Archive | January, 2012

Super Bowl Cheat Sheet I

30 Jan

There will be a lot of chattering about the Super Bowl this week, most of it probably coming from people who haven’t watched football since last year’s Big Game.  In fact, a lot of the people watching this Sunday could probably care less about the action on the field, unless it’s the national anthem or the halftime show – they just want to see the spectacle, get titillated by the commercials, and have an excuse to party.  And it is that last item, the party, that Dan Swanky’s is most concerned with.

The decision to throw a Super Bowl party is not one that should be passed up lightly.  Do it right and it can establish your dominance over the neighborhood/apartment complex/dorm floor/campsite social hierarchy for the rest of 2012.  But do it wrong, and you could very well wake up Monday morning to find that the only friends you have left on the ‘Book are your mom and a couple of porn bots.  Obviously, we recommend that you put it all on the line and go for the social glory.  But you might need some help, and that’s what we’re here for, with some added assistance from D. Swankys’ resident Steed.  Take notes.

1.  Know who you are.

What kind of party are you going to have?  Is it going to be geared towards the actual football game, with all of your sports junkie friends ready to analyze that double wishbone sweep that was clearly blocked wrong?  Is it going to be a heavy drinking party, with copious amounts of Natty Light kegs, plastic handles and two-liters of Fresca?  Or is it going to be a higher-class affair, with hummus chips and gourmet dip, pleated pants, and the game volume on mute in favor of the latest Bjork album spinning in the background?  Knowing what kind of party you want is key, because it will influence pretty much everything else you do.

If you want a heavy drinking affair, you’re going to want to hide your breakable items and keep a fire extinguisher handy, in case Uncle Jimbo gets out of hand like he did on Christmas Eve.  If you want a dignified affair in order to impress the beautiful brunette who just moved into 5C, you’re going to have to spend a few afternoons this week taking off-center black-and-white photos of inanimate objects (cup of coffee, your shoe, park bench), which you can then frame and hang in prominent spots around your place.  The key is to know what you want, and then you can know what you have to do to get there.

Steed Says:  This is definitely a good place to start.  For me, I’m going for a full-blown party scene, so I’ve learned in the past that it’s best to change the numbers around on the front of my house before the party.  That way, when the cops come – and they will come – we can get a little more fiesta time as they drive around looking for my nonexistent address.  Also, I know to keep plenty of food on hand, because the munchies will inevitably come for the attendees, and you don’t want anyone screaming at you to give them their keys during the Bruce Springsteen halftime show so they can go to the Pizza Hut/Taco Bell across town.

2.  Invite the right mix.

Once you have decided what kind of party you are angling for, the next step is to determine the best mix of people to invite.  This can be a delicate science, because if you make just one misstep, you could be responsible for long stretches of awkward silences, the loss of a job, or full-blown assault.  We know that your friends probably have all kinds of different backgrounds and personalities, and we will be the first to tell you that variety is the spice of life.  But you know as well as we do that your vegan co-worker is probably not going to have a good time sitting next to your frat bro Chas as he chases his wings with Maker’s Mark.

So the best option is to tailor the invites according to what kind of party you want.  Make sure you don’t invite your buddy Steed and his lady friend Chrysalis to the wine-and-cheese party that your boss is coming to.  And don’t invite that cute artsy girl you met at the Sufjan Stevens concert to a party where all of your fantasy football friends are going to be berating you for picking a TE first this year.

Steed Says:  This is a big one.  A few years back, I had charmed my way to middle management at IBM and had a clear shot at a VP title in a couple of years.  I decided to throw a Super Bowl party that year, and just sent out a mass invite to everyone in my phone book.  A bunch of work people showed up, including some of my bosses, and they were introduced to all of my old pals from my bartending days at Laredo’s.  

At some point in the third quarter, I was distracted by a round of quaffers and when I turned back to the living room, two of my buddies were shirtless and having a slap fight for shots in front of my horrified bosses.  I tried to calm everyone down, but when my bosses got up to leave, they were caught in one of my buddy Robo’s Pound Town Beer Storms, in which he sprays the keg tap over everyone in the area.  I was seen giving Robo a fist bump for his PTBS, and that was it for my IBM job.  Not to say that I’m disappointed in where I am today, because I love to party, but still ya might want to take this seriously.

