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I Wanna Party With You: Halloween Edition

30 Oct

Sometimes, you don’t really get to know what someone is really about until you can sit down, loosen the tie, and toss a couple back with them.  So whenever a particular group of people have piqued our interest here at DS, we figure the best way to learn more about them, and ourselves, is to take a look at what it would be like to party with them.  It’s social science, if you will.  This is I Wanna Party With You.  It’s heavy stuff.

Halloween Parties

The week or so before Halloween is prime party season.  A magical, party-friendly atmosphere is created by the confluence of a couple different factors:  1) the cooling temperatures give the night air a little extra zip, making those early fall nights feel refreshing and a bit dangerous,  2) Halloween is a pretty universal concept that everyone can use for an excuse to party, to the point that people will feel left out if they’re not there, and 3) there are costumes everywhere.

It’s factor number 3 that makes Halloween parties some of the more unique and absurd events on the year’s social calendar.  Costumes for Halloween provide an opportunity for people to shed their normal insecurities along with the shackles of social decorum and proceed to let their freak flags fly – behind the safety net of the fact that nearly everyone else is doing it.

It’s interesting that even though young kids are typically pretty riled up when it comes to dressing up for Halloween, it’s when people enter their later teens and adulthood that they start spending the most time and energy on costume decisions.  There usually seems to be a period of indifference to the idea of Halloween costumes around middle school and high school, but as kids start to get introduced to the fun-stifling constructs of the adult world, and as the definition of ‘party’ drastically changes, the motivation and possibilities of dressing up in costume strengthen and expand.

As you get older, you can start to appreciate the unique allure behind showing off some imagination and maybe looking extra-sexy while hanging out with a bunch of people doing the same.  Costumes are one big X-factor thrown into every Halloween party, and if you’re a fan of parties, you know how much better they can be with X-factors in the mix.

Coming into the chilly Halloween season this year, we’re going to take a look at a few of the more common X-factor outfits (read: costumes) that you, as a legal adult, maybe come into contact with this year.  Or you may be already planning on doing one or more of these ideas, and if so, we mean little to no offense for the following opinions.

 

Magic Mike

There are two possible avenues that a fellow could take to get to this particular costume choice.  The first could be a fully irony-free, bright-eyed, oiled-up, and fake-tanned embrace of the Magic Mike image.  This could be a gentleman who hits the gym daily and sees an opportunity to show the ladies that he can offer up the guns-and-washboard package just like the Chan-man can.  These guys’ lack of self-awareness, reliance on shiny graphic tees, and propensity for rage bursts could definitely be a party downer.

The other approach to MM time could throw some irony into the concept.  The ‘I know this is ridiculous, but I see the laughter behind Chan-man’s version of “Pony” and I want to join in on that brand of ridiculousness.  There’s bonus points given if they body type of said fellow is nowhere near that of Mike’s.  Just don’t look for too long.

Good Party Meter:

6/10

Presidential Candidate

With 2012 being an election year, there will probably be a few faux-presidential candidates running around out there.  Many of these topical revelers will go with the standard business suit-and-mask costume.  You know the masks – big rubber caricatures of presidents often used in cinematic bank robberies.  So far it seems like Obama masks are the most common ones, but we know Romney’s out there.

These masks are generally creepy even if you just see them hanging up on a shelf in some costume store, and when you put it on some drunk person you don’t really know at a house party you may or may not feel 100% safe at, it’s going to be a party buzz-killer.  Are they looking at you or at the person to your left?  Are those muffled sounds coming from behind the mask a request for more ice, or are they making a lewd come-on that you should be taking as a sign to get the hell out of the room?  Just lose the mask.  You’re making everyone feel weird.

Good Party Meter:

1/10

Breaking Bad

Another buzzy piece of entertainment that will inspire some costumes this year is Breaking Bad.  The most common of these will probably be the yellow jumpsuit and gas mask combination that Walter White and Jesse Pinkman wear to cook their very special brand of blue meth.  If someone is out wearing this particular costume, it says a couple of things about them that give a promising indication of their party abilities.

First, they are promoting an amazing series, and they have good taste.  Second, they are okay with a little grittiness, hence the drug references, and as long as this is not a lot of grittiness, that adds some flavor to the proceedings.  Third, if it’s a lady in a yellow suit, they have all of the above, plus a sense of humor about things, and the self-confidence to pull it all off.  Check, check, check.

Good Party Meter:

7/10

Replacement Ref

This would have been a cool choice for about two days a couple of months ago.  Unfortunately, there will be a decent amount of partygoers this Halloween who didn’t get that particular vibe from this costume choice, and will push forward in an attempt to be topical with some zebra stripes and zany accessories.

The party problems this indicates is that this person has a thudding sense of humor and probably doesn’t get out much.  Also, after a few Zimas, they will most likely start blowing on a whistle or doing severe hand motions that will get old midway through the first time it happens.  If it’s a lady who is wearing a ref shirt and nothing else, we’ll reconsider adding a couple of points.  But still.

