Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Are You a Millennial? Take My Unscientific Buzzfeed-Style Quiz!

Welcome to the arbitrarily-curated 90s Millennial Quiz! Do you have the knowledge/cultural savvy of an American 90s-era Millennial according to my caprice? Scores and answers at the bottom!

1. Finish the Simpsons quote. Give yourself 1 point for each right one.

a. “Don’t blame me! I voted for____________!”
b. “Do you find something funny about the size of my____________?”
c. “I used to be with it. ____________.”
d. “And that talking coyote was really just____________.”
e. “I am so smart! ____________!”

2. What does a/s/l mean? 3 points.

3. Growing up did you consume any of the following? Give a point for each.

4. Nickelodeon Shows: Did you watch…? (1 point for each)

5. Disney/Other Kids Shows: Did you watch…? (1 point for each)

6. Does this image mean anything to you? (1 point)

7. Do you remember these? (2 points)

8. What about this squadron of horribleness? (1 point)

9. Switching gears, would you know how to respond to the following 90s slang terms/phrases? (1 point each)

a. Someone said you’re “all that and a bag of chips”
b. Someone called you “fly”
c. Mid-conversation a friend says “as if!”
d. Someone called you “homeskillet”
e. Someone shouts “psych!” or “not!”

10. Did you play any of these computer/video games? (1 point each)

11. Can you name these band’s biggest hits from the 90s? (1 point each)

a. Green Day (album: Dookie)
b. Blind Melon (album: Blind Melon)
c. Coolio feat. L.V. (album: Dangerous Minds Soundtrack)
d. Chumbawamba (album: too similar to the song)
e. Lauryn Hill (album: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill)
f. Oasis (album: What’s the Story Morning Glory?)
g. Moby feat. Gwen Stefani (album: Play)
h. Cypress Hill (album: Black Sunday)
i. Snoop Dogg (album: Doggystyle)
j. Santana feat. Rob Thomas (album: Supernatural)

12. Give one point each to the fad you participated in/remember being a big deal:

13. On to fashion! Give yourself a point if you ever wore:

a. hi-top sneakers/sneakers that lit up
b. a sweatshirt tied around your waist/fanny pack
c. choker collar/scrunchies. so goddamn many scrunchies.
d. crop tops/denim tops
e. big ol’ black boots/pants so baggy you ought to be ashamed of yourself

14. And finally, 90s news stories!  Can you remember the significance of the following terms, as related to 90s news?

a. Dolly the sheep
b. Good Friday Agreement
c. Kenneth Starr
d. “The mother of all battles”
e. Kyoto Protocol

First the answers, then the scores:


1.  a. Kodos; b. automobile; c. Then they changed what ‘it’ was; d. a talking dog; e. S-M-R-T
2. ‘age/sex/location’ – a common query from the AOL chatroom era.
3. –
4. Salute Your Shorts; Rocko’s Modern Life; Guts; Doug; Clarissa Explains It All
5. Dinosaurs; Goof Troop; Bill Nye the Science Guy; TaleSpin; Animaniacs
6. Hamsterdance.com – an early ‘viral’ 'web' sensation from 1998
7. Screen savers from the 90s After Dark software.
8. Microsoft Office assistants c. 1997
9. a. A good thing; b. stylish; c. 'Clueless' reference; d. variant of ‘homeslice’ or homeboy’; e. obnoxious anti-humor that should be groaned at and condemned
10. Sonic the Hedgehog 2; Doom II; Myst; Super Mario World; The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
11. a. Basket Case or When I Come Around; b. No Rain; c. Gangsta’s Paradise; d. Tubthumping/ Tubthumper; e. Doo Wop (That Thing); f. Wonderwall or Champagne Supernova; g. Southside; h. Insane in the Brain; i. Gin & Juice; j. Smooth
12. Tamagotchis; snap bracelets; Beanie Babies; pogs
13. –
14. a. the name of the first cloned animal, 1997; b. the end of hostilities between the United Kingdom and Ireland, 1998; c. the special prosecutor of Bill Clinton regarding Monica Lewinsky, 1998-99; d. a phrase used by Saddam Hussein referring to the Gulf War, 1990-91; e. The international agreement on climate change, which the U.S. later withdrew from, adopted in 1997.


