Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Take the Next Train Home

That's a photo of the 1941 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, via the rad new Life magazine archives that Google put up. A bleaker photo would be one of Germany on Turkey Day in 1937. Oof! I'm very glad to be going home in two days after an insanely hectic week that put me on the verge of a nervous breakdown (or over the edge, who knows). I read a whole lot of Alred Kazin, Henry James, and Annie Dillard in an extremely short period of time as well as finishing my final workshop of the semester (soon the kill-me-now round of revisions before December 11). My weekend was spent reading Atmospheric Disturbances and a really great analysis of Antonio Negri in Bookforum, as well as a Saturday night that consisted of crepes, conversation, and whiskey (in that order). I also went to a cool show filled with DIY Bushwick bands, but that might deserve its own post. See you when I write away my turkey/beer layer!

Love is All Wishing Well

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oh, What A Paradise It Seems


For some reason I always picture John Cheever with a mustache. Whatever, the dude is still totally the man. I've been delving deeper into his archives as "thesis research." Speaking of which, that's sucking up all my time but going really well! More on that in after I hand in the first half in a few weeks. I need to get out of this city for at least a few days. Give me some fucking turducken! Here's a Mountain Goats/Kaki King song since apparently no one is releasing music anymore in honor of the Greatest Depression.

Mountain Goats and Kaki King - Black Pear Tree

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Love You, I'm Not a Robber


So here's the thing, life only gets busier. That's from a new Banksy exhibit in the West Village I checked out. Hey, did you see what happened to the economy?! I, for one, am not happy about the Greatest Depression. But hey, good news... Radar folded! Shit, let me try again... someone tried to assassinate Obama today! Um... he's going to win next week? Yeah, let's go with that. Next week is the election, one of the biggest papers of the semester, and one of my three workshop stories. That's not change we can believe in! I'll post again when I wake up from the coma I enter on November 6th. Just kidding! Wait, no I'm not. I can't stay away for too long, internet.

Alexis Taylor - I'm Not a Robber

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What is a Starz! Classic?

I'd like to take this time to define a movie genre known as the Starz! Classic. I first started thinking about this breed of film last week when Jared made a reference to the movie Double Take, which in turn caused us to reminisce about the genius of Blue Streak. See, the Starz! Classic is a certain kind of comedy that you see over and over on Starz! (or its subsidiaries like Encore) that are somewhat mediocre, but nonetheless endearing. You don't mind watching them in the background...they're funny enough to make you laze about on the couch and turn off your brain for a couple of hours. They're not worth seeking out or paying for, but they're alright if it shows up in front of you...like the film version of a Bloc Party album. Other Starz! Classic movies include Sgt. Bilko, In the Army Now, and of course, Heavyweights, the genre's equivalent of Citizen Kane. See, a Starz! Classic is very different compared to the mediocre comedy offerings of a channel like HBO, which are more apt to show the equivalents of Dane Cook comedies throughout the past two decades. Fuck that noise! I'll take Evolution or The Replacements (Orlando Jones is the genre's Tom Hanks) over Waiting... or Accepted. Some day, the Academy will create a genre specifically for Starz! Classics. What would win this year? I'd guess something like Hamlet 2 or Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but you probably know better than I do.

Were you deprived of Starz! as a teenager? If so, I pity you. However, you can catch up now that Netflix just started streaming everything that airs on Starz! and Encore. Sadly though, that takes the fun out of unknowingly stumbling upon brilliant mediocrity.

The Decemberists - Valerie Plame

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Unleashing the Beast

So, pretty much no one in Brooklyn has considered me overly political. I tend to keep quiet about my days in the Connecticut Green Party. Hell, I went to a national convention in 2002! I considered myself lucky since I thought I was over politics at age 15. Nothing gets done in politics because people are all too busy with their thumbs up their asses debating by-laws and stuff. You really have no control over it. But for a while, I was way too caught up in, debating people whenever I got the chance, and being a dick about politics in general. My blood pressure probably rose a lot. Life got much easier when I chilled the fuck out and stopped paying attention.
This was easy in 2004 because no one really gave a shit. We all knew Kerry was going to lose. Could there be a less viable candidate, someone dumb undecideds could hate more easily? Probably not, cause, y'know, flip-flop Swift Boat, hyuck hyuck.
But now it's 2008 and everyone's poor and angry. Obama is making people hopeful (he should use that word in his campaign, I think) and optimistic that we might not have politics as usual. People are paying attention. Stakes is mothafucking high, y'all. Anyway, WALNUTS! is scaring me more every day, and after the Katie Couric interview, Sarah Palin has gone from funny to sad fast.
Three days a week I edit political rants that usually don't have much substance and cause me to think long and hard about the world at large. Three TVs in the office play cable news simultaneously. When your ears prick up, it's hard not to get angry, hard not to want to do something. But we really can't. We can vote. So, do that. I'll take four years of Jimmy Carter over another four of Bush. That statement makes me cringe, yet everyone seems to think they're really witty when they say it! Sigh.
All this being said, I've started caring again. I'm bound to become a dick again. So...apologies in advance I guess?

