Thursday, August 27, 2009

Find this man, win $5,000.


Wired is the coolest magazine ever. That's all there is to it. Almost every single issue has something that makes me think, something that gets me excited, and something that makes me say, "I totally have to try that." Sometimes a single story contains all three of those things.

Here's the latest such story: Wired author Evan Ratliff is hiding. He is offering $5,000 to anyone who can find him between August 15th and September 15th. Seriously. And he hasn't just dug a Saddam-style hole to sit in for a month. He's out and about, going to book stores, and perhaps flying to Hawaii.

How the heck can you even know where to start? Well, start by reading the contest info. Next, and more importantly: check out wired.com/vanish, which is periodically updated with information about Evan that a private investigator would have access to (including activity on frequent flier, credit card, and ATM accounts).

I desperately want to try to find Evan, but I think there are about a thousand people who would be better at this than I would. "Wired" readers are an incredibly clever bunch, and many of them seem to have too much time on their hands. Also, from my initial perusal of Evan's tracks, he appears to be spending most of his time on the west coast. It would be hard for me to get close enough to whisper the code word to him.

I really want someone to find him, so that he can write the story of how it happened. (Which is actually what he will do if he is found.)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More stuff that I like

First: Netflix is flipping amazing.

Second: Sometimes I treat television shows and movies as homework. I think, "I have no idea what this movie is, but it got good reviews and people have talked about it, so I guess I should watch it, just so I can see what the fuss is all about." Much like my real scholarly pursuits, sometimes it takes me a while (a year or three) to get around to doing my homework.

Third: "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" is flipping amazing.

Like most white people, I'm a culturalist – not a racist, mind you – a culturalist. I have no problem with black people. However, the hip-hop culture that many of them live in is totally unfamiliar to me, and therefore is a little frightening. I don't really understand hip-hop culture. I observe it at a distance and I think, "Hm. That's interesting. I don't get it."

In addition to my general culturalism, I am almost entirely unfamiliar with Dave Chappelle's TV show and comedy routines, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be all that entertained by them.

Those are the two reasons why it took me three years to get around to watching "Dave Chappelle's Block Party".

Here's what everyone failed to tell me: This movie is 3% about Dave Chappelle's comedy, 15% about hip-hop culture, and 80% about generosity, humanity, community, and Brooklyn. (and 2% other.) Also, it's directed by freaking Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, dozens of music videos), another badass Frenchman whom I failed to mention in my last post.

The movie is basically a documentary about Dave Chappelle organizing a block party in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn; the main event being a concert with performances from the likes of Kanye West, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Common, The Fugees, Lauryn Hill, and many more hip-hop and rap artists. Chappelle gives free rides and accommodations to people from his hometown near Dayton, Ohio. He meets everyone in the neighborhood in Bed-Stuy where he's hosting the party (which is announced almost exclusively by word of mouth, yet still manages to draw a crowd of thousands). Everyone appears to have the time of their lives. Dave Chappelle is apparently the nicest, friendliest human being on the planet. The way he interacts with everyone is so endearing. He is so kind and sincere to every single person he encounters, from Kanye West to the middle aged white ladies in a convenience store in Ohio.

No doubt a little bit of this joy is exaggerated by the magic of film editing, but I would guess that the spirit of the movie is very much in line with Dave Chappelle's vision of the party.

If you want to vicariously experience the most delightful summer block party of 2009 (though it actually occurred in September 2004), go rent it now.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

C'├ętait un Rendez-Vous

We Americans like to make fun of Frenchmen, accusing them of being overly romantic or effeminate, but it must be said: Some Frenchmen are total badasses. Quirky and stylish badassses, but badasses nonetheless. Philippe Petit, for example. Actually, maybe he was the only one I knew of until today, when the Very Short List brought another to my attention: film director Claude Lelouch. In 1976, he stuck a camera on the hood of his sports car (Can someone tell me what car it is, by the way? It sounds awesome.) and made this nine minute short film, driving at unthinkable speeds through the open streets of Paris in the early morning.

Idiotic? Yes. Illegal? Absolutely. (He was arrested after the first screening of the film.) Romantic? Of course. (Make sure to watch all the way to the end.) Badass? You betcha.

Please, fullscreen this sucker. Tiny windows don't do it justice.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Le Suerg Digest: July

Here's where I've been for the last month or so:
  • 4th of July weekend: In Derby with my delightful girlfriend Dani and her delightful family.
  • Next weekend (11th–12th): Camping, hiking, and swimming in 1,000% humidity at Perry Lake with Dani and my siblings.
  • Week after that (13th–17th): Mostly spent battling an ear infection from swimming in the lake.
  • On Saturday the 18th: Bought supplies (with Dani) at the Moon Marble Company for making torchworked marbles. Playing with molten glass is awesome.
  • The 19th through the 24th: In the Black Hills in South Dakota with my family and Dani. We all hiked up to the top of Harney Peak, the highest point east of the Rockies and west of the Pyrenees. We went to Bear Country USA and saw the most hyperactive bear cubs ever. Dani and I became astronomers.
  • Week after that (27th–31st): Back to work. Blah. Made some delicious ice cream at home, saw the Bravery at Power and Light (and ate at the worst restaurant in the world. Never go there. High prices, bad food.)
  • Friday (31st): Went with Dani to see "500 Days of Summer". (2.7 of 5 stars) We ran into Rachel (5 stars) in the parking lot. Dani and I drove around KC for three hours, failing numerous missions. (0.5 stars) Stopped at Town Topic. (4 stars) Watched some 30 Rock. (5 stars)
  • Saturday (1st): 7 stars. Spent the whole [gorgeous] day with [gorgeous] Dani. Donated blood, ate Bob Evans, went to Brookside Toy and Science, bought some fun toys, played in Loose Park, made margaritas, went swimming, made chili dogs, watched Pushing Daisies. More like eight stars, actually.

Unfortunate side effects of my crazy July:
  • My blog was a ghost town.
  • My house is a disaster.
  • My bicycles are lonely.
  • Summer is going by way too fast.