Culture

We Recommend: Your Friday Freebies

Junkee-endorsed bits and bobs to make your weekend better. Includes short stories by Josephine Rowe, a guide to enjoying the Super Bowl, and a pretty enjoyable Facebook page.

Each Friday, our contributors send in a bunch of (legally) free stuff they’ve come across this week to help you waste your weekend. You’re welcome.

Eye Test Tool: Color, by Method Of Action

Recommended by: Patrick Magee

If you’re an aspiring graphic designer or just want to decorate your house, you should learn about how different colours go together. On the colour wheel — which you probably learned about at school — opposite colours are called ‘complementary contrasting colours’ (yellow-purple, blue-orange, red-green), and colours next to each other are called ‘adjoining colours’. These are all used to help designers pick colours that go well together.

‘Color’ by Method of Action will test how well your eyes can differentiate between veeeeery subtle gradations of the same colour, and is useful to train your visual acuity. Also, to find out whether or not you can fly a fighter jet.

color

Short Stories: ‘Swan Dive’, ‘Brisbane’ and ‘House’, by Josephine Rowe

Recommended by: Madeleine Watts

McSweeney’s and The Paris Review are doing a super awesome deal whereby if you buy a subscription to one, you get a cheaper subscription to both.

To pimp the deal, both of the magazines published online an excerpt taken from the newest edition of the other. The Paris Review published three short short stories by Josephine Rowe, which you can find in print in the latest issue of McSweeney’s.

Because the world isn’t fair, the McSweeney’s/Paris Review deal isn’t available to Australians, but what kinda sorta almost makes up for it is the fact that Josephine Rowe is an Australian writer, her writing is brilliant and exciting and heartbreaking, and reading her short stories will make your heart swell with national pride.

Interview: Gay Talese, The Art of Nonfiction No.2, by Katie Roiphe for The Paris Review  

Recommended by: James Douglas (‘Why 47 Ronin Is The Year’s First Box-Office Disaster‘)

Speaking of which… The Paris Review‘s ‘The Art Of…‘ interview series are some of the finest literary interviews in the world. Here’s one from 2009 with famed journalist and natty dresser Gay Talese, author of the much-heralded, New Journalism-birthing magazine profile ‘Frank Sinatra Has a Cold’ (which, while we’re at it, you might as well read here).

Subjects discussed: Talese’s beautiful suits; his adventure into the Mafia; his adventure into the massage parlour scene; his adventure into the nudist scene. All in the name of journalism, folks.

Venture through the entire Paris Review interview archive. Famous peoples’ words await.

How To Enjoy The Super Bowl: Puppy Bowl! And A Drinking Game

Recommended by: Jaymz Clements (‘Revisited: Dazed And Confused‘)

The biggest sporting event in the USA — the NFL Super Bowl — happens this Monday, featuring Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos taking on Russell ‘Rusty’ Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. It’s an all-time great quarterback against a second-year phenom, in an extravaganza to rival Andrew Bolt’s brave stance in support of inverted commas while railing against logic, sense and common human decency.

This year the Super Bowl’s in New York (actually, New Jersey… but tell that to the 15 blocks of Broadway they’ve turned into ’Super Bowl Boulevard’), and the halftime show is a double-header: Ellen lookalike Bruno Mars, and um, ’these guys?’ SO. That leads us to the best thing about Super Bowl:

THE PUPPY BOWL!

Yep. Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl X goes for two hours, and last year’s had 12.4 million viewers. More than the AFL and NRL grand finals COMBINED!

Speaking of which — if you have no idea what the Super Bowl is, how it works, or why, here’s a way to make the whole thing even more incomprehensible: Super Bowl drinking games. Here are options one and two. My favourite rule? The ‘Snooki Bowl’: drink five times if anyone actually says ’New Jersey’.

I tip Seahawks 27 – Denver 24. With the real winner being us. And beers. And puppies.