Good Party Meter:

3/10

80s

In the past several years, the 80s have seen a widespread costume resurgence to the point that a college 80s aerobics-themed party is no longer just a cliche – it’s an expected tradition.  So whoever goes the 80s route for their costume will more than likely be getting a big 0 for originality.  That’s a zero.  When it comes to communicating and facilitating a debauched, no-holds-barred party energy, however, the 80s are second-to-none.

Try putting on a serious 80s party costume and then not having at least a tiny urge to get out there and dance your ass off to New Wave with other 80s-themed cuties.  It’s pretty tough to resist it.  The other solid thing about the 80s decision is that you’ll run out of parties before you run out of costume options.  Barely.  There’s 80s rocker, wrestler, skier, prom, wedding, fitness, porn star, prep school, beach day….

Good Party Meter:

8/10

 

Party On…

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FALL

27 Sep

[Editor’s Note:  Normally we approach our resident Steed about things we’d like him to write about, but earlier this week, we received the following over a series of several hundred text messages.  Apparently he was in a state he called Fall Heat, and just had to get it all out.  We transcribed as best we could.]

“A few nights ago, as I was out on my bi-weekly night jog, I felt the clammy grip of Indian Summer loosen up just a bit, allowing the brisk nip of Fall to sneak in and get a little face time for the first time in 2012.  This always happens at some point in September, and there are always a couple of cues right off the bat to indicate that seasons are changing.  The air burns just a little as it goes down your throat – a good burn that feels natural.  There’s a flush of red in your cheeks after you’ve been outside, and for the first time in several months, it’s not because someone passed you the SPF 5 Oil Bronzer and not the SPF 35 Sport like you fucking asked him to seven times.

No, it is because there’s a chill in the air that tingles when it hits your face – a tingle that increases as you realize that, yes, Fall has finally come again.

Whatever you want to call it – Fall, Autumn, Harvest, Autumnal Equinox – this time of year is always one that I greatly enjoy.  It always seems as if the September-October-November period is filled with nonstop events and activities, as if the Pause button that social life often hits-and-sticks during the long dog days of Summer is replaced by a vigorous push-and-hold of Play.

This might have a lot to do with the ritualized school schedule – whether you’re currently in school or spent most of your younger years getting acclimated to the school calendar, you know that the start of classes in late Aug./early Sept. is just a footnote to the onslaught of football games, tailgates, kegs in the leaves, homecomings, dances, festivals, holiday parties, etc.  All coming within a three month span.  There’s the best month of the year, Roktober, and the first (Halloween) and fourth (Thanksgiving) best holidays of the year.  Fall?  Or Foll – Full Of Life & Love?  Shit’s about to get crazy.  Here are some reasons why.

Football Season

The greatness of the football season should and does include both the NFL and College games, but for me, it’s really just about College.  That’s where the soft, keg-fueled core of my Fall Football lovin’ heart lives.  There isn’t much you can think of that beats a classic College GameDay Saturday – spending the early part of the day ‘gating and foolin’ with some fellow fans, building up a solid buzz off Schlitz and school spirit, getting asked to leave the library because you can’t do certain things in the bookstacks, joining the band-led procession to the stadium for the game, getting asked to leave the stadium because you can’t do certain things in the bathrooms, waking up on the intramural fields with no pants on and only six and a half more days to go until it starts all over again.  God I love College Football season.

Roktober

There is a difference between October and Roktober.  October isn’t bad – it’s a great sweet spot on the calendar right when Fall really gets going, and is often full of quaint pumpkin- and leave-dotted landscapes.  However on some years, if you know what you’re doing, all or at least most of October can shift into Roktober.  When it becomes Roktober, all bets are off.  The only thing that’s certain is that the party never stops during Roktober.  It just keeps going until it shudders to a gentle stop at some ambiguous date after Halloween.  It doesn’t matter what kind of event you’re partying at – all that matters during Roktober is that there’s a general fall theme to festivities, and that you’ll never be able to find a good reason not to keep partying.

You’ll be able to tell when you’re in full Roktober mode when you notice that you have four party events planned over the next four days as you’re just starting to piece together certain events of the last four days.  There is no stopping in Roktober, and why would you want to?  Just because you’re tired from the Oktoberfest “dinner” at your local Breu Haus doesn’t mean you want to miss out on that Pumpkin Carving + Shots get-together your cute neighbor is throwing tomorrow night.  Roktober is no joke, but you’ll be smiling the entire time.