0-10. You are not at all a 90s Millennial. Congratulations!

11-20. You know a bit about these ‘Millennials’. But luckily not much.

21-30. Gen Xer? Gen Z? Millennial parent? You have a pretty decent grasp of 90s kid culture, but it's not likely that you were a part of it.

31-40. On the cusp. Maybe you just weren’t very observant? That or you are very, very clever.

41-50. Clearly a Millennial. In the immortal words of Cantaloop: “boogie woogie jam slam.”

50-60. You are *totally* a Millennial. So, you know, good luck paying your student loans…

Sunday, March 20, 2016

San Francisco Nouveau

San Francisco grew to prominence after the Gold Rush of ‘49, with a population swelling from around 200 in 1846 to about 40,000 ten years later.
Indeed, the Victorian era that heralded this incredible growth is well-documented and associated with San Francisco history and architecture. In the decades proceeding the Gold Rush, from the influx of wealth, were produced some stupendous Victorian architecture, much still extant, with some lost:

And the city continued to grow, steadily, into the 20th century.
By 1880 the population was a vastly larger 234,000, and by 1900 it had increased another approximate 100,000 to 343,000.
This time period was moving away from Victorian styles. For example, the famous “Painted Ladies” row of houses on Alamo Square were completed by 1896. The Victorian style continued into the 19-teens, but was fading.
Due to the Gold Rush the city has been cosmopolitan since it rose to prominence. Obvious examples include the Chinese population in Chinatown, established in 1848, and now the largest Chinese population outside of Asia. Many thousands of Europeans and Latin Americans also flocked to the area for gold, and stayed on in the thriving, wealthy city. With the European influence came another style of architecture: Art Nouveau.
Art Nouveau is found throughout western Europe, for example in France, Spain, and Belgium. The style is based on curves and proportions found in natural forms - which makes it aesthetically very pleasing. It flourished between 1890-1910, and San Francisco, as a city that had a history of only a few decades with a large European immigrant base, and money available for showing off, was prime for the style’s influence. Many American cities have no Art Nouveau for the same reason - Boston wasn’t about to tear down its heritage district for this new, European style. (In fact the only American Art Nouveau artist of note on the global stage is Louis Comfort Tiffany, famed for his decorative windows and lamps.)
So for a brief window Art Nouveau influence could be seen in San Fran. But of course this all came crashing down (and burning) with the 1906 earthquake and fire.
Growing up in San Francisco I saw glimpses, hints, of this beautiful style hidden throughout the City. The first photo in this post is from Golden Gate Park, taken by excellent local photographer of the era, Willard Worden shows the European influence of the time. The Portal is still there: 

Most notably, of course, were the Art Nouveau constructions of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, most of which were designed to be temporary, and were subsequently torn down. Indeed, the only remnant remaining is the reconstructed Palace of Fine Arts:

Other than this well-known city monument, the offerings are few and far between. San Francisco was one of the few places in America where Art Nouveau could thrive - and it was almost all lost:

With a few pleasing exceptions:

The Palace Hotel - rebuilt after the fire.

The Hammersmith Building
And little ruined reminders:

The Sutro Heights Gardens - then and now

Spreckles Temple of Music, Golden Gate Park - known as the ‘bandshell’

But for these few remnants, and a couple others scattered here and there, the legacy is lost.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Book List and a Movie List

Movies first.

I saw Spotlight last night, which was a very good film. On leaving the theater I mentioned that it reminded me of Argo, another engrossing drama which, despite winning Best Picture, took away no acting accolades from the Academy. Were these isolated incidents? 

Turns out: no.