3.  Set up appropriately.

You probably don’t have access to an all-purposes event tent in your backyard, so you’re going to need to situate your apartment/home properly if you want a successful party.  If you’re going for the heavy partying theme, it might be a good idea to keep the activities over hardwood flooring or tile as much as possible, as those jello shot stains on the carpet can really add up.

Also, depending on what kind of heavy partiers you’ll be inviting, you may want to keep the doors to your bedroom/home office/kid’s room locked.  No one likes to walk in on your buddy and your barista going at it on your bed, or find white residue caked all over your mouse and keyboard.

If you’re going for a classy affair aimed at impressing the ladies, you’ll definitely want to move your vinyl record collection into clear view, and make sure that the Charles Shaw has been taken out of your wine rack.  You could also go crazy with the Japanese tea lights to give a proper ambiance, but that might be a bit too much.  It’s up to your discretion.

Steed Says:  I’ve always found it a good idea during parties to keep everything contained in the living room and kitchen area, because it keeps the clean-up easy and keeps the valuables in your possession.  One time, I forgot to lock my door and I walked in to my buddy Robo angling my bed out the window, right in the middle of a kegger.  I’ve kept my shit locked since.  

Also, when it comes to layout, I’ve learned not to leave out anything that could easily be used as a weapon, ever since the SB Party of ’09, when a couple of guys grabbed my putters and proceeded to have a Bat Fight in my kitchen.  One ambulance ride and a few police reports later, I told myself no more.

 

Continue learning with Cheat Sheet II

Personal Soundtrack

27 Jan

The Song

We Must Go On by Pretty Lights

 

Two Pretty Lights soundtracks in a row?  Yes.  Derek Vincent Smith, a.k.a.  the man behind Pretty Lights, has dropped a new track and it’s here just in time for your lazy Saturday/Sunday enjoyment.  “We Must Go On” is a departure from the hard-hitting bass-driven tracks that PL has released lately, bringing in a catchy soul sample and a laid-back drum beat that takes its time grooving along.  The song builds up a propulsive, low-key momentum, while at times it threatens to follow the soaring vocal sample and drift off into the ether – giving everything a feeling of dreamy, perpetual motion.  Hopefully this track is indication that Pretty Lights will release an EP or full-length album in the near future.  In the meantime, let this one ride and enjoy 5+ minutes of stress relief.

The Activity

You were in a hurry to make some appointments this morning, and didn’t have time to make a proper breakfast.  So you grabbed the muffin your roommate left on the table, not stopping to wonder why it was wrapped individually, or why it tastes kind of funny.  And by the time you recall your roommate’s tendency to indulge in the occasional edible, you’re already in your car and are starting to feel nice and laid back.  At that moment, you take a look at the sunny day outside,  and the good looking people headed to the park – you can’t fight it.  You pull over to your friend’s place, borrow his dog, grab a leash and some headphones, and head out for a nice long walk.  Followed by an ice cold microbrew and some good company.  A long stressful day has become a Treat Yo Self day, and you couldn’t be happier.

Friday Relief

27 Jan

 

T.J. Lavin’s Masterpiece Theatre: Episode One

26 Jan

[Our ongoing Swanky coverage of The Challenge: Battle of the Exes.  For an introduction, go here.  And now we know that Vinny keeps his shirt on in the pool]

808s & Heartbreak

Comparing a show about ex-lovers to a breakup album seems pretty obvious, but if the shoe fits, we’re going to wear it.  Kanye’s 2008 album, “808s & Heartbreak” was an emotional and personal piece of work.  The skeletons from his recent breakup are strewn all over minimalist productions and haunted vocals, with the occasional burst of bravado breaking forth in a particular verse or beat.  The album was uneven, but it was a deeply felt, unique, and quality work from a visionary artist that helped to usher in a new style of hip-hop [hey, Drake] and pointed towards the great things to come.  The messy pieces of lovesickness in “808s” laid the way for the passionate expansiveness of “A Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” much like the uneven parts of Battle of the Exes’ first episode point towards greater things.

