Vegas Seven

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    Making Overtures

    By Geoff Carter

    I love film scores—enough to have written a chapter on them in the 2008 Time Out book, 1000 Songs to Change Your Life. (There are a few copies left on Amazon! Makes a great gift!) I like the way that film music takes on its own life and its own characteristics when stripped from its source, and the best composers of the stuff currently working—Alexandre Desplat, Michael Giacchino, Carter Burwell—slot nicely into iTunes playlists alongside Radiohead, Explosions in the Sky and other artists who merely sound like they’re scoring for films.

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    Broken Chains

    By Geoff Carter

    I would rather that Ghost Bikes the website didn’t exist. It’s not that I have anything against the page; it’s well-written and comprehensive. But it wouldn’t be here if not for the existence of ghost bikes, white-painted bicycles placed on city streets near where cyclists have been struck and killed. The Ghost Bikes site provides a global map of these memorials (including one in Las Vegas), a listing of cyclist-safety events (most of them appear to be in New York City) and, sadly, a necessary how-to guide for preparing and placing a ghost bike for a fallen rider.

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    I Pronounce Thee

    By Geoff Carter

    I don’t have a good way of explaining what makes Pronunciation Manual, a YouTube-based parody of the sexless and robotic pronunciation guides that afflict our online dictionaries, funny or useful in the slightest—other than to say “ty-wy-woo-ley-guh-hoodey.” According to the manual, that’s how you pronounce “twilight.” “Arianna Huffington” is “Nardo Fa-fa-fa-fa-fafa-fa.” “Schadenfreude” is “skooden frooty,” naturally. And the manual isn’t ashamed to tell you when it’s not sure about the correct way to say something, like “armoire.” (“You serious? Of course I know what it is.

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    Space Oddities

    By Geoff Carter

    With all the current interest in the Curiosity rover, the promise of new Star Wars movies and the looming end of the Long Count calendar, it’s only natural that our fancies should turn, once again, to outer space. There’s lots of, y’know, space out there—more than enough to contain our ever-expanding hubris. But how do we get there? Do we hit up Elon Musk? Do we put a lot of balloons on an Aeron chair? Do we go to the middle of the desert, put tinfoil on our heads and prepare for transport?

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    All The Right Movies

    By Geoff Carter

    I don’t often feature YouTube videos in this space, but this one is currently making the rounds and I love it too much not to slip it under your doormat. Jonathan Keogh has assembled a supercut featuring all of the films listed in the Internet Movie Database’s top 250—along with 53 more highly regarded movies, because why not—in a briskly paced 2-minute, 30-second montage.

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    Building Appreciation

    By Geoff Carter

    Truthfully, you should stop reading this right now and go see Amy Lee Finchem at COLAB at Art Square. She can explain the importance of architecture and landscape architecture better than I ever could. It’s my feeling that the reason many of us don’t like the look of the town we live in is because, prior to now, none of us had the education to tell good architecture from bad.

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    Girl, Interconnected

    By Geoff Carter

    Despite the fact that I write a column about websites, I have to confess that I understand technology only marginally less than I understand women, whom I understand not at all. That’s why Lisa Phillips is such a hero of mine. The roller-derby coach and software engineer—of Seattle’s Rat City Rollergirls and Twitter, respectively—writes knowingly on these topics, and many others, at Grrl.org.

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    Sounds Like Theme Spirit

    By Geoff Carter

    Look, you’re just going to have to accept that for as long as I’m doing this column, you’re going to get a Disneyland website every so often. I love the place the same way you love nightclubs, minus the Rohypnol. This time out, it’s Theme Park Audio Archives, a site that collects the soundtrack elements from Disneyland attractions both past and present, along with some tracks from other, lesser theme parks, like everything Disney has in Florida.

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    Folder, Manipulated

    By Geoff Carter

    Before many of you were born, there were two decades called the 1970s and the 1980s. These were dark times for teenagers, when phones were anchored to the wall, term papers couldn’t be cribbed from the Web and what passed for sexting had to be conducted through regular mail. And when these Polaroid-wielding, plagiarizing miscreants went to school, they didn’t go armed with MacBooks, but with Pee Chee folders—yellow cardboard folders adorned with fellow teenagers engaged in sport.

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    All Up In Your Facebook

    By Geoff Carter

    I appreciate you taking time away from your Facebook feed to read these words. Trust me, if I could, I’d be there myself right now—continually refreshing the page, looking for those reposted George Takei articles that give meaning to my daily life. But as it is with any untamed wasteland, Facebook has its dangers—some external (scammers and unscrupulous advertisers, ever trying to get control of my feed), and some internal (Mark Zuckerberg, ever trying to tighten his grip on our hearts and minds).

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    Flip Frig Frack

    By Geoff Carter

    A long time ago, in a Las Vegas far, far away from this one, James “Ask a Native” Reza and I sat in a conference room with the editor of the Las Vegas Weekly and defended the word “fuck,” which at that point would only appear in the magazine as an “F” with three asterisks—if it appeared at all. Reza and I had used the word thousands of times in the W***ly’s predecessor, Scope Magazine. It had appeared so often that it almost deserved a job description in Scope’s masthead.

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    AD IT UP

    By Geoff Carter

    This is why Don Draper drinks. It’s not because he’s living a lie; it’s not because he pushes away the people who try to get close to him; and it’s not even because of Pete Campbell, that sniveling little turd. No, the reason that Mad Men’s central character gets drunk several times daily is because he had to think of a hundred thousand different ways to sell needless things, and also because of Pete Campbell.

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    Bust-A-Gut Historical

    By Geoff Carter

    Whenever my life seems indistinguishable from shit, I pay a visit to Kate Beaton’s website, Hark! A Vagrant. I wouldn’t say the Canadian comic artist has a surefire way of cheering me up—many times, our encounters result in a draw—but her nuanced, simply-drawn cartoons, strongly reminiscent of the work of Jules Feiffer, do remind me that my forebears had it worse than I did.

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    Eff Yeah Rocket Science

    By Geoff Carter

    A little while back it landed a staggeringly advanced robot on another planet, captivated the notoriously fickle Internet and brought back the Mohawk haircut—but being a fast-forward culture that forgets things almost as quickly as they happen, it’s only natural that we should ask, “What the fuck has NASA done to make your life awesome?” Well, junior astronaut, it happens that there exists a website that goes by that exact name, and it answers the question by listing dozens of life-changing technologies pioneered by the space agency in the process of getting us, you know, off the plan

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    The Writing On The Wall

    By Geoff Carter

    Tumblr is not a place of quiet introspection. Most of the sites I’ve seen on the blogging service are picture-based and infantile. The superior Tumblr blogs, the ones I mention in this column, are still picture-based but clever, or infantile in an agreeable way. (Remind me to tell you about my Tumblr one of these days.) But Word Painting, a Tumblr curated by a “part-time writer” named TBV, goes hard against two of my preconceptions: It’s not infantile, and it’s not based on pictures.

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