Peaked: Stuff

These unwanted toys want you to stop your stuff addiction
These unwanted toys from a trash island floating in the North Pole want you to stop your stuff addiction … and kill Santa.

While it’s been happening for a while, people are starting to finally feel the hurt from the sheer amount of stuff we’ve created. The definition of the word itself is worth noting.

Stuff (noun)  – the material of which anything is made.

Given in that context, stuff has this building-block-of-the-cosmos ring to it. I like to think stuff is some kind of base element which can be reformed to make anything. When to need to refer to anything, you can use the word stuff. “Hey get your stuff out of my house!” or “I have the stuff, do you have the money?” Now, unless you believe in creatio ex nihilo, stuff is a perquisite for existence. According to Carl Sagan, “we are star stuff” which is a noble way to look at it and we’re currently up to our armpits with all our star stuff.

Sure, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and laws banning plastic bags for single item purchases are important examples of too much stuff but HWTNXT is all about making the obscure relevant so here are other ways to look at the stuff-splosion.

The rapid rise of self storage – According to the Self Storage Association,”Some 65% of all self storage renters have a garage but still rent a unit; 47% have an attic in their home; and 33% have a basement.” Many people just walk away, leaving their stuff to star in “reality” television.

On average, English kids own 238 toys but only play with 12 daily. That’s 5%! Now we know the secret truth about the origin of the heartbreaking and dysfunctional “Island of misfit toys” from the classic Rankin/Bass Rudolf television show. BTW, I’m the jelly shooting squirt gun!

How2HAWT: So what to do about this? Well, thankfully the Swedish have a good idea, it’s kind of an anti-Ikea idea,  Start repairing stuff.  In his misguided 1932 stuff-ifesto “Ending the Depression through Planned Obsolescence“, Bernard London advocates for making stuff cheaply to save ourselves. It lead to a institutionalization of disposability and the tragic death of the fix-it-men. Case in point, my Fisher / Paykel dual drawer dishwasher. I have steadfastly refused to allow this thing to give into it’s makers idiocy of design and potentially despicable intentional failures. I’m proud to claim that I’ve repaired or replaced every internal component of this Kiwi beast. I have accepted the greasy mantle of fix-it-man and I will not allow my dishwasher to be a testimony to the discardable.

 So DO YOUR PART! Grab those tools, set up a workbench, toss that lamp up on it and start fixing it. Thats HAWT!

Rearing Up: Centauring It!

Serene and volatile, You too can Centaur this.
Serene and volatile, You too can Centaur this.

Perviously HWTNXT:HipsterTrends has advocated for animal proxies to become the standard bearers for the “nxt-of-times.” But, now, charging forward through the pillowy myths of time, comes the perfect totemic symbol for today, the Centaur! At once brash and barbarian, then pivoting to be wise and sensitive, the centaur is the perfect anthropomorphized icon for our troubled times. Think of being a centaur like having a super brash and “transbeast” way to respond to any challenge in life. Half human half horse, all business! Probably why the epicenter of interest is the Ukraine.

Not just the uncouth partiers of Percy Jackson, centaurs have come to represent the internal clash between our base instincts and cultured sensibilities, fertile stomping ground for a cutting edge hawtster like you. With the recent discovery of a habitable Earth like planet around Proxima Centauri, our nearest stellar neighbor only 4 light years away, the time of the the centaur has arrived.

How-to Hawt: When Bobertta (your ineffectual human manageress) decides it’s time for a punitive “performance review”, don’t cower under your cubicle tangled in ethernet and mouse cables in sweaty heaving, NO! Stand immediately forcefully shoving your throne ( ill fitting and inanely named task chair from Sweden ) back – allowing it to roll into Seth’s cubie across the way with authority. Then, reaching spread eagled with fingers out, take a chest exploding deep breath, stomp a nubby toe-boxed keens loafer down, SNORT and exclaim, “By the daughters of the Lapithae, it is time!” With a hearty whinny-laugh, do your best Churchill Downs pre-race clopping down the hallway to her office. Glance about as if you are returning from a battle. As centaurs always have one raised eyebrow, change them frequently during the review. Centaurs luxuriate in their chest hair, even female Centaurs, so don’t hold back, a medical grade comb can accentuate this. A true centaur would remember that this is their performance review, not the manager’s, so own it and know you’re HAWT!

Emerging: Shaking with both hands

hipsterhandshakeBro hugs are deader than Jean Stapleton, let’s pretend fist mashing never happened, and until the old-school gimme-five comes back, shaking with both hands (also known as a “two-shake” or a “bo’ shake”) is the social embrace of the moment. It begins life as your basic shake, but becomes almost self-aware with the addition of the second hand to the back of the shakee’s already-being-shook hand, usually a full second after the handshake has been originated. The result of this clasp is an additional degree of sincerity that, combined with solid eye-contact, let’s everyone know that you’re coming from a place that is equal parts deep and real, and still assures everyone you are not carrying a dagger up your sleeve (even if it’s just for eating with). This maneuver is delicate and has so many layers of meaning that we felt it was important to make our first howto video. So, please sit back and enjoy! You are officially lame if you dont go out immediately and try this at once. Notice that it’s not done correctly unless both participants emerge from the moment with a heightened sense of awkwardness and fragility which must be overcome with platitudes and small talk.

