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Shorts That Don't Suck, Vol. III: Arty Edition

For those of you who've been waiting breathlessly for my third installment of "Shorts" (the first two are here and here), sorry it's been so long! (It takes us awhile to find enough non-sucky shorts to fill a whole post!) This time we'll be featuring films of a different breed: a foreign film, some music-based work and some concentrated weirdness by David Lynch, all of which is awesome.

And hey, before we get started (speaking of awesome!), I wanted to draw your attention to the still above: it's a sneak-preview of the eponymous, geeky hero from my latest in-the-works floss short! Why am I so excited? Because it's entirely new territory for me -- not only is it fully animated, but we're making it using cutting-edge performance capture technology! (You know, like Beowulf. But with a slightly lower budget.) Anyway, we'll keep you up to date as it nears completion; we're working hard on it even as I type. (Well, maybe not as I type. But in all likelihood, after I type.)

Now, without further ado, some awesome shorts that aren't still works-in-progress.

I'll Wait for the Next One (J'Attendrai Le Suivant)
In this Oscar-nominated short, a lonely woman finds love on the subway ... or does she? (It's arty 'cause it's French!)

Hyperactive
Ever since this Scandinavian kid got featured on YouTube a few weeks ago (when Michel Gondry was guest-curating the front page -- quite an honor!), he's been blowing up! He can play neither the drums nor the piano, but with the magic of editing, he makes himself sound like a pro.

Lost Book Found
Normally I abhor that genre of filmmaking known as "video art" (it feels too academic; it doesn't move me), but I find this excerpt from video art master Jem Cohen's film Lost Book Found totally engrossing, hypnotic and mysterious. (And it has a story, which sets it apart from video art.) At ten minutes, it's the longest clip here, but if you've got the time I think you'll find it rewarding and fascinating.

Radiohead: Faust Arp
I don't know if you've heard Radiohead's new album In Rainbows (it's amazing), but this is more or less a home movie of singer Thom Yorke and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Greenwood (who was ROBBED for not getting an Oscar nomination for the There Will Be Blood score, by the way) playing the strange, haunting track "Faust Arp" on a Scottish hilltop at dusk. A unique, intimate way to experience the song -- even with the sound of whipping wind getting in the microphone as they play. I can't believe this can only been watched 50,000 times on YouTube! (PS, ignore the nonsensical first 40 seconds of this clip, which includes one NSFW swear word.)

Insane David Lynch Cigarette Commercial
A nice palate-cleanser. Interpretations are welcome; your guess is as good as mine!

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5 Subtle Cues That Can Tell You About Your Date's Financial Personality
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Being financially compatible with your partner is important, especially as a relationship grows. Fortunately, there are ways you can learn about your partner’s financial personality in a relationship’s early stages without seeing their bank statement or sitting them down for “the money talk.”

Are they a spender or a saver? Are they cautious with money? These habits can be learned through basic observations or casual questions that don’t feel intrusive. Here are some subtle things that can tell you about your date’s financial personality.

1. HOW THEY ANSWER BASIC MONEY QUESTIONS.

Casual conversations about finance-related topics can be very revealing. Does your date know if their employer matches their 401(k) plan contributions? Do you find their answers to any financial questions a bit vague—even the straightforward ones like “What are the rewards like on your credit card?” This could mean that your partner is a little fuzzy on some of the details of their financial situation.

As your connection grows, money talks are only natural. If your date expresses uncertainty about their monthly budget, it may be an indicator that they are still working on the best way to manage their finances or don’t keep close tabs on their spending habits.

2. WHAT THEY’RE WATCHING AND READING.

If you notice your partner is always watching business news channels, thumbing through newspapers, or checking share prices on their phone, they are clearly keeping abreast of what’s going on in the financial world. Ideally, this would lead to a well-informed financial personality that gives way to smart investments and overall monetary responsibility.

If you see that your date has an interest in national and global finances, ask them questions about what they’ve learned. The answers will tell you what type of financial mindset to expect from you partner moving forward. You might also learn something new about the world of finance and business!

3. WHERE THEY GET THEIR FOOD.

You may be able to learn a lot about someone’s financial personality just by asking what they usually do for dinner. If your date dines out a lot, it could be an indication that they are willing to spend money on experiences. On the other hand, if they’re eating most of their meals at home or prepping meals for the entire week to cut their food budget, they might be more of a saver.

4. WHETHER THEY’RE VOICING MONEY CONCERNS.

Money is a source of stress for most people, so it’s important to observe if financial anxiety plays a prominent role in your date’s day-to-day life. There are a number of common financial worries we all share—rising insurance rates, unexpected car repairs, rent increases—but there are also more specific and individualized concerns. Listen to how your date talks about money and pick up on whether their stress is grounded in worries we all have or if they have a more specific reason for concern.

In both instances, it’s important to be supportive and helpful where you can. If your partner is feeling nervous about money, they’ll likely be much more cautious about what they’re spending, which can be a good thing. But it can also stop them from making necessary purchases or looking into investments that might actually benefit them in the future. As a partner, you can help out by minimizing their expenses for things like nights out and gifts in favor of less expensive outings or homemade gifts to leave more of their budget available for necessities.

5. HOW THEY HANDLE THE BILL.

Does your date actually look at how much they’re spending before handing their credit card to the waiter or bartender at the end of the night? It’s a subtle sign, but someone who looks over a bill is likely much more observant about what they spend than someone who just blindly hands cards or cash over once they get the tab.

Knowing what you spend every month—even on smaller purchases like drinks or dinner—is key when you’re staying on a budget. It’s that awareness that allows people to adjust their monthly budget and calculate what their new balance will be once the waiter hands over the check. Someone who knows exactly what they’re spending on the small purchases is probably keeping a close eye on the bigger picture as well.

REMEMBER THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TALKING.

While these subtle cues can be helpful signposts when you’re trying to get an idea of your date’s financial personality, none are perfect indicators that will be accurate every time. Our financial personalities are rarely cut and dry—most of us probably display some behaviors that would paint us as savers while also showing habits that exclaim “spender!” By relying too heavily on any one indicator, we might not get an accurate impression of our date.

Instead, as you get to know a new partner, the best way to learn about their financial personality is by having a straightforward and honest talk with them. You’ll learn more by listening and asking questions than you ever could by observing small behaviors.

Whatever your financial personality is, it pays to keep an eye on your credit score. Discover offers a Free Credit Scorecard, and checking it won't impact your score. It's totally free, even if you aren't a Discover customer. Check yours in seconds. Terms apply. Visit Discover to learn more.

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Animals
Where Do Birds Get Their Songs?
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Birds display some of the most impressive vocal abilities in the animal kingdom. They can be heard across great distances, mimic human speech, and even sing using distinct dialects and syntax. The most complex songs take some practice to learn, but as TED-Ed explains, the urge to sing is woven into songbirds' DNA.

Like humans, baby birds learn to communicate from their parents. Adult zebra finches will even speak in the equivalent of "baby talk" when teaching chicks their songs. After hearing the same expressions repeated so many times and trying them out firsthand, the offspring are able to use the same songs as adults.

But nurture isn't the only factor driving this behavior. Even when they grow up without any parents teaching them how to vocalize, birds will start singing on their own. These innate songs are less refined than the ones that are taught, but when they're passed down through multiple generations and shaped over time, they start to sound similar to the learned songs sung by other members of their species.

This suggests that the drive to sing as well as the specific structures of the songs themselves have been ingrained in the animals' genetic code by evolution. You can watch the full story from TED-Ed below, then head over here for a sample of the diverse songs produced by birds.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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