TJ Lavin’s line in this episode – “You like money more than you hate each other” – sounds like it could have come straight from Kanye’s discarded lyrics pile.  Episode One had many of the ‘twisted love gone bad’ themes expressed in “808s”.  There was the weird, darkly sexual union with Abe and Cara Maria, who now both look like they work the “Pirates of the Carribean” ride on breaks between seasons.  There was the angry, don’t-fucking-touch-me attitude with Jasmine and Tyrie; any kind of non-violent ending for these two would be a borderline miracle.  The infatuation with porn stars shines bright with Dustin and Dunbar, the latter of which, incidentally, looked to be the second coming of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man while walking that honey plank.  And then there was the ‘I tend to sleep with the closest person in my vicinity, and you’ve happened to be that person at several times, so I guess let’s just bone some more’ union of Wes and Mandi.  Most of these people have probably lived out a few Kanye verses in their lives, and Battle of the Exes is all the better for it.

Episode One definitely had its slow points, and mostly laid the foundation for many of the storylines that should lead to emotional and physical  fireworks in the “Dark Twisted Fantasy” portion of this season.  The producers seemed to put the most emphasis on the Diem-CT relationship, indicating that could be headed for a sorely-needed CT meltdown in the near future.  Meanwhile, Wes’ aggressive strategy nearly got the best of him this year, but he was gifted a final showdown with quite possibly the least-appealing pair in Challenge history, Red-face and What’shername, and thankfully sent them home to irrelevance.

The muted, catchy, uncomfortable, and promising sounds of “808s” hang over Episode One, and while better things are on the horizon, it was still worth the time.

On Bended Knee: Dirty Secrets

26 Jan

A recent non-scientific poll ranked wedding invitations as the #3 most anticipated piece of mail, right behind Netflix DVD’s and plain brown packages shipped from these 18 states. This fact, combined with the recent lag in movie quality, puts a lot of pressure on the newly engaged to design a visually stunning card.  Here are some pro tips to make sure your invite is the most sought after item since Mitt Romney’s tax returns.

1) Theme. The only thing better than regular nightclubs are themed nightclubs, and the same can be said for wedding invites. Here are some example to get the creativity flowing:

  • Vintage Parisian Hostel
  • Downtown Seattle Alley’s
  • Jurassic Park meets The Ten Commandments
  • Crossing The Border

2) Photo.  A photo isn’t common with invites, but Aunt Maj hasn’t seen your pearly whites since you accidentally texted her that nude picture in high school. Show her that you have matured, and met someone other than your second cousin, with an updated portrait. Just be sure to watch the nip slip.

3) Colors. Regardless of the theme, you can be liberal with your color palette. The only thing that looks better than a black background with a gold glitter overlay is, well, nothing. Flair also goes a long way, so be sure to adorn with sequins, rhinestones, or just a light dusting of beach sand.

4) Font selection. The dangerous world of font design is best left touched with a 3 foot pole. If you majored in font architecture, and are skilled enough to still be in the game, hats off to you. Otherwise, stick to an easy to read cursive font that shows your potential guests you are sophisticated enough to not use Arial Black but you respect them enough not to really care about fonts.

T.J. Lavin’s Masterpiece Theatre: Introduction

26 Jan

The Challenge

I’m not an avid reality TV viewer, by any means.  Most of my exposure to this type of programming comes from seeing random clips in passing at friends’ places, and I have never really had the desire to devote entire hours to watching these shows.  With one exception.  For the past several seasons of The Challenge, I have made sure not to miss any of the debauchery and emotional instability on display in these competitions, and have enjoyed every minute of it.  The beauty of The Challenge, and what sets it apart from other reality programs whose purpose for existing is hazy, is that the stakes are very real for the contestants on the show.  Particularly with the repeat offenders – the ‘veterans’ – the competition borders on being a veritable career, and the prize money on the line represents their livelihood.  And if The Challenge drives any point home, it’s that you don’t fuck with someone’s livelihood.

The high stakes on the show lead to some of the most entertaining and interesting displays of human nature on TV, with the contestants constantly scheming on new ways to fuck each other over – and when the emotional manipulation fails, their bodies are sacrificed in physical challenges that have gotten more sadistic with each passing year.  Throw habitual intoxication and copulation into the mix, and there’s not much else you could ask for in an hour of programming.