We’re also keeping our eye on the single-handsake/tricep squeeze lockup, but it’s not quite there yet.

Trending Up: Turning Everything into a Frickin Game

pawn
We’re all just pawns

They call it “Gamiification“, and if you ask your MBA buddy Theo, that means “the application of game methods and elements to traditionally non-game activities.” You know it as the progress bar on your favorite professional connections website, or getting a digital badge for making digital badges.

Gamifiication is fire bolt hot right now. Go to any uber-borg CRM conference and mention Gamification and they’ll give you a fist full of drink tickets and let you party with Green Day. The root of it is that hipsters don’t mind working if they can pretend it’s actually playing. How else would you be interested in getting more “fit” unless you were also actually, and by actually we mean virtually, doing a cholesterol destroying trek on the great wall of China? This all dovetails with the hipster-illennial desire to have everything be super-epic-awesome. Nothing says “I’m a warrior hero” like total dominance of the terrifying “Quest to Print Only Double Sided Paper / Attack of the Ink Goblins” scenario that the printer admin in IT (the one who wears a utili-kilt) came up with to encourage workers to print less. You can beam with glory when he perches the Yoda plush toy on your cubicle wall and, handing you a can of unicorn meat, proclaims “Savior of the Trees you are!”

So to bring this to the next level, which you LIVE for, go find a copy of Milton Bradley’s The Game of Life. One from the 70’s will be at the next estate sale you hit up this Sunday (half price because it’s under $50) when you’re out with Cedric and Jasmine. Now it’s time to get all artsy-crafty. Change EVERYTHING to represent your co-workers and office situations. Re-write all the event cards to be about the most uncomfortable office politics you can imagine. Faithfully recreate the ups and downs of work day in your collab. Make it AS TRUE AS POSSIBLE, this is going to have to hurt or the irony of playing Life, about work, at work just wont be bittersweet enough. Now, at Monday morning’s needless scrum, reach into your re-purposed blue plastic Ikea tote – now messenger bag – and throw down your “The Game of Work.” Your friends will love this. At first they’ll see the little 3D playing pieces (made from re-purposed tiny cheese wax) and coo … “Cute” and “Hey you got my handlebar mustache just right!” (they wont even get the waxed mustache made of wax subtleties but that’s okay, some irony is best left to enjoy alone, in silence) … then start playing. Each person gets one turn every half an hour … this way it kind of folds into the day. Watch as things get really tense as Life-Work-Game all blend into a tepid tapioca of reality and illusion. Award “workpoints” for mundane stuff like answering emails and cleaning the tea pot. Everyone will go home engaged and confused, laying in their futons at night, strategizing on how to win at the game of their life, at work. You will love this.

Trending Up: Workplace Historical Recreations

hipster at work
Bored because you have to work? Spice it up!

When you, as all self respecting hipsters do, live at work and work at life, hobby time and professional time start to blend. NHT says embrace the blurred lines and we’re here to help you take it to the next level. Taking a break to thwart the zombie apocalypse with your nerf weapon is so old, even your manager has a high capacity rotary nerf gatling gun collecting dust next to his copy of “Leading Geeks“. Gaming at work is too much like work when you work making games… what’s a hipster to do? We say it’s time for workplace historical recreations! Warm up by getting out the robin hood costume you wore to the renfest last summer. Nothing commands attention at an HR meeting like a guy in tights. Toss an odd “Huazzah!” or “Well Met!” in during a marketing presentation with clients. But this codpiece wearing is only the pre-game stretching.

Hipsters are nothing if not ironic observation purists, all humor must also have a bitter poignancy or else it’s just a glorified knock knock joke, right? Imagine the bemused horror from the other millennials on your scrum team when you dump accelerant on the beanbag chair in the corner of the CoLab and, striking a match, you yell “Triangle Factory Fire!” They wont even notice you are dressed like a 12 year old 1911 New York Tenement girl** as you are throwing the bolts on the exit doors closed. After the sprinklers have stopped and you’ve wiped your forehead with the back of your hand to leave a finely crafted soot smudge (use mascara), turn to face your angered Colab-orators and give an impassioned and memorized declamation club style monologue from “The Triangle Factory Fire Project” by Piehler and Evans. In 5 minutes you’ll have applause, admiration and they’ll understand when you show up with applique pustules for “Bubonic Plague Day” next week. You might even get them to help by tossing your playing dead corpse on the sidewalk for lunchtime collection during the “bring out your dead” game.

**NHT Does NOT endorse or support Child Labor