I’ve never had an iPhone, but at one time, before it was stolen, I had an iPod Touch, and it allowed me to pretty much do anything I wanted except hold it up to my ear and talk into it (which was fine because it hasn’t yet been disproven that cellphone usage causes brain, mouth, or ear cancer.) So, I get it. I get the Apple obsession. I understand the shock and awe that comes with every unbelievable, but widely available application; the ones that make you go, “Why didn’t I think of that first?” *slap to the forehead*

Hey Steve Jobs, you’re telling me I can actually download a “Sex Position Of The Day” app? Have it at my dirty (not literally) little fingertips? Learn the “G-Spot Jiggy” on my way to work? Practice the “Rock-A-Bye Booty” before I call it a night? Genius! It just makes sense.

But this, this new application, not so much.

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Swedish mobile software firm The Astonishing Tribe, who I’m begging stay far away from me and my American phone, is taking information overload to the next level. Popsci called this level “logical,” I call it dumb or just “really, really, scary.” And they’ve labeled it “augmented identity,” which is just a concise and severely veiled way of saying “Stalking Made Easy.”

Dubbed the – wait for it – Recognizr, the app essentially works like this: the user points the camera at a person across the room (like at a party, filled with strangers, who your mother always told you not to accept candy from. Or inappropriate advances. Whatever, at this point, they’re one and the same.)

The face recognition software creates a 3-D model of the person’s features and sends it across a server where it’s matched with an identity. A “cloud server” conducts the facial recognition and sends back the subject’s name.

Wait, what? Now, a guy who I’ve never met knows me by name – government, no alias. He can beckon me from across a room and, because of my terrible eyesight, I’ll oblige and won’t realize that I do not know this psycho until I’m about a foot away. And by that time, it’ll be too late; horror movies have proven this.

And not only does the Recognizr provide a name, but it sends the requester links to any social networking sites the person is a member of. So, I can get a friend request, hit, message, invite, phone call, thorough itinerary of how said stalker plans to hurt me, etc. on a daily basis? When did that become okay?

I get the obsession to be alert and aware, too; to connect and make contacts. Believe me, I do. I’ve rudely trackballed and text mid-conversation with important people many times. But, the Astonishing Tribe, with all it’s drive to be cutting edge and innovative, may be on the brink of a serious backlash.

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So, Tiger Woods came out of hiding today and apologized for cheating on his wife, and snatching back the hope he once gave to millions of ill-fated kids and, most importantly, made sure to completely denounce the claim made by media (is that me?) that he took performance-enhancing drugs…because nothing, he tells us, nothing contributed more to his sick addiction than he, himself. Good job, Tiger? And then he cried, but no tears came out. Having said that, his “I’m Sorry” didn’t suck. Too much. And in honor of that, I’ve decided not to write anything original – after all, Tiger’s done inspiring us children! – and instead, will repost an article I wrote way back in July when Chris Brown was who we hated the most. Here ’tis:

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On Monday, Chris Brown issued the long-awaited, yet completely anti-climactic, apology to ex-girlfriend Rihanna. The two-minute video did nothing if not prove that a mock neck looks good on no one but a man of God (Coincidence? I think not!) and that the boy can read from a cue-card like no other singer-turned-actor. In lieu of his botched attempt at exuding sincerity and regret, GIANT gives you the guide to Celebrities and the Art of the Public Apology.

Rule No. 1: Sing a Song
Like Akon. In April 2007, during a performance in Trinidad, Akon told the audience that he was going to have a dance off, and the winning young woman would receive a trip to Africa. The problem? “Africa” is the pet name for his junk, and the recipient of all the simulated sex (see: dry-humping) was a 14-year-old.

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So, he did what any self-respecting singer would do. He released a song entitled “Blame It On Me,” but instead, pointed the finger at everyone else.

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Peeing my pants.