With all of its core elements, the best seasons of the show have become fascinating glimpses into a weird, mutated version of the American Dream  – there is fame and fortune to be had on a limited scale, and these people have made the decision that just a limited, specialized scale is enough to sacrifice your body and integrity for.  Luckily for us and the franchise, there seems to be a non-stop supply of people willing to make these sacrifices, as the roster of past and present contestants continues to expand with every new season, to the point that mythologies are starting to be created around the more memorable veterans and events.  Don’t tell me this isn’t the visual embodiment of a Tall Tale, one that will be told around the campfire to scare future Challenge contestants for years to come.

The newest season of the show that began last night acknowledges the history of the contestants, and their proclivity for hooking up, with this year’s theme: Battle of the Exes.  The contestants are paired off with someone from their romantic past, be it a long-term relationship or one-night stand, and then need to navigate the physical and emotional landmines of the Challenge on their way to the $150,000 grand prize.  This season has the potential to be another great one in the show’s history, and to get the most out of the social experiment unfolding over the next several weeks, we here at Dan Swanky’s are introducing a segment we call T.J. Lavin’s Masterpiece Theater.  With every new episode, we will examine the notable events, celebrate the small absurdities, and offer up a work of literature, film, or music to serve as a sort of thematic companion piece for that week.  So throw on your backwards Monster hat, pick out a graphic tee, and let’s kill it.

Dancing In The Desert, Pt. 3

25 Jan

 

[With the Coachella lineup just announced, excitement is running high again for this year’s installment of the Southern California music extravaganza.  Here at Dan Swanky’s, we wanted to push past the breathless hype and get the gritty details about what the Coachella experience is all about.  Lucky for us, our resident Steed made his first trip to the festival last year, and offered to give us a rundown of his time there]

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

After two days of toeing the line at Coachella, I woke up on Day Three with a little bit less fire in my belly than I had the previous two days.  My head was pounding, and part of me wanted to stay right where I was, curled up in the warm sun on the soft turf of the golf course.  Oh, yeah – I woke up that day on the golf course, 12th hole I think, that ran next to our rental house.  My Australian flag was still around my neck and serving as a blanket, but Ibis was nowhere to be found, and my name had been carved into the soft grass with the hole-marker, which looked like it had been javelined several feet away.  I also wasn’t wearing any pants, once again, so I brushed off the cobwebs and took a brisk jog back to our house, which woke me right up and got me raring to go dance once more.  At this point, I figured I would deal with the emotional and physical reckoning on Monday.  I was going to go all in on this one while I still had the chance.

I rustled up the DJ Collective from their various resting spots, and we got a couple hours of pre-gaming out of the way before hopping in a party bus that someone had parked on the front lawn the night before and abandoned.  Whoever left the bus there had also left several cases of beer and Ciroc in the back, so we took our time getting over to the concert grounds and were in a fine mood by the time we parked.  I guess I was in too fine a mood, because as we were walking through security, I told the security guard to At Least Kiss Me If You’re Going To Touch Me Like That, and I was briskly taken over to “HQ,” which was a trailer next to the Main Stage filled with sobbing girls and passed out bros.  I was able to muster my charm and kept it coherent enough that the Stern Police finally let me go on my way, but not without taking all of my 5-hour energy stash, and taking my ‘Benadryl’ for Safe Keeping.

As I made my way out of HQ, I realized that I had lost my group, and had no phone or any other way to contact them in the ambiguous mass of people spreading out in the meadow before me.  I needed a cold Heine to rest my nerves after the Security run-in, so I headed over to the nearest beer garden.  After grabbing a drink, I struck up a conversation with a lively group of bros, all wearing mid-90s Vin Baker jerseys, who suggested that I try spotting my friends from the Ferris Wheel.  One of the Baker Bros also handed me a fresh beer, which he said was White Elephant brew.  He winked as he said this, but I figured what the hell and polished it off before heading over to the Wheel, so I could get on there before the good tunes started.

