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Looking At Nice Teapots To Calm My Unending Dread

Read to the end for a truly harrowing TikTok

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First, Check Out This Damn Teapot

Has anyone else in the later stages of quarantine found themselves dreamily looking at photos of tiny homes and videos of rainstorms? I’m non-ironically even enjoying looking at those WeHeartIt/A Softer World-style 2011-era photos of big unmade beds surrounded by Christmas lights. I suppose the need for cozy content is because of, you know, the trauma of our current existence.

Well, if you’re looking for something soothing, I highly recommend this Chinese teapot video. It’s gone viral this week across every feed I have.

I first came across it on this Chinese culture Tumblr. It’s also made its way around Reddit. I was curious about where it came from. It’s credited as “承启 建水紫陶” which seems to translate to “Jian Shui Purple Pottery,” which, sure enough, brought me to a few Weibo posts with the same video, as well as a couple suppliers for similar looking teapots! (If I am totally off base here, please email me.)

As for the kind of calming pour you’re seeing at the end of the video, that is called laminar flow — basically due to hitting the right velocity, fluid particles move in a smooth and orderly path. It’s one of two types of flow in fluid dynamics, the other being turbulent flow. (One again, if I’m wrong, let me know.) It turns out there is a VERY passionate laminar flow enthusiast community on Reddit and YouTube. Although, perhaps more interestingly, there appears to be an equally passionate rival fandom for turbulent flow.

Trying To Figure Out Why Everyone Is Dunking On The Balloon Guy

The other day I noticed everyone was talking about how much the Balloon Guy sucks and sharing stories about how he had blocked them on Twitter. I want to be clear, Balloon Guy does absolutely suck. I just couldn’t figure out why everyone decided to come for him at the same time. Although, like suddenly needing extremely comfy content, I’ve also noticed that social media platforms are beginning to just lash out at random stuff, seemingly out of nowhere. So perhaps this is also an effect of the trauma.

Best I can tell, everything started when Michael James Schneider, or “Balloon Guy,” decided to make a new balloon wall photo thing with a quote from a tweet by Twitter user @dozyhrs, who appears to be a fan account for the anime Bleach? This whole this is very odd.

Schneider is a 46-year-old artist from Portland. His whole shtick is this really specific mix of Ellen Show-optimized Gen Xer scold content mixed with extremely Caucasian LinkedIn hustle bro aphorisms all wrapped up in a give-me-a-book-deal Instagram art aesthetic. His photos and viral stunts are seemingly meant to comment on the commercialization and frivolity of online content, but have a screaming desperation to them. He’s a one-man sponsored flash mob. A DIY Wieden+Kennedy content factory. A white guy living in Portland with hipster glasses telling you to check your white privilege. His Instagram account is so performatively liberal that it looks like something a Russian chaos agent would dream up to red pill American teenagers into joining boogaloo groups.

Best I can tell, this particular balloon wall about how having a crush is a form of mental illness was the last straw for A LOT of people. Schneider limits who can reply to his tweets, so all the action is happening in the quote tweets. My favorite take is from Twitter user @YakovPettersson:

The pile on was pretty brutal and apparently Balloon Guy is both a big fan of blocking people on Twitter and does NOT like being made fun of. Weird that he takes himself so seriously when his entire brand is being patronizing and condescending to everyone else online.

Unfortunately, there’s no end to Balloon Guy’s story really. He’s just going to keep making balloons and standing in front of walls and occasionally forcing flight attendants to do weird photo shoots with him in planes. But it is nice to know we can all come together every few months and tell him he sucks. Also, if you’re looking for something fun to do today, Twitter user @GuamHat built a fake balloon guy generator.

The Story Behind The Bald Raving GIF

Chances are, in your various internet travels, you‘ve come across this GIF of a bald guy absolutely on one at a rave. The clip comes from a 2014 promo for a UK nightclub called Bounce By The Ounce. Fun UK fact for you, the jaw-grinding thing he’s doing in the clip is commonly referred to by Brits as “gurning.” Anyways, Bald Raving Guy’s real name is Shaun Jackson and he was interviewed by the British music podcast Flexxed TV last year. The interview seems like it was largely slept on until Flexxed TV uploaded a clip of it to their TikTok this week.

I’ll be honest, even after living in the UK for four years, I really struggled to understand about 80% of the interview. The northern accents in it are very thick. Around the 11-minute mark, though, Jackson does recreate his famous dance move and goes into more details about what exactly the infamous night was like.

There’s something actually inspiring about seeing this guy years later. It seems like he’s doing well and has a good sense of humor about the whole thing. And you know, if Shaun Jackson can survive a night eccied out his nut at Bounce By The Ounce, we can survive anything. Also lol his Instagram is wild.

Yet Another Tumblr User Who Saw The Future

I’ve written before about the Tumblr users who, between 2014 and 2017, seemed to glimpse the way society would work in the future and chose to put those premonitions on their blogs instead of warning the world. Courtesy of the internet archeology blog Heritage Posts, it seems like we’ve discovered another one. User leviathan-supersystem wrote this post in April 2015. It feels like a gut punch reading it now. Like a dust-covered tome found in the remnants of a demolished library warning of a great coming cataclysm.

Today’s The Sixth Anniversary Of Him Doing It To Us

Six years ago, a young man known as Lucky Luciano walked out on the sidewalk in a neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, clasped his hands together and did it to us, changing the world forever. I have had a surprising amount of in-depth conversations with people about why this photo is so funny, but the thing I always come back to is the sock tan. There’s something almost poetic about it.

I went over to Lucky’s Instagram to see what he’s been up to and it doesn’t look like he’s posted anything since July, but in one of his last posts, he’s wearing a My Hero Academia shirt, which is extremely interesting to me personally. My friend Ellie is a big You Know I Had To Do It To Em meme fan. She sent me this good one a few months ago.

Thinking About Robert Paddington

(FYI this photoshop is actually a colorization of a scene from The Lighthouse that Twitter user @nikc_is_sad did back in 2019.)

Here’s A Really Cool Instagram Project

I’ve seen a few accounts over the years try and use Instagram for comics or long-form storytelling with mixed results. Even though Instagram is a super visual medium, it doesn’t really lend itself to proper narrative building because your content will always appear in your followers’ feeds in whichever way the algorithm wants it to. The livinthefuture account though is a super clever way to do it!

I came across it on Tumblr and the idea is really sharp. It’s “run” by a girl named Liv who gets pulled through a portal into the year 3000. The story unfolds via Liv’s Instagram updates. The art is gorgeous and the story is really cute.

Here’s Why You Should Think About Hashtags When Naming Your Video Game

Last year, The Pokémon Company released Pokémon Masters. It’s a mobile game where you team up with trainers and gym leaders from across the franchise and battle. The fandom was lukewarm about the game when it was first released, but I hear it’s surprisingly good! To celebrate the one year anniversary of Pokémon Masters, The Pokémon Company has rebranded the game under a new name: Pokémon Masters Ex. And here in lies in the problem. When they announced the new name, they used the hashtag #PokemonMastersEx.

And Twitter does not differentiate between upper- and lowercase letters in hashtags. Uh oh! #pokemonmastersex is now one of the top trending topics in the world. The hashtag is FULL of porn. Like hardcore Pokémon hentai.

Welp, hope everyone has learned their lesson!

P.S. here’s a truly harrowing TikTok.

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