I had no idea Vampire Weekend (mentioned them before) was releasing “Giving Up The Gun.” Lucky Friday I’m having, I guess. My lucky Friday’s usually just consist of failed attempts at debauchery, so this, this is grand. And takes no effort of my own! So, make that a Lazy Friday, too. Hm. That sounds like the name of an alcoholic beverage. *stares off into distance* Aaand we’re back to square one (i.e. five sentences ago).

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I took a slight mini teensy-weensy detour from doing actual work at my job today and discovered that my favorite feel-good song on their “Contra” album (nope, “Cousins” didn’t do it for me) had some visuals to go along with it.

And those visuals consisted of RZA (all up in the video acting like the “Tao of Wu” advisor he thinks he is in real life), Lil’ Jon (paying his dues back to the band for mentioning his name in their breakout single “Oxford Comma”), Jake Gyllenhaal and a Jonas Brother. Seems like the type of hallucination you’d see after having one too many Lazy Friday’s. *full circle*

Lead singer Ezra Koenig felt the need to explain himself – “‘Giving Up the Gun’ just means turning your back on aggression and selfishness. The heroine of the video isn’t an amazing tennis player, but she has heart. She stays calm despite the unfairness of it all.” – which now just makes the song seem a bit too Kumbaya.

After all, you probably could’ve picked that vibe up from the lyrics:

Your sword’s grown old and rusty / Burnt beneath the rising sun. / It’s locked up like a trophy / Forgetting all the things it’s done. / And though it’s been a long time / You’re right back where you started from / I see it in your eyes / That now you’re giving up the gun.

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Dessa’s video for “Dixon’s Girl” is equal parts intriguing and uncomfortable. Like, I cringed when, 40 seconds in, she suddenly began to speed up her singing, therefore – oh no – turning it into rap…? Is that what this is? I just wasn’t ready.

And then I became disturbed with all the masks and pig heads, but I think that’s because the images reference classic(?) movies I have yet to see – “Clockwork Orange” and “Donnie Darko” – so I don’t get the creative genius behind it.

After I shrugged all that off though, then I became intrigued. But you can’t explain cross-genre music unless, of course, you call it just that. (As a writer, I hoped I’d be more adept with words but, turns out, I isn’t.) So, I Googled her because Bing will never catch on, and found out

1) she’s a spoken-word artist (which makes me feel better! because it explains the flow)

2) she was/is the leader of the a cappella group Boy Sopranos (no boys, one soprano – hah! means she’s ironic; ‘nother thumbs up)

and 3) she’s the sole female member of Doomtree, the Minneapolis hip-hop collective that sets out “to create some of the most forward-thinking beats and rhymes this side of 1987” (and I was born in 1986! So that means I’m just in time. Or something).

I’ve never asked to hear spoken word over 30’s jazz, but the result was pleasing. And now, I can’t stop listening.

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I would have thoroughly enjoyed Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” video that debuted today (see it below)…had I not seen it three years ago (see even further below).

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Originator, none greater, is that you?

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#imjustsayin.

it’s still fire though.

I’m such a sap.

Viktor & Rolf Chop It Up

February 6, 2010

Rihanna thinks she soooo cool with her trendsetting self, but yet she went and chose the safest peices of the bunch from Viktor & Rolf’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection. So boring, RiRi.

Take it from a pro and listen: When I walk down the street, I want people to immediately assume my clothes have been attacked by termites. Maybe a woodpecker. And definitely a hack saw.

You, though? Fashion fail. If you’re trying to get on anybody’s radar this year – anybody that matters – you’re gonna have to step it up. Seriously. I don’t think we saw enough of you in 2009.

*sigh* Amazing. I definitely need to start taking some sort of hallucinogen.

Vanity Fair To Who?

February 6, 2010

I know I’m late on this – and by late, I mean that the cover was just effing released this week and I already feel that by writing about it, I’m making points someone somewhere has already proudly and originally made – but that’s the (*through clenched teeth*) beauty of the internet, right? Be nimble, be quick.

Anyway, Vanity Fair debuted it’s Hollywood 2010 issue and everyone’s up in arms that there are no women of color being honored this year. Which makes sense. But I’m not surprised. And I don’t think you should be, either. (This is where I start to play Devil’s Advocate to avoid being redundant.)