I hopped on a solo car on the Wheel, and as I started to circle up to the top, I felt a quick little surge of adrenaline, that went away almost as suddenly as it came.  Looking back, that was like the first little rain drop you get before the hurricane hits, but at the time I shrugged it off.  As my car went one rung past the top of the Wheel, I got a clear view of Sahara, and amid a sea of waving bods, saw the glorious stuffed bunny that I had worked on the day before.  At that point, I understood that the little fellow had made the bunny to be used as a signpost, and as I was realizing that, the White Elephant from the Baker Bros finally made its presence known.  I could no longer sit still.  The car on the Wheel was slowly making its way down to the ground, but I couldn’t really wait any longer, so I clambered on to the outside and shimmied my way down the scaffolding to the ground.  Security was not too happy about my early departure, but my legs were pumping before I even hit the ground, and I was off running the fastest quarter-mile you’ve ever seen to Sahara.

I got in to Sahara at the start of the Ducks [Duck Sauce] show, and as they pumped out the electro jams, I grooved my way up to the bunny and re-united with my buds.  I was enjoying myself near the stage for a bit, when something about the music must have triggered the other part of the Elephant, and things began to take a turn.  I has already been getting nervous about the giant inflatable duck that was on stage for the show, and when the “Big Bad Wolf” song started, I decided that the duck needed to go and I made a run at it.

To get to the duck, I had to clear the fence around the stage, and my running start for the jump was hindered a bit by the wet grass and the big crowd – I ended up catching my shins on the fence and whipping my forehead into the back of a security guard.  This dazed me for a second but didn’t put me out for the count.  The guards picked me up and shipped me out of the Tent, telling me to Take It Easy, and as I stood in the grass collecting myself, I could hear the faint tunes of Chromeo, and I followed the seductive dance beats to the outdoor stage.

By the time I got to the Chromeo stage, the mild concussion I had sustained earlier had met up with the White Elephant and all I could do was put my seatbelt on and hope for the best.  I saw some of the DJ Collective in the crowd, and they passed me a pair of Party ‘Bans to help with the sensitivity to light.  For some reason, as soon as I put the ‘Bans on, I became convinced that I was actually Chromeo himself, and that it was up to me to put on the best fucking dance show that the crowd had ever seen.  For the next hour, I proceeded to do just that, completely oblivious to the actual band performing on the stage behind me.  I was throwing keyboard licks around like no one’s business, unleashing dance moves that screamed Sexual, and one point I even brought myself to tears.  By the end of the show, I was sweating profusely and wasn’t quite sure how I had gotten there.  One of the Collective buds told me to follow them to Kanye West, the capper to the whole festival, and I obliged.

For the majority of the weekend, there had been loose talk flying around about Kanye’s show and all of the special guests he was going to bring up.  Jay-Z, Beyonce, Will Smith, and Coldplay were all being tossed around as names, but as we waited for the show to start at the Main Stage, I became convinced that I was the special guest the show would have, to take it over the top.  All I had to do was figure out a way to make my epic entrance, and then I could do the Twista lines on “Slow Jamz” and it would bring the whole house down.  As I was looking around frantically to find my way in, Kanye came gliding over the crowd in a crane contraption, and I knew what I had to do.  As soon as he got back on to the stage, I crept over to the base of the crane and started to shimmy up the side, towards the platform on the top.  I figured that once I was up there, Kanye could just toss me the mic and we’d go from there.  I got about 6-7 feet up the crane neck before some Boy Scout spotted me and yelled for help getting me off.  I tried to keep climbing, to keep the dream alive, but as Kanye started in on “Hell Of A Life” some security guard crawled up after me like a goddman spider monkey and I tumbled back to earth after a brief struggle and a taser shot.

It took four security guards to round me and the Elephant up, and after doing a quick check to make sure I hadn’t broken anything, they told me my weekend was over and began to escort me out to the parking lot.  I told them that We Would Meet Again, and they said You’re Probably Right.  The next several days would be a long recovery session, filled with doctor’s visits and marathons of Friends, and even though I eventually came back to full health, there’s a part of me still laying out there in the grass of the Polo Grounds.  Until next year, my friends, until next year.”

