Bad Idea Blue Jeans

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Consumption: The Best Show on WFMU

"Hello, this is John Hodgman, here to collect your pledge."

It's disarming to hear such a distinctly familiar voice as I heard last night. I called WFMU to pledge to The Best Show, which I started listening to a couple years ago via the iTunes podcast. Since hearing just a couple of the surrealistic, long-form skits that Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster put together, (I recommend the 6/29/09 Planet GG or the 8/9/10 Big Bill & Little Bill segments from this page as entry points) I've been hooked.

I had originally planned on pledging $75, to earn the Best Show prize pack, the crown jewel of which is a 7" of GG Allin covers, cleaned up of all explicit lyrics by The Mountain Goats, Ben Gibbard, Ted Leo, and others. But earlier in the day I told Tom that I'd instead offer $1 for each new Twitter follower I gained throughout the day.  Thanks to his re-tweeting, I had 91 new followers by the time the show rolled around.   By happenstance, my phone call routed to John Hodgman's station, and after a few minutes of pleasant conversation and address gathering, the following scene played out:

TC: "I told Tom I'd give a dollar for each Twitter follower I gained during the day, so I'm pledging $91."
JH: "So are you saying that if I follow you right now, you'll up that pledge to $92?"
TC: "Well...sure."
JH: "Tom I have an idea. I'm completely willing to accept your pledge right now. But what if I were to tweet your handle out and ask you to call back in a half-hour with an updated number would you do that?"
TC: "Sure, I'd do that."
JH: "Now, are you SURE? Because it could end up being a VERY big number."
TC: "That's fine. Let's do it."
JH: "Very well. I'm going to tweet this out right now. Call back in a half-hour, and if somebody else answers, tell them you need to speak to me."

True enough, this happened shortly after:

And in turn, within SECONDS, my inbox looked like this:  (Click to enlarge and note that all occurred at exactly the same time.)

It goes without saying that I immediately realized the stunt had gotten wildly out of hand.  The power of Hodgman to inspire his followers is like nothing I could have imagined. They just kept coming.  Hundreds upon hundreds.  Some made vague threats!  Some said things in Spanish! Some brought up Edward James Olmos!  I literally counted the seconds until 9pm so I could call back and end the madness.  By coincidence John answered again.

TC: "It got a little out of hand."
JH: "Hold on.  Right after we talked I followed you and I wrote down that you were at 423, and that counted 92 new followers from the day.  Where does it stand now?"
TC: "786."
JH: "HA!  I told you it might get out of control!"
TC: "You were correct.  They won't stop either!"

As our chat continued, he told me he felt bad and wanted to negotiate a fair pledge amount, while not holding me to the strict numbers of the deal.  He then told me that he would match my amount and give the same, as he did on-air shortly afterwards.  Here's the clip, wherein Scharpling starts by chiding Hodgman for outing celebrity pledger Jason Woliner, and ends with Tom calling Hodgman "the devil" for tricking me into his plan.

Long live The Best Show on WFMU!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Sunset Tweet (Or "A pun I immediately regret")

I'm overdue on Consumption reports! They will be coming soon. But first, a thoroughly shameless moment of fanboy bragging from tonight.

I feel so much immediate pressure!

Also, in the spirit of Arcade Fire winning Album of the Year, I'm beginning my campaign for Merge Records to repeat next year.  Vote "All Eternals Deck" in 2012!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Consumption: Ondine

Ondine (d. Neil Jordan)

Ondine is the story of an Irish fisherman named Syracuse (Colin Farrell) who catches a woman - literally - in his fishing net. After saving her from drowning, he finds that her presence on his boat has resulted in the catching of a shitload more fish. ("Shitload" is a fishing term, matey.)  Naturally, this begs the question: is she real, or a witch, or mermaid-like creature? And why is it that she's always singing a song when the fish are being caught? This well-told fairy tale gets weird toward the end, with the following overly meta scene in which the fisherman hears the familiar mermaid's song from an unlikely source:

Keep in mind that his daughter eight years old.  How many 8-year-olds know Sigur Rós?  Perhaps even a more appropriate question is this:  Have we reached the saturation point on using Sigur Rós in the climax of films yet?  Understand that they're one of my favorite bands ever so I understand the urge to go to the well repeatedly.  The music is ethereal and cinematic in scope, but just from films I remember off the top of my head, it's become an issue.

Cameron Crowe got in on the action early in 2001.

Then a couple years later, Wes Anderson broadened his Brit-pop horizons to score Steve Zissou's jaguar shark encounter.

That same year, Gregg Araki's excellent Mysterious Skin had a familiar climactic soundtrack.

Notice that these are all happening at the climax of each film? Such was the case in 2006's Penelope, a film I never actually saw, but apparently they branched out and chose Peter Dinklage to play the role of the film's little person.

Even 2010 Best Picture nominee 127 Hours makes use of Sigur Rós's "Festival" as a one-armed Aron Ralston struggles to survive the film's final moments. It's time to say ENOUGH to the filmmaking community. Ease off the Sigur Rós. If you can't find the emotional power to end your film without cheating by using the soaring falsetto of the finest post-rock to ever come out of Iceland, then perhaps it's time someone takes your music budget away. It will be returned when you've shown your responsible enough to handle it like a grown up.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bill Murray has always been a genius

From 1982:

This is the kind of stuff people just throw on their Tumblr site (oh by the way...)  but no!  It needs to be as widespread as possible.

Here's an honest question.  Is there any settting within the known universe wherein Bill Murray could walk in and NOT be greeted by all attendees as a welcome addition?  I say definitively NO.  Seriously.  Give me any possible situation:  The closing of an auto factory.  Your father's funeral.  A school board meeting.  Any possible scenario and/or setting that exists within the earth-bound universe would be improved for EVERY ATTENDEE if Bill Murray showed up.  And that my friends is the difference between Bill Murray and everyone else in the world.

Yeah, I've been drinking a little.  BUT THE POINT STILL HOLDS UP.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Consumption: Blue Valentine

Recommended If You Like:  Being reminded that anything good will someday go to shit!

I was having a decent day.  Then this movie.  Fucking hell.  Wanna kick my dog while you're at it?*

*I don't have a dog.  My dog died almost twenty years ago.  Thanks for the reminder, Blue Valentine.