Everyone’s wondering where the hell Gabourey Sidibe from “Precious” is but, be honest, had they done that, people would now be complaining about something entirely different. When placed side-by-side with Hollywood’s size zero’s whose, as seen above, calves seem to be the same size as their ankles, someone would begin to wonder aloud if Sidibe was silently being made a mockery of, being built up just to be knocked down. And then everyone within earshot would’ve nodded and grabbed a soap box to stand on top of. And then asked to be handed a bullhorn.

That’s not to say she doesn’t deserve a coveted spot. She absolutely does; so does Zoe Saldana, but she’s already appeared once (so stop sucking your teeth, see it below) and apparently, as history has shown, you can only be a Hollywood “It” Girl multiple times if you’re white.* (Kidman, Danes, Paltrow, Moore, Thurman, Dunst, Connelly and Watts have all appeared twice, while Winslet, Blanchett and Johansson have covered the issue three times.)

*Well, damn, Cruz and Dawson disproved that statement, but still?!

Let’s take a look back:

1995 - “HOLLYWOOD HIGHEST—THE CLASS OF 2000” Jennifer Jason Leigh, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, Patricia Arquette, Linda Fiorentino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianne Moore, Angela Bassett, Sandra Bullock.

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Tennis champ Serena Williams posed for Vibe magazine this month and her body looks a little different than usual.

We’ve seen this happen before. Women celebrities often fall victim to evil Photoshop culprits who, using digital tools (and their own personal preference apparently), can alter every body-type and blemish that grace the pages of magazines and websites.

A few months ago, we saw Kourtney Kardashian, only six weeks after her son was born appear on the cover of OK! Magazine – without her consent. Headlines promised readers all the “hunger-free” “diet secrets” to losing her “baby weight” and, in a clear display of false advertising, used a slimmed-down figure of the new mom to “prove” it. But that image came courtesy of Photoshop. And Kourtney made sure to clear her name of the magazine’s mess.

Why, though? Shouldn’t women be thrilled at the sight of their new-and-improved body – belly bulge, stretchmarks, and cellulite be-gone? Not necessarily, because “improved” implies we were worse off before, not good enough, and in need of some serious rehabilitation. And as much as those editors think they’re doing women a favor, what they’re really doing is putting unwanted pressure on us, both celebrity and non. And that’s on top of what we may have already self inflicted.

(OK! even claimed Kardashian only gained 25 pounds during her pregnancy, when she’d really gained 40. There’s nothing quite like a well-documented piece, sold nationally, to remind you that you’ve actually got 15 extra pounds to lose before the world is ready to accept you again.)

Now, we know that Serena Williams isn’t pregnant, but why did VIBE magazine feel the need to slenderize her hard-earned tennis champion-made body?

For someone whose muscles have assisted in her becoming a record-breaking player (for both African-Americans and women), why would editors be ashamed or uncomfortable in displaying them as such? In all their award-winning glory?

Is it because solid isn’t synonymous with “sex-symbol”? (After all, she is rocking the “Single Ladies” ‘do, first seen on Beyonce, who is, inarguably, the people’s choice for “ultimate” woman – must be all the curves, class, and sass).

But at what point, does strength become less attractive and more intimidating?

It seems that when it comes to being a woman living in the public eye, there are a few stipulations: always appear womanly, but not matronly. And make sure to be strong, but not physically.

Women AND men, which body do you prefer on Serena? The all-natural or the sleek, slender, and soft? And why?

Or at least, they shouldn’t.

As bad as my Spanish is – and believe me “not fluent” is like an understatement – I don’t think I’ll ever feel such the strong need to overcompensate (and prove my Boricua-ness) that I buy this hoodie. Nope, not me. Not for a penny. And not for $413, either – which is what Dolce & Gabbana actually priced it at.

Because you know what I can get with that kind of money?

Rosetta Stone. Both the Latin America and Spain editions.

And I’ve got an inkling that that will assist in being a bit more convincing than this ass-pink sweater.

Quote me.