Personal Soundtrack

20 Jan

The Song

Finally Moving by Pretty Lights

 

Etta James has sadly passed away, but her beautifully soulful voice will continue on to be appreciated by future generations.  This particular generation is hearing more Etta than usual lately, with her vocal track from the song “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” being sampled for the hook in songs from Avicii and Flo Rida.  The same vocal track, with it’s yearning ‘Ohhhh sometimes..’ was used masterfully a few years back in the Pretty Lights track “Finally Moving,” and I imagine that Etta would consider this song to be a worthy addition to her legacy.  Pretty Lights has an amazingly diverse array of sounds in their catalog, and “Finally Moving” falls into the ‘laid-back reflective’ section of the PL Library.  It also falls into the ‘Best of’ section, as it mixes modern electronic sounds with Etta’s vocals to create a haunting and hopeful song that sticks with you.  This is electronic soul.

The Activity

It’s a quiet weekend morning, and the rain is coming down outside.  You’ve got a lot on your mind, because let’s face it – you’re a pretty soulful individual.  But on this particular morning, you’ve got a feeling that you’ve never, never, never had before, and you can’t be stuck sitting around inside.  So really, the only thing to do is go outside in the rain and hop on a bike, skateboard, skates – whatever you’ve got that will get you mobile and moving in lyrical reflection through your home city.  If you don’t have anything, just go ahead and borrow some wheels from your neighbors, and trust that they will understand.  At least for this morning, your mind, heart and future are all wide-open, and the oh-so-soulful Pretty Lights mix of Etta, swelling strings, and record scratching is the only thing that can relate to how you feel.

Dancing In The Desert, Pt. 2

19 Jan

[With the Coachella lineup just announced, excitement is running high again for this year’s installment of the Southern California music extravaganza.  Here at Dan Swanky’s, we wanted to push past the breathless hype and get the gritty details about what the Coachella experience is all about.  Lucky for us, our resident Steed made his first trip to the festival last year, and offered to give us a rundown of his time there]

Day One

Day Two

“So I woke up in the camping area around 6am, feeling the full weight of the desert sun bearing down on me like a disappointed parent.  It took me a couple seconds to realize that I was in a 3-4 person tent with what looked like about 8 people.  I was in between two of the Flannel Girls from the night before, but they were deep asleep with the rest of the tent, so I figured it was best just to go on my merry way without disturbing anybody.  I did my best quiet roll out of the tent and popped out right in the heart of Coachella’s tent city, which was just shaking itself awake at the moment.  I didn’t have much of a recollection of how I ended up in the campsite, and all I had on at the moment was an Australian flag wrapped around my waist, so I figured I should probably find my pants and boogie on back to the vacation house.  Luckily, my pants, complete with pockets still half full of mystery, were being used as a blanket by a shaggy looking fellow, so I slid them out of his clutches and took off to find my way back and get ready for another trip into the trenches.

I didn’t really feel much like walking to the house in my pants and flag, (now tied around my neck like a cape, where it would stay for the rest of the day) so I put out my thumb and hitched a ride back with an SUV full of blonde girls in matching sunglasses and vintage tees, heading out from their hotel to get Caffe Machs they Desperately Needed.  Most of the girls didn’t seem to notice I had gotten in the car, but the driver was a pretty cool chick, and with my brightly lit charm, I managed to score an invite to their pool party they were throwing before heading to the shows.  With that in my back pocket, I strolled in to the house, which was already vibrating slightly to the sounds of Brazilian free-form jazz dubstep, and told the dudes to get ready for the pool fiesta.  I think I passed out standing up at that point, because the next thing I knew a Corona bottle was being held to my lips and I was in the car headed to the pool party.

The party was in the pool of another housing complex, so once again we followed the gentle thumping of bass to a pool full of tattoos and sunscreen – and lots of cold ones.  For the next few hours, we quickly made friends with the grab-bag of concertgoers, and at one point I found myself helping a smiley little fellow put a giant stuffed bunny on the end of an 8-foot pole.  I asked him a few times what the bunny was for, but all he would tell me was that I would Understand Later, and I figured why not and let it be.  At one point, someone started a “Sahara” chant, and people started getting their game faces on for the official start of Day Two.  I followed a cute little lady in a sundress, who had told me her name was Ibis, and we hopped in the back of someone’s Scion for the ride over.

