The (Unofficial) Hipster Runoff Manual of ‘Style’



HIPSTER RUNOFF (HRO) is ‘a blog worth blogging about’. It is written from the perspective of “Carles” (CRLS), 1 bro whose ‘mainstream to alt’ story has inspired an entire generation. No one is sure who Carles ‘is.’ He is ‘just trying 2 b authentic’ in his posts, eArt, and poetry. Carles speaks in ur voice 2 raise evry voice (via hilary duff/disney {subvia walter whitbro}). Anyone can write ‘as’ Carles. Writing ‘like Carles’ aligns ur personal brand w/the HIPSTER RUNOFF and brands.

HRO is usually only able to analyze things from 2 perspectives:

  • Where does it stand in the constant struggle between mainstream vs. alt?
  • Does the product make my life more meaningful?

– Carles, “Animal Collective Is A Band Created By/For/On the Internet”



a) to end ‘declarative sentences’

I am Carles. I’m just 1 bro. This is a metaphor.

b) to punctuate acronyms (optional)


c) to ‘choose ur own response’


question mark

a) to end ‘interrogative sentences’

when will HRO end?

should HRO have ended _ years ago?

b) to ‘ask rhetorical questions’

When will all of the memes in the world be blogged? What happens when the river of meme runs dry? What happens when bloggers decided 2 unplug from the internet? what happens if ur favourite blogger gets in a car crash 1 day, and u never hear from him/her again?

exclamation point

Carles is usually ‘pretty jaded’. He sometimes uses exclamation points to affect a mainstream, maltstream, or entry-level alt voice.

Man Man Strikes Again! (s0 authentically alt!)


a) to ‘separate’ items in a catalogue

Carles likes to compile catalogues of bloggable brands+memes. He uses Oxford commas despite his ‘conflicted feelings’ about Vampire Weekend.

St. Vincent taught us how to be a girl, look keut, sound complex, and appeal to the middle aged critic bros

“Is it still alt 2 listen 2 the song ‘A-Punk’ or is in mainstream since it is now utilized in movie trailers?” –Carles

b) to tell Carles he wrote a ‘weak post’ (cmmnts)

@Carles weak post, Carles

@ (via Twitter)

Cmmntrs use @ 2 connect w/Carles+other HRO readers.

@Carles, first


A ‘plus sign’ connects related nouns or themes that are not interchangeable.

Frou Frou ft. Zach Braff and the Natalie Portmans singing about letting go of society’s norms + pressures+ generating a new concept of ‘love’

Sometimes Carles uses ‘&’ instead of ‘+’. Might not ‘make any difference’.


a) to use a ‘contraction’

Can’t even remember what pure electro sounds like [via 2k7].

**EXCEPTION** ‘yall’

Carles does not spell ‘yall’ with an apostrophe.

I am yall. You are yall. He is yall. She is yall. It is yall. We are yall. Yall is us. Never Underestimate the power of yall.

b) to ‘indicate ownership’

poor man’s Björk

Carles is kinda ‘direct’. Seems like this helps him avoid the use of n e ‘possessive s’ after names that ‘end in s’ (‘Carles’). It doesn’t matter 2 Carles if ur strunk or white [via the michael jacksons].


a) to separate interchangeable nouns/adjectives

phone service/Direct TV/TimeWarnerCable/any other sort of service that you are not interested in

b) to link indistinguishable memes/activities/actions (via gerunds)

Having a baby/retiring/unretiring

c) to ‘call attention’ to a HIPSTER RUNOFF announcement/sponsorship

//////This post is ‘sponsored’ by

d) to express ‘genuine enthusiasm’

Seeing ////Prince cover Radiohead/JayZ sing “Wonder Wall”/watch (upcoming indie band) captivate an audience as the sunset/// would have RLLY made my life more meaningful.

e) to be ‘artistic’



a) to ‘subtitle’ a post

Do u have positive or negative memories of box wine? [FRANZIA meme]

b) to highlight [HRO EXCLUSIVE] mp3 track reviews



Carles may use XX____XX or †† _______ †† (via jousteece) as brackets.


