Hi everybody! Happy Monday. I was truly shocked this weekend when I looked at a calendar and realized that Halloween is not this week. May your week be filled with such pleasant surprises as a whole extra week to enjoy October that you weren’t even expecting!
This week’s recommendations have absolutely no theme.
Justin Bieber, adult man
In light of the recent Bieber-Baldwin nuptials, I’ve been thinking about my favorite pieces of Bieber content, two separate profiles of him for GQ.
First off is Drew Magary’s profile of Bieber for his 18th birthday. The framing is definitely a bit odd, because we as a society are very weird about kid stars coming of age, but Magary is a hilarious writer and he’s ultimately sympathetic to the strange life of a teenage superstar. This profile is full of great details, like the dicks drawn all over Bieber’s studio that a sound engineer hastily erases when Magary arrives. But one main image has colored my perception of Bieber ever since: the description of him yelling “I’m 18 years old and I’m a swaggy adult!”
I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about that phrase in the intervening years. “I’m 18 years old, and I’m a swaggy adult!” A swaggy adult. I see pictures of him on his wedding day and wonder if he sighed contentedly and realized that he has truly reached swaggy adulthood. Or has he retired his use of the word swaggy? Did he sit down one day and say to himself “Justin, it’s time to get it together. No more egging the neighbor’s house. No more yelling ‘FUCK BILL CLINTON!’ on camera. And no more saying swaggy. You’re a grown man now and it’s time to put away childish things. You’ve found Jesus. You’re post-swaggy.”
The other great GQ profile came after the breakdown that was inevitable for a child star like Bieber. It was quite obvious from Magary’s piece that Bieber would rebel and snap one day, and in Caity Weaver’s profile four years later, Bieber is coming to terms with his post-swaggy adulthood. Weaver is also hilarious and one of the best celebrity profilers working right now, and she blessed me with an anecdote I think about even more often than I think about 18-year-old Bieber’s swaggy adult declaration: his recounting of the trip to Germany that resulted in his capuchin monkey getting seized by customs officials.
“Honestly, everyone told me not to bring the monkey. Everybody.”
He says this with such gravity that I burst out laughing. Bieber does not.
“Everyone told me not to bring the monkey. I was like, ‘It’s gonna be fine, guys!’ It was”—he shuts his eyes—“the farthest thing from fine.”
I simply love saying “It was —” here I shut my eyes — “the farthest thing from fine.” It is such a perfect, serious phrase to bring up when something spirals out of control, like a monkey confiscated by the German government. Did a baking project burn to a crisp? “I thought it was gonna be fine! It was….the farthest thing from fine.” Is a plan for the day getting too hairy? “This whole plan is… the farthest thing from fine.” I don’t do this bit often, because few people get it or would tolerate it if they did. But it is my own private delight.
A surprisingly fun read!
An oral history of those “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” ads may seem like it would be dry, but I found this (two-part!) deep dive full of fascinating details! I stumbled upon this piece while down a British actor rabbit hole wherein I learned that Apple released different versions of those ads in different markets. Did you know that? Did you know that John Hodgeman wasn’t even an actor at the time?? He was a just a writer who’d written a book and did an interview on The Daily Show to promote that book! And both The Daily Show and the Apple commercial casting team thought he’d be a star — and he was! Did you know that Jeffrey Tambor, Gillian Jacobs, Zach Galifinakis, and Paul F. Tomkins all filmed cameos for the commercials that never ended up airing? Did you know that Steve Jobs was a colossal asshole to everyone involved and made the entire process way more difficult than it needed to be? You probably knew that or could guess it.
I loved all the details here, about how they landed on the idea after seven months of brainstorming, how Justin Long struggled to play the Mac in a likable way, all the messages Chiat\Day was trying to send with these simple commercials, and how a massive fuckup by Microsoft extended the life of the ads by two years. And I had no idea Microsoft hired one of its own employees to stand in as a Hodgeman impersonator in clapback ads!
Rub ya face
This month I’ve been working a second job, so I’ve been running around a lot and working a lot of 16-hour days. I haven’t been getting the MOST sleep possible and it’s also cold and rainy a lot now, so as a result my face hasn’t felt great. Like, I’ve had sinus pressure and felt puffy around my eyes and a bit congested, all of which feels either actively painful or just very blah. And it makes me look like a worn-down little pufferfish.
So a nice solution has been this quick little self-massage tutorial from the Cut. It’s good for lymphatic drainage (gross), which has in turn helped make my face look more normal and not feel like someone blew up my head like a balloon. I can physically feel the pressure releasing when I do this, and it’s so soothing to do during downtime at work.
Feed ya skin
The best category of product is “cheap culty things that have been around forever and work really well.” That’s obviously better than “ludicrously expensive culty things that are newfangled and might work or might not,” which is how I would categorize most skincare options. I finally tried Weleda Skin Food and it really is that bitch. The original formula is called Ultra-Rich and they have a Light version too, but my skin is possibly the driest on planet Earth, I am a human shortbread cookie, so the Ultra-Rich formula is the one for me. I came home with my skin all angry and irritated one chilly night and smothered this over my face and woke up with bright, calm, smooth, moisturized skin. It’s somehow sensitive enough for my face but thick enough to work on my whole body? The name reminds me of that Goosebumps episode where the dad eats plant food but I can’t hold it against this miracle product.
This is my favorite comic of all time
Okay, bye, friends! Let this photo from Christina Hendricks’ goth high school days guide you through the last few weeks of spooky szn.