Saturday, November 15, 2014

Interstellar: Water Cooler Currency

It seems as though everyone in the office at work as seen Interstellar, and we're all talking about it. Critics have been a little split on the film, with some praising it's stunning visuals and entertainment value and others critiquing its lack of sophistication/intellect. Here's what my co-workers and I have determined over coffee and the copier:

1). Paying for IMAX seems to have been worth it. My co-worker Kate said its enormity was astounding.

2). Along that's visually spectacular. We think the sublime of nature in romanticism is being replaced in the twenty-first century with galactic film.

3). Matthew McConaughey is so orange!

4). The dimensions of time (especially near the end) actually blew our minds. Worm holes, black holes, alternate universes, etc. We talked about time and relativity for 20 minutes and still felt perplexed/curious!

5). Matt Damon and the snow planet: gratuitous macho scene that came off as foolish boys having a snowball fight.

6). Robots were not as impressive as our beloved original HAL: their voices were almost too real; their design was bizarre and nonsensical; but their programming capabilities fascinated us.

7). We're happy Anne Hathaway is out of Hollywood hiding.

8). As per usual, Hans Zimmer knocked it our of the park with a shimmering and cavaliering (albeit loud) soundtrack.

9). Dylan Thomas's poem, "Do not go gentle into that good night," while a lovely poem was overused and felt forced. We get it, Nolan, you're an intellectual! 

10). The pathos was delicately balanced––it wasn't cold, but it wasn't sappy.

Photo via Wired, by Paramount Pictures. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

{On Repeat}....Bal-Musette

I was listening to a podcast of Fresh Air the other day and heard some of the most whimsical music: Bal-Musette. It's a style of French music that predominantly features the accordion (I had always thought of polkas when it comes to accordions) and from turn of the twentieth century. Musettes were played in dance halls in France and are inspired from Italian, Bohemian, and Auvergnat cultures.

Fun fact for coffee lovers, bal-musette dance was also known as java.

I never would have guessed, but I'm finding bal-musette to be the perfect early-winter music. It's fun, upbeat, a little romantic in a goofy way, and feels very exotic. Listening to it is like a mini vacation––everything seems sparklier and more special.

I suggest listening to: The Paris Musette, Guy Visuer, and Accordeon Melancolique

Image: lithograph by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1892), via MoMA

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Truly Midwestern Sayings (Decoded)

I've lived in the great Midwest my entire life, and thus I'm not always aware of what constitutes a "truly Midwestern" saying. When I traveled to Berlin, I realized some of our strange American aphorisms, and then even Minnesota/Wisconsin versions. When my family took a vacation to Florida, everyone picked up on our accents and our expressions. I've compiled a list and helped decode their secret meanings.

1. Minnesota Nice: this is just an excessively polite way of saying passive aggressive.

2. "That's different": Your behavior/lifestyle/personality/opinion is totally unacceptable in my view and I will never understand, nor attempt to understand, why you do/think that.

3. "For sure": this seems to be exclusively Wisconsin in my experiences. If you're hardcore, you'll tack on an elongated "oh" in the beginning. Depending on tone, this can be condescending (if someone makes a suggestion that you despise) or eagerly appeasing (agreeing for almost the exclusive desire to agree). See No. 1 for why. (I'm pretty sure that other regions say, "most definitely.")

4. "Just a thought": this is typically said at the end of an opinion/suggestion. It's a polite and slightly passive aggressive way of implying that what you just said is (to you) the right and superior sentiment, but you don't want to come of as pretentious or too forward.

5. "Wouldn't you know"/"Dontcha know": the former is a way of introducing what you're going to say as special, interesting, serendipitous (like if you recently saw a long-lost friend you had been speaking about the other day). The latter is added at the end of a statement, and means to establish agreement.

All in all, most Midwestern sayings are about playing nice. If confused, assume they are trying really hard to keep the peace.

Photo via sarahcarlsonetc Instagram.