I started a podcast called Spaceman. It’s about video games and the broader ways they affect our lives. You will dig it if you like video games but you might even if you don’t. Episode One is available now and it’s only 8 minutes, so if you don’t like it you will only have missed about four videos of cats flushing toilets on YouTube. The website is http://spaceman.cc/ but please subscribe in iTunes here.
Even better, if you leave a rating in iTunes we will be friends forever. (iTunes ratings are the ties that bind.)
A very unfortunate pool hall hustle.
Theoretically, I could be tricked into watching the movie New Year’s Eve like 50 times and be forced to wear wide leg pants for the rest of my life at the same time by an old old Chinese woman in a very unfortunate pool hall hustle.
I could drink so much one night that I black out only to wake up several states away, pantless and wearing a Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirt before hitchhiking back to Oregon over the course of several weeks and in the cab of several very questionable truck drivers only to find out I’ve done something so horrible that not only will none of my friends will speak to me ever again, but society has decided to shun me completely, which forces me to live amongst C.H.U.D. like creatures in a system of caves in rural South Dakota.
A group of teenagers could beat me up while I walk by the convenience store in the park blocks for no other reason than just the simple terrifying fact that teenagers are unpredictable and did I mention terrifying?
I could make someone pregnant when I had no intention to do such a thing, disown the child because ‘it doesn’t look like me!’ only to have it travel back in time to circa 1994 and kill me while I performed a devil stick routine in my elementary school talent show, creating a time paradox that sucks the earth into a black hole and ends the entire human race
I could bite off the tip of my tongue while playing driving to the hole in a pickup shirts and skins basketball game and then swallow both the tip of my tongue and so much blood that I develop an insatiable taste for human and become an actual C.H.U.D., all because I went too hard in the paint.
I could snap both of my achilles tendons at the same precise moment in a terrible trail running accident before, while lying face down in the mud for several hours waiting for someone, anyone, to rescue me and my now useless legs, a snake crawls into my ear and bites me in the brain, injecting enough poison, not to kill me, but to make me profoundly and pathetically unintelligent and also for some reason mean and unlikeable for the rest of my life.
Women viewing Justin Bieber as a sexual archetype could prove to be more than a passing fad resulting in a reality where I am forced to swallow my pride, infantilize myself, cut bangs and wear a purple hoody as much as possible in an effort to be even baseline acceptable to the fairer sex when in reality I am over six feet tall, which is much taller than Justin (who is 5’7” if you somehow don’t know) and thus will never be loved again.
I might sadly eat Reece’s Pieces alone in my apartment while I play video games on my Playstation 3 so many nights that I become both morbidly obese and stricken with carpal tunnel syndrome rendering me unable to neither exercise nor do my job competently.
I could never come close to fulfilling my potential.
The nagging fear that my best years are behind me could be more than just a nagging fear.
My most notable achievement in life could be looking sort of like a famous vampire.
All these things could happen and I would still have the Eels record End Times to listen to. And everything would be ok.
I wrote a status on Facebook the other day commenting on how R. Kelly’s Ignition (Remix) is more than ten years old. On the surface it’s a pretty pandering update—reminding a like-minded group of one thousand-ish twenty somethings about a song that has been pretty inescapable throughout our collective adult lives.
But even if it seems empty and pandering on the surface, I think Ignition (Remix) might be one of the most enduring and important songs of our generation. What follows are 21 reasons that R. Kelly’s Ignition (Remix) is absolutely the greatest.
(I tried to organize my thoughts about it, but, um, didn’t organize them very well. What follows is more than a thousand words of things I think about Ignition [Remix], but I warn you that as I wrote these I think I got more excited and less coherent. I’d call them insights but I’m not sure if they are that insightful. More than anything I just want to justify my Facebook post as not pandering, I swear.)
1. Being 17 and not really knowing why the song is so wonderful and, since you listen strictly to post-punk guitar bands, being unable to admit to yourself that this song is just phenomenal but at the same time knowing that this song is just phenomenal and hoping Jammin’ 95.5. FM plays it again. And again.
2. Being 25 and trying to deconstruct the surprisingly specific descriptions (with excellent grammar) of observations such as ‘there was food everywhere/as if the party was catered’ before ultimately deciding that R. Kelly might be channeling Hunter Thompson’s Gonzo-style journalism through a bouncy soul song.
3. A bouncy soul song that isn’t THAT bouncy. It exists in a sort of sludgy mid-tempo zone that is somehow as danceable as just about anything else.
4. Being 20 and in college and just smashed and having no situational awareness to the point that you ‘lost’ your shirt and are only wearing an undersized yellow vest but still knowing immediately, when Ignition (Remix) comes on, that this song is the bee’s knees and that suddenly there are no stationary feet and that this is the apex of the night.