‘equals’ sign

a) to popularize a ‘shorthand’ for similes/metaphors/the verb ‘to be’

Ben Gibbard getting Stung by a Scorpion = a meme

b) to suggest ‘equivalence’


c) to cover the summer 2k9 Weezer/Blink 182 tour



a) to ‘make up adjectives from other parts of speech’

free-spirited mom

b) to define time periods/period-defining musical genres

This is a post-college, post-being fully supported by your parents era.

**EXCEPTION** Post Merriweather Post Pavilion


a) to ‘attribute an outside source’

(see **GRAMMAR** section on [via])

b) to note ‘featured artists’ on an mp3 release

Atlas Sound, “Walkabout” (w/Noah Lennox)

quotation marks

a) to denote the title of an mp3

“Cheerleader” a song by Grizzly Bear

b) to format a ‘block quote’

Carles sometimes posts bloggable excerpts/cmmnts/lyrics from less relevant blogs on HRO. Carles does not put quotation marks around these passages. Seems sillie and redundant. He indents and ‘italicizes’ them.

We’ve come a long long way together, Through the hard times and the good, I have to celebrate you baby, I have to praise you like I should -the fatboy slims, 2012 as the world ends

c) ‘scare quotes’

Scare quotes are a source of ‘confusion’ and ‘discomfort’ to the beginner HRO reader. Carles’ use of single quotes seems ‘arbitrary’ at times and possibly ‘devoid of significance.’ Some bro named Sasha Frere-Jones has microblogged (via Twitter feed) about Carles’ liberal use of scare quotes. Think he is a music critic at an ‘actual print publication.’

Carles scare quotes aren’t str8 irony. More chaotic and inherently comic, like CAPS. I like that I don’t always understand them.


Scare quotes highlight ‘tired expressions,’ core ‘intellectual foundations of postmodernism,’ or n e thing ambiguous/abstract/’random.’ Some scare quotes express surprise (‘damn’). Punctuation goes outside the quotes.

I am afraid of things like ‘racism’, ‘bad fashion’, and anything that might taint the purity of my authenticity.


Sometimes Carles is unsure of how 2 end a sentence (via underscore).

Excited about getting my tax return so I can spend it on ________.


a) ‘proper names’

Carles, James Murphy, Avey Tare, Uffie, Alice Glass, AnCo, Passhy Pit

b) mp3s/vimeos/podcasts


c) proper nouns ‘invented’ by Carles

Cool Dad, Trappedinsuburbiabro, Mexicalt

**EXCEPTION** free-spirited mom, blipster

d) relevant cities probably featured on the AmAppy bag

Brooklyn, Portland, Austin, Montreal, Amsterdam

e) acronyms/abbrevs

WTF, FUPA, AZN, the CEO of the band ‘Feist’

f) interactive technologies

iPhone 3GS, iPod, eArt


Carles follows ‘conventions of proper English’. He was educated at a top 10 design school/community college/liberal arts college/’major research university’ in a relevant city. There are maybe ‘a couple of exceptions’.


Carles will sometimes drop the subject at the beginning of a sentence. Think this tendency is most often ‘on display’ when Carles writes in ‘the subjunctive mood’ or ‘makes conjectures’ in his posts (via New Age).

Feel like we are confused.

Wonder if it is the ‘best indie song of the last decade.’ Seems important, like it organically gained steam before the ‘backlash’ occurred. Seems like ‘every1 liked it’/’knew about it.’ Seems like every1 thought it was meaningful for at least 1 nite.

subject/verb agreement+plurals

Carles will often add zany plurals or misspellings to the names of relevant bands. Seems like this is supposed 2 make u ‘reflect’ on a meaningful period in early alternative history [2k1.6-2k3.7] when ‘every band’ with ‘indie cred’ had an authentic band name starting with ‘The’. Some examples are The Strokesbros+ The Whitening Stripes.

the interpols, the phoenixes, the grizzling bears, the girl talks

sentence structure

a) independent clauses

Carles ‘lives in the moment’. Think he uses ‘compound sentences’ 2 create a ‘sense of intimacy/immediacy’ 4 the HRO reader.

