Showing posts with label boredom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boredom. Show all posts

16.9.21

Why I Love TikTok Content Creators (And So Should You) — And a List of Zany TikToks I Found

I have a penchant for the theatrical. 
The dime novel. The beauty in the absurd. The homemade movie. The guy with the camera turned on himself. The take-a-household-item-and-make-a-prop kind of performativity. 

You get the gist.

And where can you find the most beautiful schlock the Internet has ever created? Why go no further than TikTok. It's a platform where content creators put their own identities front and center — and it's a highly satisfying romp.

If you didn't know — TikTok is a mobile video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The first iteration of the app was dubbed Musical.ly, authored by software Engineers Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. Basically, the app began as a lip syncing app called Musical.ly and its companion live streaming app called live.ly. TikTok was a rebrand of the app that attempted to fold both features of the two social apps into one.

And the rest is history. 

Just as Twitter revolutionized the short writing form of 265 characters, TikTok has ushered in the micro-length video form of 15 to 30 seconds.

The draw of TikTok is twofold — it’s easy to use and to create content with, coupled with its immense sound and music library and its unending filter library. However, the best TikToks have neither — they’re pure spun dioramas of peoples constructed private lives. And it’s why I first was enamored of the platform — peering into people’s live created in a dizzying array of quick action theater of the absurd. 

Here are some gems I’ve collected along the way. 

1. The Smiling, Waving Homage to The Sitcom Montage
This teen has an instinctual appreciation for the visual grammar of the iconic television sitcom montage — ignore the silly tune — and pay attention to how his edits match perfectly something out of American television classics Growing Pains or Family Ties.

2. Antoinette's Casual Use of the Cigarette
It’s easy to dismiss @antoniteegrams because her videos are riffs on soundbytes. But she’s so humble in her mien and I love her casual use of the cigarette. I have no idea what the original source of the soundbyte is but that’s what makes TikTok endearing. Any random noise can be strewn into actor’s gold. Andy Warhol was partly right — in the future everyone will be famous — but not just for five minutes, but for as long as you have working Internet and a smartphone with a halfway decent camera.

3. The Family Dinner Table is Often a Suitable Mise-en-Scene
@eddiepdoyle videos his grandmother’s acerbic comebacks in dozens of video. TikTok has made many folks Internet famous because a cousin, or grandson, or daughter, or someone, picked up a camera and started candidly filming a family member. The immediacy of the moment is right at your fingertips, as if you’ve stumbled into this woman’s cluttered kitchen and she wants to know what you want from her. Classic.

4. A Colorful Edit

It’s possible that this edit is rather basic. But it's relatively early TikTok. I like the use of color and fashion and the sheer fact that the guy is having a lot of fun. And that's quite a mess for one less-than-thirty-second video.

5. Boys Wear Tee-Shirts on Their Heads When They Play a Girl
So teenage boys on TikTok will don a tee-shirt on their head when they're playing a female role. It's sheer schlock. But a testament to the fact that no TikTok star has a wardrobe warehouse or access to MGM studios. Although, it is odd that teenage boys think a woman's hair is well represented by donning a tee on their head. Oh, girl!

6. Sissy That Walk!
If you can't get on the runway, girl you better werk. So does this amazing runway walk that is probably this TikToker's backyard. Sissy that walk!

7. The Five Minute Bathroom Break 
TikTok lends a view into working class jobs — fast food attendants, nail salonists, customer service representatives, and the lot. One thing network television cannot do — even though it has tried with shows like All in the Family and Roseanne — is replicate the experience of an everyday American's day at work. And often that means taking a five minute bathroom break and talking to the mirror. Period.

8. Right?!
I am not sure what to think of this video. Brilliant? Yes.

9. The Smiling Boy
This boy has created an entire fandom over the fact that he is a teenager who enjoys smiling.

10. The Histrionic School Lunch Lady Performance
Again put a piece of fabric on your head and all of a sudden you are a woman. And I wouldn't even call this drag. I call it histrionic performativity. And I didn't steal that from Judith Butler.

11. It's Got To Be the Sweater
It could be ironic that this guy is wearing a Playboy sweater. Right?! Lots of TikToker were born out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

12. The Best Comedian is Probably Your Neighbor, Mr. Pickles
Again — the beauty of TikTok is that it creates stars out of ordinary people. I love this guy's vulnerability and authenticity all packaged into a nice, yellowy color scheme.