Scarf for Two

The advent of the -er months comes with the previously discussed chillier weather.  And in most areas around the country, said chilly weather is combated by bundling up in more layers and warmer clothes.  (This bundling-up practice in itself is a welcome new habit after the sweaty nonsense of late summer – you can put that sweaty tank away and enjoy the self-important feeling you get as you suit up just for a short walk outside.)  There are times, however, when bundling up in just your own warm clothes is not enough to truly warm you where it counts.  These times often come when you find yourself spending some outdoors time with particularly alluring members of the opposite sex.

There just seems to be something in the Fall air that adds a little tingling sense of danger to the outdoor flirting process, and this understandably leads to a lot of emotionally charged situations.  You both get a little chilly, someone happened to bring more layers than the other person, and all of a sudden, you’re both hunched under one overcoat or sharing one short scarf, frantically hooking up to fight off the falling temperatures.  Fall(in)Love.  Get it?

Pilot Cancellation Season

I’m a very positive dude, and I usually don’t like to take pleasure in other people’s misery.  But there is a particular time during the Fall months when some strangers’ miseries make me a very happy camper.  This yearly event has its roots back in Pilot Season – or actually, a little before that.  For the unaware out there, Pilot Season is when all of the TV networks pick up the pilots of whichever shows they’re going to debut in the Fall.  Pilot Season is when many actors get their first big breaks, and as a budding thespian, it’s thus the time of year when I put my hopes and silver-screen dreams on the line.

If I happen to be in LA, then I’ll be out on the dirty-dog streets, getting my moneymaker out there and shooting whatever scripts they put in front of me.  If I can’t be in LA, which was the case this year, I’ll put together some sizzle reels of myself doing quirky sitcom-ready things and try to get it viral among the Tinseltown rainmakers.  No matter I’m doing, I’ve put my dreams on the line every year for the last several years.  And every year, nothing has happened.  No pick-ups, not even to a TLC mid-season replacement.  So every year, when the first new Fall show ads go up, it’s like a dozen little slaps to the face every time I turn on the TV or open up my latest issue of EW.  It’s brutal.

Every year, it’s almost too much to bear.  But then, just as I’m reaching for that Jag to soothe the pain – a glorious epiphany comes to me in the form of early-season TV show cancellations.  After a couple of weeks, execs realize their decisions on some shows not featuring me were wrong, and things start to get pulled off the air.  And my, is it a flood of renewed optimism in myself when I see all of those new slots start to open up for the next year’s Fall season.  I know that I’ll get another chance to make it big, and that if I had been on this year’s crop of freshly cancelled shows, they most definitely would not have gotten the axe.  Every cancellation season, I pour myself a cold Autumn seasonal brew and soak in the fresh chances that only Fall can bring.

Thanks for letting me air out this seasonal excitement sirs.  I’ll see you in Roktober.”

Hot Routes: Week One

31 Aug

Editor’s Note:  This is the Swanky roundup of our top picks and songs of the week, running every week of the 2012 Year of Football.  For a primer, check out the Introduction.

Week One

This week features only College Football action, which is fine with me.  The NFL is great, but there’s something about Saturday Game Days that are special.  They bring in the double hammer of nostalgia/current appreciation for the college life and intense alumni/student pride.  And it’s Saturday, which means that there’s no need to worry about waking up early the next day – go ahead and take that extra keg stand if you feel like it.

The only caveat about the picks this week is that it is the first week – these predictions are being made without knowing how these teams will perform during actual games.  There is much more pure speculation going on this week than there will be going forward.  So keep that in mind in the event these all crash and burn.  There will also be fewer picks than usual, with just college playing.  Hey – at least you get the tunes.

Boise State (0-0) at Michigan State (0-0) – Friday

The pick:    Michigan State (-7)

The track:  Henrietta by Yeasayer

Yeasayer’s latest album Fragrant World is a collection of dynamic, catchy, emotional and uniquely weird songs that get better the more times you hear them.  “Henrietta” is one of many tracks on the album that packs all kinds of sonic themes and layers within its running time.  I couldn’t even tell you what instruments half of the sounds are coming from – but they go together into an awesomely weird song that builds to a tingle-inducing climax.  Watch out for that sneaky bass line towards the end too – it kind of makes the song.

After the last several years of hearing Boise State whining about getting a shot at national title games while they played mostly Mountain West bottom-feeders, I’m looking forward to all that noise dying down a bit this year.  There’s no denying they had a solid team during those years, but the constant piping up from the cheap seats got tiresome.  This year, with a large part of last year’s team gone, it will be tough for the Broncos to make any kind of noise on the field.  Michigan State lost some core players from last year as well, but they’ve still got a very good defense that should be successful against an inexperienced offense on the road.

North Carolina State (0-0) at Tennessee (0-0) – Friday

The pick:  North Carolina State (+145)

No links – look for it on Spotify or here.