You like how u feel when u ‘dress up’ and you like the attention.

b) dependent clauses

Carles avoids ‘complex sentences.’ He recognizes that the content/ideas/memes on HRO are not always ‘unique.’ HIPSTER RUNOFF is a ‘creative commons’ where alts ‘express themselves’ in mediums (memorable posts/pics/mp3s/poetry/eArt) approved+sanctioned by the IAMCARLES and HRO brands. Carles attributes his ‘sources’, ‘inspirations’, and ‘associations’ with via and subvia (via the canon).


a) indirect quotations of meaningful lyrics

take your time yall (via the grizzling bears)

**EXCEPTION** direct quotations=single quotes+a dash

‘I used 2 rule the world’ -the coldplays

‘The End.’ -a book

b) to elaborate+clarify a statement

I am paid [via commission]

c) to cmmnt on ‘creeping forces of globalization’

Harvard University launches fashion line [via in massive debt]


A single (via) may not be enough to convey a ‘string of associations’ (via stream-of-consciousness {subvia modernism}). Use {subvia} for this.

wanting 2 stay young forever [via Peter Pan {subvia Michael Jacksons}]


<3/h8/miss u

Carles has written an entire post on the ‘proper use’ of <3/h8/miss.

Carles can ‘only rlly have 3 emotions.’

= when u either rllly luv some1 or when u ‘fake luv’ them and are kinda being sillie about liking them s0 much. Kinda worx both ways since I’m afraid of commitment/meaning what I say. U can prove that u rlly luv some1 or something by surrounding it with <3s. For example” ❤ [object] ❤ .”

h8 = when u hate something/dislike something/are uncomfortable in a situation/feel inconvenienced/feel like something has wronged u/don’t like what something stands 4

miss = when u get a lil nostalgic about something u used to ❤ or h8. It kinda symbolizes growin’ up and seeing things a lil bit differently than u used 2. u nvr realize how important something was until u start 2 miss it. U can also kinda ‘fake’ miss some1 2 make fun of how u used 2 view the world.

– Carles, “<3/h8/miss”

alt vs. bro

“ALT or BRO” teaches u to distinguish authentic alts from inauthentic mnstrmrs who may or may not be bros. “Bros” is the title of an mp3 by Panda Bear (Noah Lennox of Animal Collective). Panda Bear ‘seems like a chill bro’.

ALT or BRO is a new HRO gimmick where readers must decided if the male person pictured is a BRO or an ALT. While we have seen many AltBros, there is a polarizing presence between true bros and true alts. Altbro is synergy, but there are many bros who are not alts, and many alts who are not bros.

Carles, “Alt or Bro?”


Altbags are male. Altbaguettes are female altbags. Carles usually calls authentic female alts ‘altbroads’.

There is a genre of alternative men who can be more douchebaggy than bro-ish. Instead of seeking the camraderie/tugs that altbros want, altBags are driven by money/status/altFame/other alternative ideals. AltBags no longer pride themselves in receiving the tugjobs of entrylevel alt girls who they accidentally end up in a 6-12 month relationship with. Altbags usually shape their personal brand around ‘being taken seriously’ as opposed to focusing on the pursuit of authenticity.

Carles, “The AltBag”


Animal Collective.

“big in 2k__”

Carles likes 2 predict+create upcoming ‘buzzbands’ and genres. ‘Big in 2k_?’ is HRO ‘shorthand’ for Internet buzz.