Podcast: Lena Dunham In Conversation With Judy Blume, For The Organist

Recommended by: Steph Harmon (‘Junk Explained: The Government And News Corp Vs The ABC‘)

While the latest episode of McSweeney’s brilliant The Organist is anomalous to its usual disparate format, it’s an excellent place to start if you haven’t come across the podcast before. The Believer recently published an 80-page book chronicling the first meeting and conversation between Girls’ Lena Dunham and the iconic YA trailblazer Judy Blume, who had a huge influence on Dunham’s work (and the adolescences of all women everywhere). The Organist published a 40-minute snippet of the recording, and it is pure bliss.

The pair cover everything, from how and where they write, to the pressure of being looked up to by so many women, to how they deal with their loyal, often-rabid fanbase. It’s packed with highlights: like when Dunham tries to explain twerking and slut-shaming to Blume, and talks about the mini orgies her high school friends used to have; and when the lightning-phobic Blume tells a story about the time her husband tried to buy her a ‘thundershirt’: a hugging garment worn by dogs to calm them during storms.

“George tried to get me one, at the pet shop around the corner, for a big dog,” she says. “But even though I’m a small woman, there are no thundershirts big enough for me. I said, ‘Look’ — and I got down and I walked like a dog. I said, ‘I’m not bigger than a big dog!’ Like, a hundred pound dog thundershirt would fit me!”

ARGH, PLEASE, BE MY GRANDMA IN A THUNDERSHIRT.

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Facebook Profile: HUGE EUGE The Dragon Slayer

Recommended by: Jack Arthur Smith

HUGE EUGE The Dragon Slayer, aka the “rocket launching testosterone pumping hefty sexy hunk man”, is taking gym swelfies, hashtags and blonde highlights to whole new levels.

Obviously satirical (well, hopefully), this dude combines gymspiration with an unfaltering sense of self-belief that can’t help but make you titter. We could go on, but it’s better you check this one out for yourself.

dragon

YouTube: ‘Tim’s Cook Off’

Recommended by: Matt Banham (‘Eight Movies About Capitalism And Its Seedy, Pin-Striped Underbelly‘)

After having his ‘Kitchen Tips’ show dissed on the internet by a nice old Greek lady, Tim and Eric’s Tim Heidecker decided to go head-to-head in a challenge against the lady in question. The challenge: to create a delicious chilli for Eric Wareheim to eat. The prize: laughs all round.

Article: ‘The Great Perils of Social Interaction‘, on WaitButWhy.com

Recommended by: Elizabeth Flux

Everyone feels uncomfortable around everyone else all the time, and this article explores pretty much every reason why, with the added bonus of stick figures.

If you’ve ever gone in for the handshake when the other person’s gone for a hug, said bye then continued walking in the same direction, or almost gotten into a fist-fight over who pays the bill, then this will make you feel less alone. Anyway, right. Weather.

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List: Hidden Messages In Taylor Swift Songs

Recommended by: Alasdair Duncan (‘I Was Beaten Up One Night In Sydney‘)

We all know Taylor Swift writes super-catchy, super-mean songs about her old lovers — but have you ever wondered which song lines up to which no-good ex-boyfriend? There’s a way to find out, sort of!

When reading through the liner notes of her album Red, some eagle-eyed fans noticed that certain letters in certain songs appeared randomly capitalised. When you put all the letters together, they contain hidden, cryptic messages. For example, the letters in the song ‘All Too Well’ spell out MAPLE LATTE, a drink that Swift may or may not have shared with her former beau Jake Gyllenhaal at a Nashville cafe in 2010!

The Taste Of Country website have helpfully collected and analysed all the hidden messages from Red, so you can find out who Taylor’s been gossiping about. You’re welcome.

Self-Plug: Mel Campbell’s Soundcloud

Recommended by: Mel Campbell (‘Go Home, Retro, You’re Drunk: On Political Conservatism And Vintage Subcultures‘)

Truly, GarageBand is a miraculous application. Previously, you had to just imagine my stupid songs. Now, I can record them badly in a mere couple of hours.

Here’s my latest public service announcement — I find it a useful earworm when you are about to leave the house. Is there anything you’ve forgotten to bring with you?

I only wish the sound quality was better, but I consider it more of a ‘demo’ and am happy to ‘collaborate’ with proper musicians and sound engineers to release it as a gimmick single.

It joins my other stupid jingles, ‘The Cho in Chobani‘ and ‘Raisin Toast‘.