The track:  Hinnom, TX (Alpha Consumer Remix) by Bon Iver

Only upset pick of the week.  North Carolina State ended last season on a strong run, while Tennessee went out with a bit of whimper.  UT has been wildly inconsistent during head coach Derek Dooley’s tenure, and they lost star WR Da’Rick Rogers this offseason – even at home, this team does not inspire much confidence.  On the other hand, NC State looks like they’re ready to build on last season’s momentum, and they seem primed for a first week upset.

Bon Iver has been holding a remix contest over the past couple of weeks for his Bon Iver tracks, and since all of those songs are undeniably great, it’s not a big surprise that a lot of the new remixes are quite solid as well.  There is a lot of open space in Bon Iver songs, and the cool thing about that is that it allows for a lot of interpretation with remixes.  The new mixes can go in a lot of different directions.  The Alpha Consumer mix fleshes out “Hinnom, TX” to great effect.  The original song had a bit of that expansive, Explosions in the Sky feeling, and Alpha Consumer’s mix takes that feel to the logical conclusion.  Great song for when you step on to the high school football field and think epic thoughts.

Michigan (0-0)  v. Alabama (0-0) – Saturday

The pick:  Alabama (-14)

The track:  Elephant (Todd Rundgren Remix) by Tame Impala

This track-to-game match up was too perfect to pass up, with Alabama’s (still mystifying to me) elephant mascot and the track from Tame Impala.  The original “Elephant” is a great song in its own right, and the new mix from Todd Rundgren brings out the heavy, sneering coolness behind the track even further than the Aussie rockers did.  The result is a hard-charging, electric-tinged psychedelic stomp that rocks balls.

On the game side of things, I feel like the hard-charging nature of Alabama will be too much for Michigan to handle.  Michigan seems to be on the right track, but it’s too early in their recovery to football greatness for them to go up against the physical beasts of Alabama and manage to get within two scores.  The benching of Michigan’s top RB, Touissant, also doesn’t help matters at all.  Denard Robinson just doesn’t have the throwing capabilities to beat ‘Bama.

Clemson (0-0) v. Auburn (0-0) – Saturday

The pick:  Clemson (-3)

The track:  For Your Heart by Divine Fits

This spread seems to be giving too much love to Auburn.  The Tigers have new Offensive and Defensive coordinators this year, and still appear to be a work-in-progress.  Clemson, meanwhile, is bringing back the dynamic stars of their explosive offense last season, and is primed up for another successful season.  In the offense-friendly setting of the Georgia Dome, I like Clemson.

If you’re looking for a propulsive, urgent-sounding pop/rock track this week, you could do a lot worse than “For Your Heart”.  Divine Fits is a ‘supergroup’ that includes prominent members of Spoon and Wolf Parade, and this track features strong elements from both of those groups’ prior efforts.  It’s got the vocals and synth flourishes of Wolf Parade and the weirdly awesome chord runs of Spoon.

Hot Routes: Introduction

31 Aug

 

Football lends itself to casual betting more so than other major sports.  The small number of games in a football season (about 12-17, depending on pro or college) eliminates a lot of the random single game outcomes you could get from a basketball season (about 82 games) or a baseball season (about 162 games).  There’s usually about a week between football teams’ games, so there is plenty of time to pull together information from a team’s previous performance and use it to make a reasoned prediction about their next effort.  And in addition to the scheduling, the very nature of the modern football game allows for plenty of wagering opportunities – there are all kinds of strategic approaches that teams take into their games, and with a little observation, one could make some reasoned predictions about which approaches have advantages over others.

What we’re trying to say here is that we enjoy wagering on football games – both at the college and NFL level.  If it were legal, we would even put money down on games, but it’s not, so we just like play for pride.  And as we play for pride this season, we’d like to invite you all to join in.  Each week throughout the 2012 Year of Football, we’ll be presenting some game picks for the upcoming weekend.  They could be spreads, money lines, over/unders, whatever.  So if you happen to make a trip out to Las Vegas, or perhaps live in the Cayman Islands, you could even take this advice literally and put some scratch down with your local sportsbook.  Or you could just marvel at how great/poorly we’re doing.

We know that just presenting some football picks and short explanations might get a little dry and boring.  And the last thing we want to be here at Dan Swanky’s is dry and boring.  So to keep things moving, we’ll be presenting weekly football picks in conjunction with weekly music picks.  We’ll lay down whatever sweet tracks we’ve been listening to all week, whether they were released in 2012 or 1968, and invite you to join in our jam sessions.  They may relate to the picks, they may not.  Doesn’t matter.  They sound good at the time.

Welcome to Hot Routes 2012

Summer Livin’: Sunset, For Now

29 Aug

Editor’s Note:  Summer Livin’ is a segment in which we ask our friend Steed to offer some words of wisdom on how to best enjoy certain staples of the summer months.  For further reason as to why this should be appointment Internet all summer long, check out the Introduction.  On to the easy livin’.