HIPSTER RUNOFF is ‘a blog worth blogging about’. N e thing else ‘worth blogging about’ on HRO is defined as ‘bloggable’.

conceptual forest

Carles experienced an ‘existential crisis’ between 2k8.8-2k9.5 (via barry obammie/financial meltdown) that may have changed his personal brand forever. The ‘conceptual forest’ is/is not a metaphor for this time of change.

Now that we live in a less-electro era, we will venture into the Conceptual Forest. In this forest, we can hear songs more conceptual, open-ended songs. The Conceptual Forest is an incubator for authentic expression and progressive techniques of recording sounds. In the Conceptual Forest, our minds are free, and we seek ‘meaning’ that we cannot find in a major metropolitan area. We are alone in this Conceptual Forest, allowing us to get in touch with who we truly are.

-Carles, “I am the ringmaster”

electro war

In early 2k8 Carles wrote about the ‘coming electro wars’. The ‘electro wars’ foreshadowed the end of the electro/bloghouse era in late 2k8.

entry level alt

An ‘entry level alt’ is a ‘dabbler’ in the alternative subculture.

If your ‘first alternative experience’ is meaningful enough, then you spend the rest of your life trying to re-create what it meant to experience something meaningful. (Sometimes, all you need is to get buzzed with a group of your closest friends. Entry-Level alts are often in the ‘learning how 2 experiment’ phase.) Entry Level Alts are full of hope. They believe in the future. They believe in a better world. They are the reason why we are fighting in the electro war–because one day, things will be better.

– Carles, “The Proud Grin of an Entry Level Alt”

gettin vulns

Carles ‘gets vulns’ in his “Let’s Get Vulnerable” posts.


A ‘gimmick’ is a recurring HIPSTER RUNOFF feature 4 cmmntrs (“Name That Alternative Celebrity Lookalike”) that ‘attracts page views’.

maltstream (mnstrm=alt?)

‘Maltstream’ is sometimes used to describe a ‘crossover act’ that used 2 be alt and is now associated with the mainstream. Examples of ‘maltstream culture’ include The Arcade Fire, The Lonely Island, and n e 1 who has played a ‘supporting role’ in a meaningful Judd Apatow comedy/viral vid.


Use ‘meaningful’ to describe n e thing associated with ‘meaningful-core’.

1. music that makes a general mainstream consumer think that his/her life is more meaningful 2. music that an alt or mainstream person can talk about in a conversation and make them seem ‘with the times’, ‘interesting’, and ‘on a quest for self-awareness.’ 3. music that is structured to seem directly meaningful, cryptically meaningful, or if the singer just looks/sounds earnest and meaningful in some form 4. music that is made by a predominantly male band, with a male lead singer (the voice of a male offers more meaning than a female can offer) 5. music that is created by a band who ‘meant it’ on their first album, then experimented, then ‘got mainstream’, then ‘meant it’ in a cool-dad kind of way later in their career. (no matter what, they always sold out large venues) 6. music that music critics respect, and you can put on a mix CD for a person of the opposite sex to make them think that you ‘understand love, life, and everything else that could make a relationship work.’

– Carles, “Meaningful-Core Bands”


Use ‘meme’ to describe ‘virality’ in the virile music ‘meme economy’.

You must understand every force that impacts the music memesphere, and how these economies interact with one another.

– Carles, “The Memefication of Your Band.”

personal brand

‘Personal brand’ refers to an individual’s fashion sense/scene/aesthetic/ consumer choices/identity as represented by relevant bands/brands.

My job/career does not align with my true personal brand.


Carles publishes an ‘occasional series’ of conceptual poems. These works are similar to earlier poetry by William Carlos Williams, e e cummings, and Allen Ginsburg in that they incorporate ‘meaningful elements of everyday life’ and make ‘liberal use of hard returns’.