5. Anytime Ignition (Remix) is played after midnight and there is that point EVERYONE listening collectively decides to be devil-may-care about their current inebriation and jubilantly yells ‘I’m like so what? I’m drunk’ along with the song. Few songs have the ability to get an entire room of adult strangers to yell things in unison like Ignition (Remix) does. The only song that immediately comes to mind to rival Ignition (Remix) is Lil’ Jon’s seminal Get Low which has the unfair advantage of basically just being a song full of Lil’ Jon yelling out directions. ‘From the window/to the wall’ is begging for listeners to point out the window and the wall. ‘I’m like so what? I’m drunk’ is just an immediately relatable sentiment within a certain context.
6. When R. Kelly claims that this is a ‘little preview of the remix’ and I continue to wonder to this day if he’s lying and that was the full remix or if he’s being sincere and somewhere out there exists an unreleased 22 minute version of Ignition (Remix).
7. Not to belabor this, but ‘there was food everywhere/as if the party was catered’ is such a weird statement. It’s cloyingly proper grammar in a song that mostly eschews grammar otherwise. And also, if the party wasn’t catered, who brought so much food? Did they prepare it and serve it as if they were a caterer? Mostly why do we care? Food has never been a marker of quality for the kind of ‘tryna get you to a hotel’ type of party R. Kelly is singing about.
8. ‘Take my key/put it in her ignition’. I think he’s talking about sex, you guys.
9. The way that the song Ignition (not the remix) is also a good song, but nowhere near as good as the remix. As far as remixes go, Ignition is only tangentially related to Ignition (Remix). Ignition (not the remix) is basically three and a half very sincere minutes of R. Kelly expanding on the ‘take my key/put it in her ignition’ metaphor which is sort of fantastic. He poses the question ‘Have you ever driven a stick babe?’ It’s much more coherent than Ignition (Remix) but just not as grotesque or interesting. If Ignition is a traditionally beautiful demure women then Ignition (Remix) is crazy hot, sort of alien-looking Angelina Jolie.
10. How ‘Sippin’ on Coke and rum’ feels like a call out to specifically me in college, but in reality is a call out to a huge percentage of people who graduated college in the 00’s, all of whom drank both Captain Morgan’s and Bacardi Gold spiced rum mixed with Coke in lieu of Milwaukee’s Best as part of a misguided effort to imbibe like an adult.
11. With ‘fellas to my left/honeys on my right’, R. Kelly sets up a clear divide between genders with him at the center, presumably as an all-powerful decider. And to what end? He’s a symbol like the Berlin Wall, but the way the song goes he’s also ultimately Gorbachev, choosing not to silence the protests and letting the wall come down because he knows that German unification and the fall of the Soviet Union is better than World War III, or in this case keeping the genders apart for the entire night.
12. ‘After the party, it’s the afterparty/and after the party it’s the hotel lobby’ doesn’t really make sense but is also TRUE and we know what he’s talking about. And also rhyming party with party with party with lobby.
13. Somewhere between 12 and 15 bounces in a row. I tried four times and couldn’t count them.
14. ‘It’s like Murder She Wrote/once I get you out them clothes’, is either an absolutely terrifying threat or R. Kelly is a huge Angela Lansbury fan. Or both.
15. If you make a song about ‘the freakin’ weekend’ people will automatically like it 20% more. This is why everyone kind of doesn’t mind Loverboy’s Working for the Weekend even though that song is terrible.
16. R. Kelly’s lyrics, in this instance, are everything from total incoherence to, again, oddly specific and cerebral descriptions of just things that happened to have gone on around him.
17. ‘Toot toot/beep beep’ because of course this song really needs some onomatopoeia.
18. ‘Bouncin’ on 24’s/like they say on the radio’ (and it took me years before I figured out what he says in the second half of that line) is very meta. While not directly quoting any particular song it’s commentary on any number of songs from this era plus now they literally do say on the radio because R. Kelly just said it on the radio. Is R. Kelly posing an infinite regression paradox? (!!!) Turtles all the way down, etc. Is it possible R. Kelly is referencing Stephen Hawking or Bertrand Russell? Probably not, but kind of maybe!
19. I might be misremembering, but while Ignition (Remix) was a big hit, it wasn’t overplayed on the level of, say, a ‘Hey Ya’. That fact has helped make it more enduring. We never got super sick of running our hands through his ‘fro and so here we are ten years later still excited to hear that.
20. The beautiful fact that I would believe that R. Kelly spent three years working on Ignition (Remix), refining the lyrics to within an inch of their life, but I would also believe that R. Kelly spent 20 minutes writing Ignition (Remix).
21. Remixes typically come after the original song, but Ignition (Remix) was released before Ignition and indeed before Chocolate Factory itself.
If nothing else, just listen to this glorious enduring song. It is wonderful and worthy to live with you for your entire life. Chances are it will. Think about how you heard it when you were in high school and when you were in college and then at your friend’s wedding and probably in the future when we are all old, with kids who listen to music we don’t understand, and still trying to go out and drink and dance sometimes with our friends. We all have this wonderful shared touchpoint in perpetuity. I’m like so what? I’m drunk.
