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in list, we must

HEY, YOU. Welcome to the latest edition of the Must List, wherein I chronicle the aspects of the world that pluck me outta bed in the morning. Here is the best shit of right now.

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1. The bassline of the Beverly Hills Teens theme song

Yo, do you know about Beverly Hills Teens? The smash cartoon bildungsroman that followed a group of rich-ass California teenagers around their country club? You remember. The one that aired from 1987 right up through…1987. (September to December. YouTube any episode and see for yourself why—maybe “Diet, Please,” where the fillies are competing for a beauty contest. Notable quotable: “Gag me with a lobster fork.”)

I FUCKING LOVE THIS SHOW. The characters have names like “Larke” and a proto–cell phone thing—“the Gossip Hotline”—that buzzes harshly, like a panic alarm at a nuclear plant, whenever some new social scandal emerges. More mellifluous than that: The stupendous theme song. This week, I have seriously not wanted to do anything but jam to the tune of these BevHillzTeenz. Come on and make your dreams come true. It’s so horrible. I’m so in love.

2. “Twist My Fingaz,” YG

Actually: There is a second song on my end-of-July playlist. In terms of real West Coast music made for humans instead of a group of profligate animations: This single goes and goes and goes and GOES.

This track reads even more “California” to me than the above theme—who knew that were possible?

3. Back rubs

I’m an elderly boy now. I can tell because yesterday, fed up full to bursting with the world entire, I dipped into one of those “$10 for 10 minutes” outlets where a person punches you in the spine for a little portion of your life. I had never had a massage before! It turns out my vertebrae adore pummeling.

I didn’t know whether to take off my clothes?

Whatever. I’m into it. If, like me, you (a) are prone to kvetching re: feeling mad Sisyphean, even though you have litero nothing to complain about, and/or (b) recently texted your sororal group chat that you “seriously want a breast reduct-o” because of persistent back pain, go get socked in the back some. You will like it, or at least not be texting diatribes about your life/tits to your siblings for a hot 10.

4. The southern flannel moth, aka the Mrat’s identical twin

Mritter has a body double and I’m never going to stop making fun of her about it.

5. My First Time

I am very stoked for this forthcoming video series. In it, experiences with first books are recounted by writers like Donald Antrim, Sheila Heti (“I remember thinking, I just have to work harder than any other writer in the world“—yes, and if I didn’t feel this way, I’d quit), Akhil Sharma, and Ben Lerner (I loved 10:04; shove it). So far, only the trailer and a few excerpts have been released, but even just those little bitsa flotsam are making me feel way okay.

6. Too Faced Lip Injection

toofaced

By and large, lip plumpers are temporary bullshit that taste like smoking a Newport without the tobacco part. To these, I say, “FERGIT IT.” The ringing/stinging exception is this injurious and beautiful gloss, which burns as though you smoothed fiberglass over your chomper (in a nice way?) as it expands it exponentially.  It’s so horrible. I’m so in love.

7. Lisa Hanawalt

hole

I have long adored this person‘s work for Lucky Peach (this strip, where she goes all spirals-for-eyes at a Las Vegas buffet, is my favorite of those), so clearly I was like YEA DOYE MY DUDE uh sorry I meant to say thank you but got excited, is all when the proprietor of the best comic/zine store in my neighborhood suggested that I might like her new-ish book, MY DIRTY DUMB EYES. And doye, did I ever! Cop it if you like lewd animals/are, yourself, one. (Oh, and on that note: If you like that show Bojack Horseman, Hanawalt designs that.)

8. The Rufous hummingbird

In terms of my Instagram consumption, the two categories I follow above any others are similar in tone: Sneaker-enthusiast and bird-watching accounts, with sparse exception, are both captioned all like, “[STERN RED EXCLAMATION EMOJI!] AUTHENTIC PICTURES ONLY. NO REPOSTS. TAG US FOR A FOLLOW BACK. [STERN RED EXCLAMATION EMOJI!]” Do not fuck around with, like, Sole Supremacy or BirdExtremeFeatures if you are tryna get them to redistribute photos of some spurious sparrows/SBs that you actually have no business with. The avian/sneakerhead social internet: “ACCEPT NO FAKES [AN EMOJI THAT LETS YOU KNOW THEY ARE IN NO WAY PLAYING AROUND ABOUT FINCHES/FOAMPOSITES!]”

Given the gravity of all that cartoon punctuation, I knew my love was AUTHENTIC when I happened upon this species of hummingbird, of which I had never heard:

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 8.11.38 AM

WHAT THE HELL IS THIS WONDROUS LITTLE GUY? I got me over to the Audubon Society’s website for more intel, because, like the above Instagram captions, Audubon has its own sort of stylistic rapture inherent to its language. You can just hear the organization’s bird-os caring SO MUCH as you read their rapt characterizations of each species. Here are the first two lines of their description of Rufous, aka this bird:

Although it is one of the smaller members in a family of midgets, this species is notably pugnacious. The male Rufous, glowing like new copper penny [sic], often defends a patch of flowers in a mountain meadow, vigorously chasing away all intruders (including larger birds).

WHAT AN UNDERDOG. Mountain meadows are worth scrapping for, though, if anything is; I knew I liked Rufous for a reason outside its “glowing like new copper penny,” although the photo above is of a female, whose cranial plumage is…let me try and Audubon this…verdant like freshly-mint dollar bills.