24.4.20

Video: How To Make Potato Salad The Way My Mother Taught Me

First Steps To Make Potato Salad
Good morning, today I am going to show you how to make my famous potato salad. You're gonna want to cut up some green onions, real good. And you're gonna need a jar or two of mayonnaise. I like to boil my eggs first. When you're boiling your eggs one nice tip is to take the eggs out on a spoon and if the water evaporates then the egg is ready. Similarly, with my potatoes, I boil "em for twenty to twenty-five minutes.

Cutting Up All My Ingredients
In the meantime, I am cutting up my green onions — I love the ones with the bulbs at the end. They are so delicious. A good potato salad has celery. Celery is going to give your potato salad some texture — something to chew on and it just tastes good. Going back to my potatoes — that takes the longest time. I keep the skins on 'em. Because I like to eat the skins. But after you boil 'em, if you want, you can take the skins off. It's up to you. Look at that boil. My favorite part is deshelling my hard-boiled eggs. I'm pretty good at it. And you'll get the hang of it too. Today, I bought some brown eggs but any eggs will suffice. Quick fact: eggs are an alchemist's dream in the kitchen. Eggs are perfect for any meal. Ohhh. Just look at that white orb of deliciousness. Cannot wait to cut you up and put you in my salad, honey.

Pot-'O-Potatoes
Alright. Those potatoes are ready. * To show you I got some turkey bacon but really any hog bacon will work just as fine. I guess I'm feeling a little health-conscious. So I bought some turkey bacon. And I fry that up in some olive oil. Crispy-like. You want to make that stuff crunchy. Cuz when you put it in your potato salad — Mmmmm — it's going to give it that — Ohhhhhhhhh — nice, fatty taste that you love. We don't call it comfort food for nothing.

Masher-cize
And here's where the elbow grease comes in. You're going to have to mash those potatoes. I got myself a masher. I don't know if it's ready for potatoes. But it works. Mash those potatoes good. Cut 'em up. Now. If you are like me you don't want your potatoes too mashed. You want to keep some chunk in there. Now when I'm getting ready to mix everything up I do add a little bit of mustard. It tastes good. You don't want to put too much mustard in it. And you're going to mix that mayonnaise inside and you're going to mash it all up. You're going to put your eggs in there. You're going to put your celery in the bowl.

Finishing Touches
Now, you don't want to leave out an important ingredient — black pepper. Not too much. But enough to make it taste good. And there you have it. My momma's favorite potato salad recipe served at your doorstep. Well just kidding. You'll have to make it yourself. But I think I have enough comfort food to last me a month. So let me know if you try out my potato salad recipe and how it works out for you. I'm going to eat this up, honey. Yes!

8.4.13

That's Boring! - A Propaedeutic

First off, I have done fuck all. It's very Zen. To do is not to do. My inner Zen boredom master says, "Overcome the urge to be productive, Greig." It looks good on a resumé. Don't leave the house. Lie in bed and don't think. This induces boredom.
Clearly inspired by boredom
Mourning
There is a mourning though that occurs first. After resisting the urge to do stuff, to be productive, the brain clicks into mourning, a low grade melancholia - it’s like the experience of loneliness - because ideally boredom like the kind I am talking about also requires solitude. I want to connect with another person and I have this insistent urge to be with someone, or someone to be with me. Kurt Vonnegut said it this way: “When I am alone I want to be with others and when I am with others I want to be alone”. Resist! It’s not that hard. Really. Tell your friends you have something really important to do and unfortunately you can’t do that really fun thing. They’ll insist. The creative spark comes with being with others. I am with my friend and I have a creative idea and I wish I were in solitude to pursue it but I am with my friend so I put it aside. The creative nugget that surfaced is there waiting for solitude to bring it out afresh. For me it is a nasty business to be creative.

Boredom  
Boredom was anathema in my mother’s vocabulary. She would punish us with laps around the house if we said the word - “You’re bored? OK. Run two laps. I want to see you pass by that window every few minutes.” The punishment didn’t work well for me because after three quarters of a lap I was distracted, a tit mouse in the garden, a glint of light from a water puddle, or a red fire engine charging down the street to the station, or my friend Clay walking his dog on our friendly suburban street, and I would say distractedly, “Hey, Clay!” By the way "red fire engine" is for me the quintessential metaphor for childhood. I'm sure the phrase is laden with hidden unconscious meaning that I have yet to plumb. Red. Fire. Engine. Figure it out.