“Do you see the pattern here?” she asked him, concerned about her perceived neediness and his apparent solipsism and what it means for their tenuous relationship and why they kept finding themselves in this place where both were upset with the other for two largely different, but almost certainly familiar by now, reasons, and most of all concerned about how they could keep pressing on like this, or even whether they should.
“Heathered,” he answered, looking down at his shirt and probably ruining everything.
2013’s 2012 Resolution of the New Year
I had one New Year’s resolution in 2012. It was to slam dunk a basketball and I was not close to achieving it. In my defense, I had a great excuse. I was making progress in February when I tore my hamstring. This took me out of commission for not only jumping, but any exercise and slowly but surely turned my body into pale dough. By the time I was able to run (slowly) again in May, slam dunks had given way to the more urgent mandate of don’t be a fatso anymore.
Now it’s 2013 and rather than resolving to work harder or eat healthier or help others, I want a mulligan on my mostly pointless 2012 resolution. As a kid I wanted to grow up to be an NBA player. As a 23 year old I still wanted to grow up to be an NBA player. I’ve mostly given up on my hoop dreams now at 27, but I still play ball and I realize that if I don’t get above the rim before 30, it’s never going to happen. My 9 year old self would be bitterly disappointed to know that, at 6+ feet tall, I can’t slam dunk. I don’t want to disappoint him. There’s no physical reason for me to be unable to do this. I’m tall enough and at points in my life I have been able to dunk a tennis ball.
Right now I can’t touch the rim. But I’ll get there, I have a year.
John Vieira’s Best of 2012 Awards Presented by John Vieira
Today is the first day of 2013 which means last night I gave out my ultra-popular John Vieira’s Best of 2012 Awards Presented by John Vieira. I basically ruined everyone’s Facebook feed for about four hours doing these one at a time, but I decided they needed to be compiled in one place as well. Plus a bonus award wow internet!
2012 Pants of the Year: Jeans
2012 Hybrid Pants of the Year: Jegs
2012 Shorthand for Jeggings of the Year: Jegs
2012 MGMT of the Year: Foster the People
2012 ‘Everything Happens for a Reason’ of the Year, presented by Favorite Quotes Section of Facebook: YOLO
Most Browser Tabs Open at Once of 2012: Me, with like 60 all of the time.
Top Baby of 2012: My friend Dan’s baby
Worst Baby of 2012: All the other lazy babies out there. Get to work, babies.
Best Hashtag of 2012: #taylorswift
Most Stylish Use of Outerwear 2012: Monkey in Ikea
Top Thing People Want to Talk to Me About 2012: My Moustache, followed closely by which day of the week it feels like
Best Use of Hugh Jackman of the Year 2012: The movie where Hugh Jackman teaches a robot how to box
2012 Mumford and Sons of the Year: Mumford and Sons
FUTURE AWARD, 2013 Mumford and Sons of the Year: The Lumineers
2012 Thing That Everyone Wants to Talk About but I Don’t Want to Talk About: TIE, Instagram terms of service and also Apple maps
Most Missed and Please Come Back of 2012: Shia LeBeouf
Scariest Things of 2012: The constant looming shadow of death, the ever present threat of failure and also teenagers
Biggest Disappointment of 2012: I didn’t even get an honorable mention in People’s Sexiest Man of the Year issue. Yet again. ¡Sì se puede in 2013!
2012 Bagel of the Year: Cheese bagel toasted with cream cheese.
2012 Sexy Monster of the Year: A Sexy Frankenstein
2012 Word With Two Wildly Differing Meanings of the Year: Scarf
Worst Hair of the Year 2012: Me, for the 12th year in a row
2012 Celebrity Shorthand That I Made Up and Which Did Not Catch On of the Year: JoGo Love It for Joseph Gordon Levitt
2012 Deceased Bagel Shop of the Year: Noah’s Bagels. May we never forget your shmear.
2012 Josh Hartnett of the Year: Channing Tatum
2012 Lizard Man of the Year: Matthew Mcconaughey in Magic Mike, in a shocking upset over the Lizard in the Amazing Spiderman!
2012 ‘I Might Have Been Depressed in Retrospect’ Month of the Year: March, where I played Mass Effect 3 for the entire month.
We did it everyone! This has been a lot of fun and congratulations to all of the 2012 award winners. Let’s be less terrible in 2013.
I realized there were no Facebook photos of her from 2009. It was as if she didn’t exist at all.
That sound you hear.
That sound you hear is one million self-reflective, and probably overly self-serious blog posts from twentysomethings about whether or not we should still be dressing up and going out on Halloween when the truth is that yes, of course we should be, and we should be not because we’re still young and we’re still wild and we’re still mostly responsibility-free but because it is Halloween and that is what Halloween is for, dressing up and acting like a real jerk, no matter how old you are and how mold-breaking you seem to think your generation may be.