Or maybe: RARE COLORWAY! PREMIUM HUMMINGBIRD [MEAN PUNCTUATION]

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All right. That’s everything I like right now. Have a good summer-remainder, and remember: Come on and make your dreams come true! It’s fun for me and you! In Beverly Hills!

X ARS

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MUST LIST: bulldozers in love edition

Can you find all the ghosts hidden in this picture? Hint: The first one is at bottom right.

Can you find all the ghosts hidden in this picture? Hint: The first one is at bottom right.

GREETINGS, EARTHLINGS! (God, do any of you still have, like, some uncle that says that? You have to have a talk with him about this behavior.)

I’m writing to you  from the heaven of my bed in Greenpoint, having just returned yesterday from the psychic used car lot/dirtbag Valhalla/dream factory that is my ancestral homeland, aka suburban New Jersey. I was there for a great many days, during which time I made a Christmas sojourn with my family to our favorite abandoned insane asylum (I totally pretended to see a poltergeist, see above), fucked up my nascent only-fish-and-cheeseburgers vegetarianism by eating ham almost exclusively during my stay, and tried to divine sorta-correct answers to when my little sister repeatedly asked me, “What’s trending in Miami right now?” I don’t know what’s trending in Miami, Madeline. Actually, you know what, now that I think of it? If you’re asking me, fibbing about the supernatural is really hot this season. That, or maybe neon. Pass the ham.

So! Now that I’m settled back in, I’d like to present this freshly-butchered MUST LIST for your perusal. I GOT SO MUCH I WANT TO LOB YOUR WAY, DARLING EARTHLINGS, so here are all the things that are totally trending in my brain right now:

1. Iron-on letters

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 2.42.02 PM

I bought tons of these deadstock rainbow iron-on letters from the 1970s so that I can gussy up all my gross old denims ‘n’ such with whatever ill-advised slogans my heart desires. Some ideas:

– BRUISER, the nickname I asked my friends to give me as my 18th birthday gift while knowing full well that you can’t ASK for a nickname and not even caring one whit
 IF YOU HEAR ANY NOISE / IT’S JUST ME AND THE BOYS / BOPPIN
BILL THE CAT 2014  (Sidenote: Did you know there are two bona-fide recorded tracks credited to Billy and the Boingers? They were included on a record that came with a Bloom County book in 1987. Objectively, they’re not the most polished examples of songwriting or musical ability, but fuck a drooling cartoon feline if I don’t totally love them with all of me. Also, it’s looking like my daily struggle against getting a Bill the Cat tattoo is going to persist into the next calendar year. At this point, the best we can do is hope that I don’t opt for one that includes barf.)

I eagerly welcome further advice on this very pressing press-on matter.

2.  Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation

kat

This is the best foundation in the world, although I understand if, after buying it, you hide the bottle when you have people over lest they think you’re super down with her aesthetic and are tryna become a similarly styled TAT-TOTALLY ROCKIN’ ROCK ‘N’ ROLL BITCH BABE-GUITAR. Personally, I welcome any gritty changes to my image, however hackneyed, that might help corrode the irrepressible wimpitude I unwittingly beam into the world at all times. Please, call me Bruiser.

This BADASS ROCK FACE SLUDGE is truly the most matte, long-wearing, and uniform in its coverage of any I’ve ever worn, so I’m attached to it for good now. In keeping with this new style direction, I guess I have to put off the Bill tattoo and get one of, like, a dumb old winged heart that’s somehow on fire. Or maybe one of those cultural-appropriation koi fish…that’s also somehow on fire. I’m gonna look so rock ‘n’ roll, I can’t even wait.

3. This playlist I made the other night when I was pretending to be a bulldozer pining for its unrequited object of desire (see last post for more context)

I’m still enjoying this mindset, so this one goes out to all the soft-hearted lummoxes who don’t know their own strength except for the strength of their lonesomeness. The Lennies of the world who can’t help but stay petting rabbits far too hard. The King Kongs who lie awake all night dreaming of how to look cool in front of Fay Wray. The heavy-handed true of heart and clumsy of limb. This is my ham-fisted beast-Valentine to you. Hope you like Abba and Gang of Four.

4. This Sheila Heti essay about what constitutes fiction and how that affects a reader (and whether God is dead)

I haven’t read the book that serves as the nominal subject of this essay, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s second volume of the serialized autobiography My Struggle, but I care deeply about the topics Sheila Heti covers in thinking about his work: the inherent impossibility of trying to truthfully commit the past to text, the “false distance” of nostalgia, the romanticism of presenting something as fiction vs. the supposed admirable frankness of framing the same work as nonfiction, and the differing degrees of power over the material that result from the outcome of a writer’s making that decision. Here, see for yourself, then get to reading the rest of this beauty:

Knausgaard has said that while he forgets painful stories told to him in confidence by the people he loves, and plots of novels he’s read, he vividly remembers landscapes and rooms. Writing, for him, involves filling these rooms. But before that could happen in the way it did here, he had to encounter the rooms and landscape of his childhood and past as auraless, ‘small and ugly’. Nostalgia is a false distance, we feel it everywhere, its ‘sameness’. The aura of nostalgia is akin to the aura of ‘the novel’. It brings life close but makes that life unreal. It turns the past into something it was not, the way conventional novels make of life something it is not. When nostalgia dies, our romantic stories about our lives die, our impressions of who our parents were die, and novelistic conventions also die. Also dead is the consensual safety that fiction brings with it, the presumably ethical veil behind which writers protect themselves from their family and friends: it’s not you, that’s not your name, your hair is not red, it’s made up.

X ARS

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