I attempt to make my space as meaningful as possible this attic full of records, picture books, and asbestos The good times are killing me The bad times are killing me The asbestos may or may not be killing me


Carles has created words out of other words. These are not ‘hyphenated’.

a) subcategory of ‘alt’=portmanteau

blipster, Mexicalt


b) musical ‘genre’=compound word

chillwave, chillfuzz, conceptualcore


‘Relevant’ describes n e thing that is ‘culturally relevant’.


Tugs are how Carles+male alts ‘relate’ 2 altbroads+altbaguettes.

What if the tug economy dried up? What if there were no entrylevelaltgrls/altbaguettes to have late nite conversations with? Would I still be the same person?

-Carles, “An Ode to Alternative Women”


‘Zany’ describes n e humor that is ‘quirky’ or ‘twee’ (via indie).

Being different sometimes means having a ‘zany personality’, and utilizing faded jeans and HardyBoys-Express Men Graphic Tees with metaphorical airbrush designs.


There is a ‘lack of consensus’ in the HRO cmmnts about how 2 spell ‘like Carles’. Carles is not a ‘phonetic speller.’ There are occasional ‘exceptions’ to this rule which lend alternative colour to the HIPSTER RUNOFF blog.



**EXCEPTION** This is a post about __________.

–ate (h8)

-a__y (Merriweather Post Pavvy, Lollypally)



it’s just hard for me to trust (maybe bc I got out of a relationship with an incredibly manipulative person)


a) British colour

quirky coloured converse, my favourite song lyrics

b) bloghouse (miss u)


c) –ette

altbaguette, Helvetty

d) Justice

Jousteece, the justices

-ie (societie, dirtie projjies, eddie drostie)

-ite (2nite)


kute (QT)


n e 1 (sum1, evry1)


___ of (kinda, sorta)


s0 (n0)



-vr (evry, nvr)

w/ + w/o

–x (pix)



a) time logs

Time logs help HRO readers locate meaningful moments in music, video, and music video.


b) years

Carles usually represents each year after y2k in 2k_ form. Sometimes he will write out the whole number in longer ‘narrative posts’/’personal stories’. Pre-y2k events are irrelevant and represented in the a similar form (1k997) or in the form of a meaningful decade in alternative history (60s, 70s).

Will yall ‘let go’ in 2k10? Do yall miss 2k0-2k4 and wish we could go back 2 the days when we didn’t really know how 2 use the internet to attempt 2 cultivate a meaningful life?

I’m not bitter that they tried to hire me as ‘an unpaid news intern’ in mid-2008–I’m sad that I didn’t get to share special moments with my bros.

number ranges

a) 0-10

Carles ‘almost always’ uses the digit instead of ‘writing out the word’.

b) 11-999

Ages 23.75- 25.5: Feeling ‘disenchanted’ about where ur life is, and finally realizing that you’re not 19 any more/the people you are watching on stage are living the life that you thought you would be living.

c) >1K

You need to picture a world where you have at least 20K twitter followers who are eager to follow your lifestream on a meme-to-meme basis.

decimals + percentages

Uses of these are ‘pretty standard’. Carles pretty much avoids fractions.

In our modern world, 99% of ‘bands’ could be defined as groups of people who created a myspace page and uploaded 1.5 songs.

It’s a widely known fact that 79% of persons who classify themselves as ‘alternative’ have had a Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, or The Life Aquatic poster in the room.

empty altDivas who are 300% less interesting and less ‘connected to what’s relevant’ than their personal brand would indicate


$10 million, 50Cent

numbers as abbrevs

a) to ‘save time’ in writing/txting ‘to’, ‘for’ and words w/sounds like 2 and 4

protecting 1 another and strengthening our bonds 2gether

b) to refer to Pitchfork Media/p4k ‘analysis posts’

I kinda wish people would stop making ‘jokes’ about P4k rankings.

I have heard their other song “Two Weeks” and might decide to like this one more, since the other one is ‘poppy and an obvious choice for too many mainstreamers who see GrizzBear at p4k Festival to pick as their fave song.’


Think Carles uses 14 pt. Helvetica (Helvetty).