About the laps:
I would forget about the laps but then, maybe Mom was right, because the boredom was gone. Until it came around again. I would spend many hours in my room as a child listening to books on record players. I loved reading Hans Christian Andersen's “The Tinderbox”. Even as a little kid I knew there was something seriously transgressive about transporting a sleeping maiden to your bedroom. The color of the storybook with the words that matched the narrator’s strong masculine voice accentuated the sexual power of the tale. I think this is when I realized I like men. Something about summoning, maybe? Fairy tales are friggin' powerful vehicles for raw desire. No wonder Plato in the Republic forbade the telling of certain tales to be told in the city. Something as simple as a narrator’s voice can shift attraction, help form identity - the power of the tale, the desire to wake a sleeping princess, to bring her to your chambers, the fallout and punishment, and lastly, the reconciliation with hero and lover. All that in the idle wiling of one day. Boredom is awesome and filled with potential for unbridled creativity. Human beings have formed their identities through idleness - it's the stuff of tales.

Boredom is an emptying out.
To be creative it is necessary to carve out a creative space to create what the Classical Greek philosophers called leisure time. By boredom what is meant is leisure -  when nothing that is done has immediate value. The highest form of boredom is leisure.  It’s a special time because everything else has to be accomplished first. I can’t be bored if I am worrying about a package due to arrive by FedEx or if I have a class to teach in an hour. Boredom requires true relinquishment of responsibility. To get to that leisure time - the true elixir of creativity that boredom promises - is to get past the urge to fill up time with useless crap. Like check email or check the post or check text messages. I know. It’s nearly impossible.

Bartleby the Scrivener
In literature I most identify with Bartleby the Scrivener, Melville’s famous office clerk who says, “I prefer not to” - until the very end of the story where he is put in the loony bin for saying, “I prefer not to”. This is why I have trouble with cover letters. 

I’ve accepted my mediocrity. My averageness.
Life Lesson: Just because it don't look like "work" don't mean it ain't work, bro.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

10.6.09

First Summer Post: 2009

Summer is here.
Summer is here. Put on the suntan lotion!
I had so many ambitions for this summer:
1. Audition for a play
2. Get a job
3. Take a library science course
4. Write a novel or collection of short stories
5. Find an LTR (!)

Now, so far, I have only begun to accomplish number 3.
     The other bullet points are just that  lofty points!
     Now, I did attempt to do number One. I was going to audition for Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf but the theater was too far away and I did not want to spend my hot, summer days commuting.

About getting a job: 

     I did house sit for a week with mercurial Zack. I made some bucks and got to hang out with him. He is into his peers more than he is into me -- add football, and getting his body ripped and I end up a mere fixture in the house, a little bit lower than the dogs. I caught him a couple of times being bored. Maybe it is true that boredom is part of being an adolescent. I would think the trick in "growing up" is figuring out what to do with unstructured time. It is funny, I was bored watching him be bored. But, to make a potentially tragic story happy, the both of us went to Café Du Monde one morning after his workout and conditioning. And he did help diagnose my car problems (I had a defective tire valve) and directed me to an inexpensive tire repair service. Thank you Zack! All in all it was satisfactory. I do love him and hope he reads this blog!
    Maybe I will try my other plan and get a job as a barista. Anyone need a barista?

About the fiction writing: 
     I need to stop time for a considerable length and go through all my stuff:

Here is my incomplete TOC of stories with a one-sentence tag line:
Staten Island Ferry: A Collection of Short Stories by Greig Roselli
1. Green Apples: A clerk who secretly lives in the basement of a busy urban public library
2. Bully: Two kids become friends after a fight on a trampoline
3. The Hammer: Morgan feels guilty about accidentally killing his father
4. Pre-Stress: Adam comes-of-age once he finds an abandoned lot filled with pre-stress concrete
5. Staten Island Ferry: A man writes poetry on a ferry and befriends a stranger
6. Kierkegaard's Son: A professor finds a half-dead woman and brings her home
7. Highway 90: A middle-aged mom defends her convenience store from being bulldozed
8. Socialite: A girl posts fake pictures of herself on the internet with unexpected consequences
9. Song of Roland: Two men meet after fifty years of separation

     I am thinking I may need a total of twelve stories but these are stories I have already developed. This may end up being a more ambitious project than I originally imagined.
     More later!