“I heard a pretty cool bit of news today.  The month of August is Blue Moon month – named as such not because it’s been sponsored by orange slices and wheat beers, but because there will be TWO full moons during this month.  This Friday, the 31st, will be the last Blue Moon before 2015.  Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m looking forward to some weird shit going down because of this Blue Moon.  Think about it – a normal full moon puts a stir in people and leads to all kinds of shenanigans.  Times that by two and color it blue?  On a Friday night before a holiday weekend?  Party time.

I bring up this particularly festive lunar event not just to put out a big Party APB, but also because  it’s coinciding with the end of Summer 2012.  I know people will be throwing around the term ‘Indian Summer’ all September long, but for me, the end of August is the end of the golden season.  School has already started for a lot of people, football games have kicked off, and Labor Day is about to put an emphatic period on all of your summer fashion trends.

This time of year is always bittersweet.  It’s tough to say goodbye to the sun-kissed days of summer.  Gets a little bit emotional for me, and I’m sure you feel the same.  But if you spent the last few months doing it right, you’ve got a lot of sweet memories to look back on.  And looking forward, fall is a pretty badass time of the year, with tailgates and costume parties beckoning.

So – don’t just spend this final August weekend weeping around your campfire.  Get a little Blue Moon Crazy, and take some time to celebrate all the awesome times you had in Summer ’12.  I’ll get things started by running down a few of my personal Hall of Fame moments from this year:

Conquered the community pool

I went to my local community pool at least 3 days a week this summer, and for the first month or so, I was ridiculed endlessly by a 12-year old tyrant named Gregory.  Gregory would spend all day throwing front- and back-flip combinations off the high dive with ease, and then him and his little buddies would cluster around the edge of the deep end and heckle me as I tried to complete my own dives.  I don’t normally get rattled easily, but I’m not a big fan of heights, and when that was combined with the fact that I was trying to impress several of the single mothers on the side of the pool, it got me all out of sorts.  I was belly-flopping, landing on my back, and at a couple points, I just lost my cool and had to do the Climb Down Of Shame as a chorus of adolescent laughter rained down on my bowed head.  After a few weeks of this, I had had enough, and one night I rented the movie Warrior
starring Bane and some other jacked dude.  This fired me up to start a fierce mental training regimen, and three days later, I threw down a perfect double back-flip in Gregory’s face.

Went streaking at a major league sporting event

I’ve always wanted to feel that unique adrenaline rush you’d get upon running proudly nude in front of 30,000+ screaming fans.  This summer, my dream finally came true thanks to my cousin Tobias getting a job as a security guard for my hometown MLB team.  One bright and sunny Sunday, Tobias managed to give me a few minutes’ window of lax security around the right field fence, and I took full advantage.  I popped a greenie, dropped the pants, and hopped onto that fresh cut grass for a quick jog.  It was glorious, and I managed to get at least four minutes’ worth of applause before getting the old Taser treatment.  There was only one drawback – that particular game happened to be Little League Day at the ballpark, with tons of young ballplayers in attendance.  As a result, instead of just getting the light misdemeanor I was expecting, I had to do some heavy duty lawyerin’ to make sure I didn’t end up on some national watch lists.

Started my own day party

Early in the summer, I had been hearing all this ‘Day Party’ buzz from acquaintances and lovers in places like Hollywood and Las Vegas.  Y’know – bars or clubs would set up their decks or poolside areas with swanky decorations, get a DJ or two to spin banging electronic hits, and things would get straight Cray during the normally laid-back hours of 12pm – 4pm.  Champagne showers, water guns, and everyone in high-class yet revealing bathing suits.  This sounded like something that I needed to become a part of, so I took the initiative and started a weekly party myself.  I learned how to DJ by watching a couple of Tiesto and LMFAO concerts online, rented out the back deck of my local Joe’s Crab Shack, bought a foam machine, and let ladies drink for free.  The first party was a little low-key, but I made sure the right people had a great time, and one week later, the lines were around the block and I had a branded party series on my hands.  The damn thing popped off all summer long.

 Became a music blog sensation

For a two-day stretch in June, a coupla heavy rainstorms blew through the area and put a damper on all the outdoor party activities we had planned for.  After a few hours of being cooped up inside, I decided to counter the impending madness of cabin fever by letting my inner musical savant come out and play.  What followed was a 40-hour long stretch of Goldschlager- and amphetamine-fueled musical experimentation, resulting in a mixtape of European Big House interpretations of Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange.  The track “Trancin’ Bout You” caught fire on the blog message boards, and for a couple of weeks, my audio goodness was being streamed and loved all over the world.  It disappeared completely after that, but man, what a run.

