid by a publisher to put a book together, don’t shit on the millions of new fans just because they weren’t faithful from the beginning.


SHE SAID: Mainstreamedness

July 23, 2010

Samuel Johnson would have a field day with you.  On the one hand, yes language evolves and adapts, on the other, no.  You can’t throw a word and some suffixes together and celebrate your literary inventiveness.  Perhaps Jeremy has taken on a new occupation penning Sarah Palin’s speeches.

The main issue here isn’t whether or not a fan was a fan before the hype, but more whether or not the appreciation is genuine or not.  Because I have no issue with someone who genuinely appreciates something regardless of when they discovered their passion.

Passion is contagious and beautiful.  I love watching my friends enjoy something or do something they enjoy.  And it is our love of songs or movies or sports and our desire to share that love with those around us that leads to mainstream appreciation, which is what most who are producing something want.  I love my brother’s passion for the Red Sox, day in and day out.  I love my son’s obsession with Indiana Jones, even though the first movie’s came out when I was in grade school and Indy’s so mainstream that xBox and Lego are cashing in on his fame.  And I am not going to tell my boyfriend he can’t like the Kings of Leon because I introduced him to them once their third album was out.

I do, however, get annoyed by those who are fans only because it’s cool to do so.  The girl in high school who claimed a lifelong love of Led Zeppelin shortly after she realized her crush was a die-hard fan annoyed me.  The sports fan who only watches during the playoffs/finals/world series and won’t shut up about it makes me feel cheated.  The woman who buys not because she likes the item, but because she knows it’s “in” depresses me, as does her endless and ironically fruitless journey.  The friend who will only listen to small bands that have yet to go mainstream loses credibility because his appreciation is tainted.  And, making me listen to crappy new bands, each trying not sound like the band that influenced them, gets old quickly.

The real fan, the audience member who can enjoy as if he or she was the creator, the person ahead of the mainstream, on the cutting edge – is it all a quest to define ourselves as something beyond average?  Are we more special if we can truly enjoy or appreciate?  Better?  Cooler?  Smarter?

I think it would be fantastic if people didn’t feel the need to fake or build up passion.  Ultimately, however, I feel guilty judging and commenting on whether or not someone’s appreciation is genuine or not.  Do you have to feel like Bob Dylan is the eighth wonder of the world to be able to enjoy his music and message?  Do you need to have considered asking your girlfriend to marry you on the big screen at a Sox game in order to be considered a real fan?  Maybe Jeremy and my frustration over enjoyment and the genuineness of said enjoyment is only our juvenile refusal to share a favorite toy.


SHE SAID: Case of the Mondays?

July 19, 2010

It’s stormy here today.  Wish I had a better camera than my phone, but this was all I had to capture the awesome weather that came through.

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Maggie sent this URL to me earlier this week and it has entertained me since. Here is the story that hooked me.

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Amazing.  The fake ankle monitor in support of Lindsey Lohan story didn’t work.

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Samuel Johnson, William Shakespeare, Sarah Palin. One of these things is not like the others …