• A few Twitter rules you might have missed

    If you have not yet signed up for Twitter (which, come on, get with it) or you are new to the social media platform, there are a few unspoken laws that you should know before delving into the confusing, entertaining and sometimes disturbing Twitterverse.

    1. Set a profile picture. You don’t want to put your friends in the awkward position of having to explain to you that they are too embarrassed to let your default Egg profile picture tarnish their “Following” list. Change it.

    2. Follow at least 200 people. This is a must, because, if you aren’t, your Twitter feed will be inundated by the 3 million updates that Huffington post tweets out every hour. If you refuse to follow 200 people because your Twitter is “too exclusive”, than see Tip #6 about creating lists.

    3. Although you may feel obligated to return the favor to every new follower, don’t. Only follow them back if you know them or care to see their content. If you have never heard of them before or their Twitter handle reads like a bad porn star pseudonym, they are probably follower fishing. 

    4. Although favoriting a Twitter message is a nice way to show appreciation towards a fellow Twitter user, retweeting is what the people want. Just remember, favoriting is to retweeting what side-hugs are to getting hot and heavy in the back of your 1993 Hyundai. 

    5. Connecting your Instagram to your Twitter account allows you to tweet your pictures directly from your Instagram app, which is convenient. This said, you are required to open a separate webpage to view the photo, and unless you are a) the president, b) the Pope, or c) Ryan Gosling, I will not expend the effort. #sorrynotsorry

    6. Twitter lists are great. Although they were intended to allow users to categorize who they follow by similar Twitter messages or interests, they are actually used to categorize who you follow into people you knew from high school, news outlets, that guy you met one time at a networking event, pity follows, and the 10 people you actually care about. 

    7. If you learn only one thing from me, let it be that Twitter is ultimately nothing more than a huge room full of opinionated people speaking in 140 character bursts without caring if there is anyone paying attention on the other side, so you might as well make your Twitter whatever you want it to be. This could be political rants, live tweeting sports, or your favorite L0Lz Catz. You do you.

  • "The Haunting" scares us silly

    For movie buffs, the month of October means one thing: 31 days of horror movies. With tons of horror flicks to choose from, The Daily Texan is going to be providing a daily horror recommendation. Whether you prefer ghosts, zombies or stark explorations of the human condition, we’ll be featuring horror films of all flavors. Check back every evening for the movie of the day. Today, we go all the way back to 1963 for “The Haunting.” 

    One has to wonder about extracurricular activities in the afterlife. Don’t ghosts have better things to do with their time than spook the living? Is there a spectral version of Doodle Jump that they can play on their non-corporeal iPhones or ghastly lakes where they can spend their weekends with their post-life friends?

    My theory? Haunted houses are like the apparition version of Sixth Street. It’s not that these poltergeists want to scare us, it’s just that that’s how they get when they’re drunk — off of spirits, naturally. Stumbling around, making loud noises while people try to sleep, knocking things over, slamming doors and mumbling things that don’t make a whole lot of sense — as far as I can tell, the only difference between them and my freshman year roommate is that the latter was still around in the morning.

    Hill House, the focus of Robert Wise’s “The Haunting,” would occupy a prime spot on the Dirty Sixth of the ghostly world, but none of the characters in the movie bother to entertain my hypothesis. Then again, they aren’t particularly good scientists. 

    Devoid of any tools to collect data, the primary investigator (Richard Johnson) enlists the help of two attractive young women — a not-so-subtly-sapphic psychic (Claire Bloom) and our mentally unstable protagonist (Julie Harris) — and the man set to inherit the estate (Russ Tamblyn) to look into the mysterious goings-on. It goes without saying that whatever skepticism the characters express at the beginning of the movie disappears before the curtain closes.

    This is silly stuff, often bordering on very silly, especially with Harris’ overdramatic performance, but it’s also often effective, largely because of the movie’s ability to take it seriously. Wise’s use of the camera is restrained for the most part, but tends toward crazy angles and unusual lenses in the scary moments. Even during the terrifying bits, though, the focus is always on what we don’t see rather than what we do, and the black and white cinematography adds atmosphere to a movie that would look very dated if it had been filmed in color.

    The scariest moments in horror movies are never those when the killer finally strikes, but are instead the moments leading up to the inevitable explosion of terror. “The Haunting” knows this. Objectively, not a whole lot happens during the movie, and the plot never departs from the traditional haunted house storyline, but this is less about story than it is about individual moments, such as one involving a closed door looking like it’s about to burst open or another where a character ascends a staircase that’s on the verge of toppling over.

    When the movie ends, it’s easy to laugh it off. We say we knew who was going to survive and who wasn’t, but that’s not really the point, is it? When we first sit down on a roller coaster, we know we’re going to make it through the ride okay, but during that first drop, we have our doubts.

    And it’s fun to be scared, especially when it’s safe, and none of these ghosts meant any harm. They were just trying to have a good time, had a little too much to drink and things went a little crazy. In other words, “The Haunting” isn’t just an effective horror movie; it’s also a powerful reminder to drink responsibly, in this life or any other you may find yourself in.

  • Are we over the Kardashians?

    From the looks of it, America is done keeping up with the Kardashians.

    On the heels of Tuesday’s announcement that Kris Jenner and her husband of 22 years, Bruce Jenner, have separated, the modern-day Brady bunch received news that could lead to the demise of their multi-million dollar empire.

    Sunday’s episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” received 1.79 million viewers, the lowest in the show's eight-season history, according to Entertainment Tonight and a news report by Radar Online.

    For loyal viewers of the reality show the Jenners' split comes as no surprise. For eight years we have seen the Kardashian matriarch treat her former Olympic champion husband with very little respect. In several episodes of the once popular reality show Kris Jenner goes behind Bruce Jenner's back and often leaves him out of major family decisions. A tell-tale sign of trouble ahead.

    In the midst of the Jenner turmoil, the youngest Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian Odom, has been having marital troubles of her own.

    After four years of marriage to NBA all-star Lamar Odom, multiple sources have confirmed to People magazine that a split for the couple seems “unavoidable.”

    Odom, who was arrested for a DUI in August, recently revealed his troubles with substance abuse, a problem he has had for several years, according to People magazine.

    The Clippers player completed a one-day stint in rehab and has kept a low public profile.

    The NBA player violated NBA drug policies twice in 2001, and spoke of his marijuana use in 2003, People magazine said.

    With the pressure of fame, a famous family and a career it seems like it is hard for the Kardashians to maintain strong relationships. In fact, the relationship with their home network E! might soon be coming to an end.

    “When Kendra Wilkinson's show dropped below 1 million viewers they dropped it, so the Kardashian reality show is definitely in trouble,” the Radar Online article said.

    While we continue to see new reports about their rocky romances and track the low viewer ratings, we have to wonder if America’s infatuation with the Kardashian clan is quickly crumbling.

  • Lunchtime links

    Here's a collection of links from across the cultural spectrum to distract you during your lunch hour(s). 

    This kid is the SADDEST about the government shutdown. 

    Here are the posters for Lars von Trier's new movie "Nymphomaniac." Warning: Willem Dafoe's fake (or not?) orgasm face is included here. 

    Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature this morning. Yay Munro! 

    Malala Yousafzai is the coolest, and here she is on Jon Stewart.