Met Channing Tatum

I went through a heady period in the middle of the summer that, for lack of a better word, I would have to call my Magic Mike phase.  My friend Tiff and her sister talked me into checking the movie out with ’em, and two hours and three boxes of wine later, I was a whole different person.  Can’t say what it was, but something about those dudes following their dreams gave me a whole new outlook on life – among other things I got a new workout regimen, finally went back to work on my solo album, and I became a much more sensitive lover.  About a month into this lifestyle change, I was at my local GNC when I locked eyes with a fellow across the store and saw that it’ was Mr. Channing Tatum himself – a vital part of my new lifestyle change.  In my excitement to see Chan, I blacked out for a second, and when I came to, I had my shirt off and was asking what he thought about my workout progress so far.  Long story short – and I don’t blame this one on Chan at all, just his personal ‘advisers’ – I’m now no longer allowed within 300 yards of Mr. Tatum or that particular GNC.

These are just a taste of the summer memories I’ll be toasting to during this week’s Blue Moon Party.  Hopefully you have plenty of misty-eyed reminiscing to do yourself.  Keep it safe out there, and I’ll see you next summer.”

Friday Relief

24 Aug

It’s hot out there, wherever you are.  And being the suave social animal that you are, you’ve probably decided to combat the heat this weekend by throwing a pool party.  A high-style pool party, in which you’ll have some DJ of ambiguous European descent spinning Lounge-House cuts all day.  With guests laying about in the shaded poolside cabanas you’ve set up, sipping on mojitos and Ciroc-tails.  With everyone, yourself included, dressed all in white and looking so effortlessly cool and sexy it makes your head hurt.

Best of luck with your party; we’ll look for evidence of sweet it was in the NYT and HuffPo style pages on Monday.  In the meantime, here’s a choice cut to add to your poolside soundtrack.

I Wanna Party With You: Expendable Edition

17 Aug

Sometimes, you don’t really get to know what someone is really about until you can sit down, loosen the tie, and toss a couple back with them.  So whenever a particular group of people have piqued our interest here at DS, we figure the best way to learn more about them, and ourselves, is to take a look at what it would be like to party with them.  It’s social science, if you will.  This is I Wanna Party With You.  It’s heavy stuff.

Action Parties

The second installment of the Expendables movie franchise hits theaters this week, offering audiences the chance to see their (parents?) favorite action heroes team up on screen for another round of snappy one-liners and exploding body parts.  The sequel adds even more familiar action faces to the cast, with the likes of Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme coming out of semi-retirement to see if they can out-forearm-sweat Stallone, Statham, and the rest of the series regulars.

We all pretty much know what we’re going to get with the new Expendables.  There will be tons of body blows that land almost as hard as the muttered bits of dialogue.  There will be a lot of winking nods and outright jokes aimed at the stars’ ages, previous movies, and real-life histories.  There will be lots of shooting, gratuitous explosions, and at least one scene in which Stallone directs a plane to do things that spit in the face of rudimentary physics.  We know all of these things.  But what we don’t know, at least for most of us that didn’t frequent the Hollywood Hills house circuit in the late 80s – mid 90s, is what it’s like to party with these action stars.  After the sweat, blood and burn marks have been wiped off, after the last bullet fired and the last punch thrown, what are these brawny bros really like?  Let’s get to hypothesizing.

Sylvester Stallone

Stallone often seems to be one of, if not the most, creatively-minded members of this action star crew.  He’s been the driving force behind getting The Expendables going as a viable franchise, and in addition to directing the first Expendables, he’s also written several movies over the course of his career – including the iconic First Blood (Rambo 1) and Rocky.  While many of the other action guys have seemed content to stick to acting, Stallone has stood out in his creative drive and output.

That creative side is great when it comes to making movies, and it would probably make for some interesting conversation at points during drinks or at a party.  Part of that creative mindset, however, includes having a sensitive disposition – and that can lead to some uncomfortable or unfortunate moments.  In interviews he’s given, Stallone can at times come off as being a pretty defensive dude, and it’s easy to see that becoming magnified in a party situation.  All it takes is a couple of Patron shots and one flippant comment about short guys or the overrated aspects of Rocky, and all of a sudden you’ve got an angry little ball of tanned muscle looking for a rage outlet.  Not the most stable of party mates.

Good Party Meter:

5/10

 

Bruce Willis

The first thing we’d do if partying with Bruce would be to get on first nickname basis – it would be pretty sweet to be able to casually mention you’re ‘heading out to go get beers with Bruno.’  The people that know what you mean would know how special you are.  Besides the whole nickname thing, Bruce seems like he would be a pretty solid guy to share a couple of cold Schlitzes with.  He likes rock ‘n’ roll, he likes motorcycles, he’s John fucking McClane.  In short, he’s a man’s man, and would have tons of good stories to share.