Nearly half of all Best Picture winners didn't win any awards in acting categories, which I find remarkable (38/89 - 43%). Some weren't even nominated (12/89 - 13%). Here's the breakdown by decade:


2015 - Spotlight
2014 - Birdman
2012 - Argo


2009 - The Hurt Locker (no nominees)
2008 - Slumdog Millionaire (no nominees)
2006 - The Departed
2004 - Crash
2003 - The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (no nominees)


1997 - Titanic
1995 - Braveheart (no nominees)
1993 - Schindler's List
1990 - Dances With Wolves


1987 - The Last Emperor (no nominees)
1986 - Platoon
1985 - Out of Africa
1981 - Chariots of Fire


1976 - Rocky
1973 - The Sting


1969 - Midnight Cowboy
1968 - Oliver!
1965 - The Sound of Music
1963 - Tom Jones
1962 - Lawrence of Arabia
1960 - The Apartment


1958 - Gigi (no nominees)
1956 - Around the World in 80s Days (no nominees)
1952 - The Greatest Show on Earth (no nominees)
1951 - An American in Paris (no nominees)


1943 - Casablanca
1940 - Rebecca


1938 - You Can't Take It With You
*1936: Best Supporting categories introduced*
1935 - Mutiny on the Bounty
1933 - Cavalcade
1932 - Grand Hotel (no nominees) (!)
1931 - Cimarron 
1930 - All Quiet on the Western Front (no nominees)


1929 - The Broadway Melody
1927/8 - Wings (no nominee)

Now, to switch to books. Have you ever wondered when authors wrote their classics? Basically the answer is: whenever. From their teens unto the brink of death, authors have written classic works at all ages. So if you are wondering when you're best work may be coming, don't worry - Goethe didn't complete Faust until his eighties, and Rimbaud became world-renowned before 20.

Here's a sample of what I mean:

19 Pablo Neruda – Twenty Love Songs and A Song of Despair; Arthur Rimbaud – A Season in Hell
21 Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
23 Aristophanes – The Clouds; Stephen Crane – The Red Badge of Courage
24 Alexander Pope – The Rape of the Lock; Norman Mailer – The Naked and the Dead
25 Zadie Smith – White Teeth
26 Percy Shelley – Ozymandias; Thomas Mann – Buddenbrooks
27 Charles Dickens – Oliver Twist; TS Eliot – The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
28 Anton Chekhov – The Bear; Douglas Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
29 Franz Kafka – The Metamorphosis; William Wordsworth – The Two-Part Prelude
30 Flannery O’Connor – A Good Man is Hard to Find; Jack London – White Fang
31Edward Albee – The Sandbox; Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre
32 Herman Melville – Moby Dick; William Faulkner – The Sound and the Fury
33 Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
34 Edgar Allen Poe – The Tell-Tale Heart; Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
35 William Shakespeare – Julius Caesar; Calderon – Life is a Dream
36 Walt Whitman – Leaves of Grass; Charles Baudelaire – Les Fleurs du mal
37 Edgar Rice Burroughs – Tarzan of the Apes; Corneille – Cinna
38 Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Racine – Phedre
39 Boccaccio – The Decameron
40 James Joyce – Ulysses; Emile Zola – Nana
41 Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Ernest; Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace
42 Jorge Borges – The Garden of Forking Paths
43 Virginia Woolf – Mrs. Dalloway; Murasaki Shikibu – The Tale of Genji
44 Moliere – The Misanthrope; Lucretius – On the Nature of Things
45 Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness
46 Chaucer – The Canterbury Tales
47 Stendhal – The Red and the Black; Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse-Five
49 Euripides – Medea; Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
50 Virgil – Aenied; Matsuo Basho – Narrow Road to the Deep North
51 Ovid – Metamorphoses; Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel
53 George Eliot – Middlemarch
55 Dante – The Divine Comedy
56 Gustave Flaubert – Three Tales; Marcel Proust – In Search of Lost Time
59 Fyodor Dostoevsky – The Brothers Karamazov; John Milton – Paradise Lost
60 Victor Hugo – Les Miserables
65 Aeschylus – Oresteia
67 Cao Xueqin – Dream of the Red Chamber; George Bernard Shaw – Saint Joan
68 Cervantes – Don Quixote; Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels
73 La Fontaine – Fables
81 Alice Munro – Dear Life
83 Goethe – Faust

88 Sophocles – Philoctetes