When we rolled out of the Scion and back into the dusty waiting room that was the parking lot, I took a deep breath and mentally prepped to keep it together this time.  Ibis grabbed my hand and pulled me through the gate and towards the Sahara Tent section, and as I got closer to the Tent and neighboring beer garden, the quotient of tanned bros and babes began to rise and I could feel the wave of sun-drenched hormones start to loosen my grip on self-control.  Before I knew it, I was in the beer garden with a Heine in each hand and Ibis’ girl crew was grilling me on what exactly I had for party favors.  I tried to hold out for as long as I could, but as the sun began to go down and I finished off cup no. 6, all bets were off and I was toting water bottles with my new group to the slick grass of the Sahara Tent floor.

After several Build-Drop-LoseYourMind musical sequences, Ibis tugged on my flag/cape and led me outside the Tent, where she asked if I would go with her to the bathrooms.  I said sure, and she said Maybe I’ll Even Give You A Hand Job In The Porta-Potty.  I was still at the lower level of the party favor scale, so this made me queasy more than intrigued, and I told her I was fine waiting outside for now.  She went on her way, and I quickly became distracted by a bunch of flashing lights at a sculpture in the middle of the meadow.  Before I knew it, I was lying on my back in the grass and getting a stomach rub from a couple of Australian ladies, who helped me finish my party favors and told me to follow them to Empired Sun [Empire of the Sun].

Follow them I did, and was feeling pretty warm and fuzzy at the outdoor stage until Empired started playing, and I was frozen in place by the scene that was unfolding in front of me.  The band’s costumes looked like they were conceived in a Mayan’s fever dream, and as I frantically looked around to see if anyone else noticed these demons, no one came forward to explain what the hell was going on.  Halfway through the first song, I couldn’t take it anymore and I took off running, with no destination in mind but worried that my life was in danger.  I’m not sure how long I ran for, but I eventually came to rest in the front of the Main Stage, where I found Ibis, who told me that this place had Good Vibes, Let’s Just Sit For Awhile.

So we sat, and huddled together as Arcade Fire took our hands and led us back to safety, a safety punctuated by the white balls of Good Feelings they threw our way at the end of the show.  As we clutched our GF ball and slowly inched out of the meadow for the night, I felt as though I had just ran two marathons in my mind, and I needed an emergency solar blanket.  Coachella had won that round, but I had one more day to tame the beast, and I would come back ready to duke it out.  In the meantime, I needed a Shame Burrito and a hot tub.”

To Be Continued….Day Three…

2012 To The Max

16 Jan

With 2011 more than two weeks in the rear-view it is time to face reality and analyze our survival chances for 2012. It is true that an impending apocalypse threatens the status quo unlike ever before, but what if a doomsday scenario is the least of our worries? Nobody is certain what will really happen, but that doesn’t stop scholars from fantasizing about alien invasions and the collapse of human civilization. With these facts in mind, 2012 seems like the perfect year to stash the Atari, put on some pants, and head outside to enjoy some paid time off.

It is common knowledge that Tom Cruise likes to splurge on nice things, but what about Joe Schmoe as he anticipates the end of days? Here are three suggestions to spark the firestorm of decadence that will be 2012:

1) Redeem those credit card offers and start maxing out like there is no tomorrow. Exotic furs? Original Van Gogh? 15-day rave in Ibiza? Nothing screams irony like material possessions in the afterlife, so get to it.

2) In the scenario that a catastrophic event does occur, the only record of human civilization will be the internet archive shot into space. Don’t be the last one on your block without a personal YouTube channel. Record yourself singing love ballads, showing off your collection of Hello Kitty gear or just talking Farmville strategy with your faithful followers. If the world doesn’t end, you now have a mildly lucrative side gig that will keep you off the streets and ensure your digital fame for eternity.

3) The final step is more of a security precaution, but to the right people, it is the ultimate treat. Head down to your local animal shelter and adopt some cats, selecting the fiercest kittens from multiple litters. Raise these beasts as your own while training them in modern combat technique, negotiations, and stealth. When weaned off the leash, this feline crew will have your back indefinitely.

When followed strictly, the formula above will net maximum pleasure and hopefully will tip the scales in 2012’s favor.

Disclaimer: We are not registered financial professionals. The strategies above carry a certain level of risk that may result in physical and financial ruin. Please consult your local financial professional, or Shaman, for additional considerations before attempting to treat yourself.