The issue with Bruce is that there is a part of him that scares the shit out of us.  It’s not a loud and obnoxious style, but there’s a quiet rage inside of Bruce that is quite daunting.  This dormant rage played well in Live Free Or Die Hard – Bruce was very convincing as the father of a teenage daughter who just seethed with quiet anger at any and every guy who looked at her twice.  It wouldn’t play well, however, in a carefree party scene.  We can just imagine asking Bruce one too many times to say “Yippie-kay-a motherfucker,” after which he would just put his beer down and stare at us quietly as we dissolved into puddles of shame and self-hatred.  Party over, at least for us.

Good Party Meter:

6/10

 

Chuck Norris

Chuck has been the subject of many jokingly outlandish ‘Chuck Norris jokes’ over the last several years, so it would seem at first that he would be an early favorite to party with.  Have a beer with Chuck and make him do ridiculous things, like punch bears!  And then he’ll do them!  But, no.  This may be an unpopular opinion, but we’re personally not big fans of Mr. Chuck as a party companion.

His movies are alright, as far as ridiculous action movies go, and there are definitely a lot of unintentionally awesome scenes in Walker, Texas Ranger.  There have been many reports, however, that real-life Chuck is not like the action character Chuck.  That real-life Chuck is pretty convinced of his righteousness, and that he almost wouldn’t appear in The Expendables 2 because of the explicit language and other awesome things that earned the movie an ‘R’ rating.  So you can keep the played-out Chuck Norris jokes and go join Chuck at the soda fountain, because we’ll stick with Bruno and some Schlitzes.

Good Party Meter:

1/10

 

Jason Statham

Jason Statham is one of the few big names in The Expendables that is arguably still in his movie-making prime.  He’s definitely not in the same generation as the likes of Stallone and Schwarzenneger, and he’s still pumping out 1-2 solid action movies per year.  He hasn’t quite reached the worldwide mega-star status that those guys hit in the 80s, but he’s still got a solid reputation among action movie fans.  That would be a pretty good way to describe our impression of Jason as a party companion – solid.

Apart from a dry English wit that he usually sports in his movies, there’s not a lot to The Stath that indicates he’s got any crazy qualities that would come out after a few drinks.  And that’s both a good and bad thing.  Bad, because when compared to some of the other flamboyant characters on this list, he could get a little boring after a while.  Good, though, because in case anything goes down at said party, like Stallone losing his mind and going after anyone over 6 ft. tall, you can be assured that good ol’ Stath will have your back, no matter what.

Good Party Meter:

7/10

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold has been in some pretty awesome action movies over the years, but at this point, his silver-screen exploits have probably been eclipsed by the ridiculousness of his actual life.  The guy moved to the U.S. as a teenager, became a sensation in the body-building world, transitioned to movies and conquered that world for a time, and then moved on to politics and became governor of the biggest state in America.  Along the way, he’s shown at many points that he’s got a pretty good sense of humor, and he loves to have a good time.

Say what you will about his recent marital troubles – this guy is by all accounts a pretty interesting person to hang out with.  We would love to get Arnold in a party setting, pull out some beer and some bud, see if the Party Arnold of this and this is still around, and if it is, if Party Arnold would like to come out and mingle.  We’re guessing that he is, and that he would.

Good Party Meter:

9/10

 

Party On…

Friday Relief

10 Aug

The Campaign hits theaters today, and early word is that it’s a pretty enjoyable pairing of guys who can be very funny – Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.  Inthe movie, Galifianakis affects a lisp-heavy Southern accent for his role and presents a character type that may be very familiar to some comedy fans out there.  Namely, anyone that has had the distinct pleasure of meeting Zach’s brother, Seth.

In case you don’t know about Seth Galifianakis, allow us to introduce you.

 

Have a good weekend.  Be careful with that basement Ecstasy lab

Summer Livin’: Road Trip

8 Aug

Editor’s Note:  Summer Livin’ is a segment in which we ask our friend Steed to offer some words of wisdom on how to best enjoy certain staples of the summer months.  For further reason as to why this should be appointment Internet all summer long, check out the Introduction.  On to the easy livin’. 

“Like the bald eagle that looks out pensively from the front of the T-Shirt I’m currently wearing, I crave the freedom of the open air.  There’s a part of me that just doesn’t feel right if I go too long without tearing through wide-open spaces as the wind ripples through my hair.  Since I unfortunately have yet to figure out how to fly without the aid of a 747, the next best chance to get this feeling is the open road.

Over the years, I’ve had quite a few epic journeys on the Great American Highway System, and pretty much all of those journeys have come during the summer months.  With a lot of people getting time off and with the sun shining down upon pretty much every corner of our great country, the summertime is set up perfectly for Road Trip season.  During this season, you’ll find people from all walks of life out on the blacktop.

There are the family cars with the sweaty, disheveled parents arguing up front and the sugar-loaded kids tweaking out in the back.  There are the retiree RVs with the over-confident Gramps manning the massive steering wheel while Gram gets blitzed off gin fizzes in the back.  There are the college crews in the dusty Volvos with the driver looking all sour because they’re the only one not currently getting tanked or sleeping off the prior tanking session.  There are the biker crews, composed of either helmeted mystery ninjas on sexy exotic sport bikes, gruff and hairy lifers in leather chaps, or the terrified accountants wondering how to downshift their new trikes.

