R.E.M. vinyl reissues
I have a soft spot for R.E.M.’s first sorta-greatest-hits collection, Eponymous, which collects (again, mostly) the hits from the band’s I.R.S. Records years. It was released not too long after Document, the record that introduced 13-year-old me to a band I’d love for a long time. It’s still, overall, my favorite period of the band’s existence, and it’s just been issued on vinyl for the first time in the U.S. since it originally came out. Along with it: the not-as-essential B-sides and rarities comp Dead Letter Office and the completely essential, maybe-their-best Lifes Rich Pageant. [Josh Modell]
We all know our shortcomings, and I am a horrible home organizer. My husband called my method of bill-paying “the stack,” which led to various piles of paper around the house. This only got worse after the kids started school and brought home about a ream of paper a week. Also, “hoarding” is a strong word, but I am one of those people who might find five bottles of yellow mustard in her refrigerator, a condiment I don’t even particularly like.
Who could help an organizational funnel cloud like me? Luckily, a friend turned me onto Thumbtack.com. Unlike wading through all the mania that is Craigslist, Thumbtack’s peacefully spare site doesn’t overwhelm you with lists and profiles, but makes it all about you, very quickly, asking, “What do you want?” “Organization!” “When do you want it?” “Now!” The site then got specific about what kind of organization: what rooms, papers, condiments, etc. I quickly received three bids for home organizers in my area, and was able to check out their references not only on the Thumbtack site, but also on Yelp, which made the selection process really easy. I wound up with an absolute angel for $50/hour. What she did for my house was actually worth 10 times that, especially as I was about to move after a decade in the same place. Thumbtack can also help connect you to professionals in categories other than “home,” like “lessons,” “wellness,” and “events.”
Now that I’ve moved, I realize that, again, I have many fine qualities, but I can make an entryway or a mantelpiece look like a fire sale in no time. I want to live in a staged photo from Dwell, and I’m more like in a “before” picture from Good Housekeeping. So I went back to Thumbtack for interior design help, and within a day received bids for everything from a snooty firm’s $395 consultation (thanks but no), to a very nice designer who came out to my house and said she could tweak it for less than that snooty firm’s consultation fee. She also suggested that I get some draperies made, so I suspect I will be hitting up Thumbtack again very soon. [Gwen Ihnat]
I recently sang the praises of Teen Titans Go! in an Inventory, so I won’t waste anyone’s time talking about how great that show is here (it’s super great). Instead, I want to talk about Teeny Titans, a mobile tie-in game that combines the whole Teen Titans Go! shtick with Pokémon and is somehow even better than that makes it sound. The setup is that a new toy craze is sweeping the world, and it involves collecting and battling little figurines based on various characters from the Teen Titans show. Playing as Robin, you—in proper Pokémon fashion—want to be the very best and catch ’em all, so you have to run around the city, winning tournaments, and completing little side quests to earn money that you can use to buy new toys. The battle system is clever and the humor is solid (Batman occasionally emails Robin to ask about how to work the DVR), but one of the best parts is that the developers at Grumpyface haven’t included any annoying in-app purchases. That means you only have to pay for it once, which is delightfully ironic when you consider that the whole game is about wasting money on toys. [Sam Barsanti]