Then there are the solo mish drivers, who are usually hiding their stories behind big sunglasses, and who may be running from the law, running from love, running down a dream, or just running.  And while I have been a part of many driver groups over the years, this last group is where I’ve found myself the most.  There have been many times in the past, and most likely many times to come, when a restless energy begins to stir inside me, and the only possible outlet is putting rubber to asphalt.  This usually happens ’round June, and if there’s no one around to run with me, there’s nothing I can do except fill up the stank on the ‘Stang, throw the Party ‘Bans on, and start driving until I feel like stopping.

Throughout my various Road Trippin’ adventures, I’ve built up a decent amount of wisdom.  This wisdom has birthed some battle-tested Rules of the Road – some of which I’ll share with you now.  The other ones are too valuable to give up, SORRY.

Never make direct eye-contact with a truck driver on the open road.  Truck drivers are usually awesome people, and this ain’t a general rule against them.  But some of those big rig cabs are harboring some dudes and ladies who haven’t slept for a few days, and who may have a few bad habits.  And when you make eye contact on that open road, you may be picking up a new friend/enemy, whether you mean to or not.  When there’s only one gas station for the next 130 miles, there’s nowhere to run.

Don’t underestimate the rest stop.  It’s easy to get in the ‘just gotta get there’ mindset after a few hours on the highway.  There’s nothing between you and your destination but the open road, so why not just power through for 16 hours and get the drive over with?  I’ve been here before, and it’s a dangerous edge to walk.  You could find yourself chasing Adderall with 5-hour energies, and when that’s going down, it’s only a matter of time before you start having lucid dreams.  While you’re driving.  I’m still not allowed to drive in Wyoming because of that.

Have the tunes ready.  Make sure you’ve got plenty of playlists, spare iPods, tapes, CDs, etc. before you hit the road.  You don’t want to just rely on the radio, because you will find yourself all alone on a desolate stretch of desert road with nothing but your thoughts and an all-Spanish Mexican ranchera station…and that is not a place you want to be.

Know when to use the buddy system.  If you come up on a gas station/convenience store/generic diner in the middle of nowhere, and it’s between the hours of 2am and 6am, you should probably make sure you see at least one other person in that place that you would consider to be ‘trustworthy’ before you go very far from the safety of your vehicle.  ‘Trustworthy’ can be a very general term in these situations – they just need to be normal, respectable-looking people – but you definitely want to have some sort of potential backup present before you let your guard down in the bathroom or even by the Cold Drinks section.

Let the driver know about the road sodas.  This one’s for when your’re heading out into the Great Wide Open with some company.  Usually there isn’t a problem with having a few sudsy road sodas from the passenger side or the backseat.  You could even say it’s a deserved treat if you just completed a long stretch of driving, and it’s a good way to unwind from those caffeine pills.  But I’ve learned that it’s never a good idea to hide things from the person whose driving.  Because there could always be a situation like the one where Timothy was doing a buck-twenty through West TX in the Charger, not knowing that I was slowly making my way through a 12er of Schlitz, and then being cheeky to the deputy that eventually pulled him over.  One car search later, my open containers are violating some of Timothy’s priors that I was unaware of.  If I had asked him if things were cool before I popped that first top, it would have saved us some stick time, and Timothy some jail time.  Lesson learned.

Take advantage of your Stranger status.  This is less a rule about general Road Trip well-being, and more of a piece of advice on how to get the most out of your extended cruising session.  As you make your way out of the safety bubble that is your hometown and start to pass through the towns and cities that line the highways, you’ll find yourself among people who have no idea who you are.  You’re the man/woman with no history in these towns – the mysterious stranger who just blew into town today and who will probably be gone tomorrow.  This is your chance to be whoever you want to be.  You want to be an astronaut who’s on their way to a top-secret Moon Shuttle launch, and is just looking for love on their (potentially) last night on Earth?  Puff up your chest and step up to the bar – you can be whatever you want tonight.  It’s the Wide Open Road, and the possibilities are endless.”

Friday Relief

3 Aug

The start of August means that summer is locked in the dog days.  When the drowsy humid days just blend together into one shimmery stretch of sunlight.  The glory days.  As we put on our rose-tinted glasses and waxed nostalgic today, our minds turned at first to baseball, and to long summer days and nights spent fucking around on the dusty fields.  And then from summer baseball, it was a short jump to one generation’s quintessential summer baseball movie – The Sandlot.  And when it comes to The Sandlot, there’s really only one way we could go on a Friday Relief tip.

The one day when it just became too much for Michael ‘Squints’ Palledorous.

 

Enjoy the pool this weekend.