Peter, Bjorn and John - School of Kraut

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Beginnings, etc etc

Oh shit, the summer's over! Today is my last day at Flavorpill. I'm pretty bummed that the internship is over...it's been a great summer, and everyone involved there is totally awesome to work with. They gave me some great fact-checking experience and the opportunity to write about some things I actually, y'know, like. Plus, parties and perks and good lunches, oh my! I'm still going to write for them, but for the most part I am moving on to bigger and better things...like The Huffington Post! You read correctly, folks, I start as a paid (!) blogging intern this Wednesday. That's both exciting and terrifying, and I wouldn't have made it there without my current internship. Thanks guys!

Here's some of the last few pieces I wrote while still an intern: Frances, Brooklyn Cyclones, Arms

My Senior thesis proposal is also due this Thursday. So...six days to get back in that rhythm? Life's about to get crazy. Well, crazier.

Final Fantasy - The Butcher

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Getting Smarter Never Felt So Lame




The Pratt freshmen are here for orientation week. It's great to make fun of them from a distance and see how ridiculously they dress. To be fair, here's a picture of me the night before I left for college, and boy did I look retarded! I now use that ugly t-shirt when I go to the gym. What's really sad, though, is realizing that you'll never be as reckless as you were when you first got to college. Sleeping in until noon, drinking like, every night, poor judgment with girls, eating White Castle without worry for stomach pains - never again! I saw three shows and did irreversible damage to my liver that week. Barring a serious slide into lonliness and alcoholism, I'll never be that idiotic again. As much as I might miss doing reckless things without consequences, I wouldn't want to do it again. In retrospect, I guess I'm just glad I didn't dress like a lot of this year's assholes. Prattlers, good luck on the best and worst week of your life.


Ida Maria - Morning Light

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anywhere But Hartford


It seems like every other month Sharon and I talk about leaving New York. Partially, it's about money, but I guess it's about being fulfilled or something. Sharon usually suggests her home of Buffalo, where rent is dirt cheap (I'm looking more into Rhode Island, pictured above with both a beautiful skyline and a glamorous garbage can). Apparently, we're not alone in this line of thinking. New York actually wrote a story about moving away from the city and taking advantage of a decrepit city...Buffalo specifically! It is the type of place we will all live in once the suburbs become a wasteland.
It's hard for me to not consider moving ASAP when I read a story like that. I don't consider myself tied to this city. I'd never move back to Connecticut, which is a terrible place for a child in need of stimulation to grow up. Moving here was about finding myself (vomit) and learning what I'm comfortable with, how much bullshit I can handle and persevere through. I've come to a point in my life where I know who I am as a person, and this self-aware Stuff White People Like cliche can pack his bicycle and novel ideas to any city with a few restaurants and cheap rent. Is a non-corny, worthwhile life still livable outside of New York/Chicago/LA? It is once we stop letting geography inform who we are...but I probably won't know for sure myself for a few more years. Your vice grip can only last so long, New York!

David Byrne and Brian Eno - Home

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Slaves! Slaves! Slaves!


You know what's worse than selling out? Graduating college and fighting for an underpaying job in an incestuous industry! Editorial assistant jobs and post-grad unpaid internships must land a step above Wal-Mart Greeter and a step below high school janitor in terms of awfulness. I'll take a steady income and write on the side before I dig my own grave. I wish I could say I miss my pre-Pratt romantic ideas of New York writers, but I guess that was even worse. Fuck it, I'm going to Rhode Island for the weekend. This post will be brought to you by Converse once they decide I'm worth paying.

Liars - Pure Unevil

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Monday and I'd Rather be Writing Fiction

Instead I'm answering phones and watching this over and over.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Last Night Almost Did Him In



There were three bands from the L Magazine's Class of '07 feature that I ended up listening to: Vampire Weekend, White Rabbits, and Frances. While the two former artists shot to indie superstardom (VW) and middling indie purgatory (WR), Frances kept a low profile for the past year. However, they were probably the band that intrigued me the most when I first heard them. The only song of theirs that resembled a complete product was "Lighthouse", but it was a hell of a song. There were shades of bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Half-Handed Cloud, as well as a fair share of Columbia bookishness. Well I've played the crap out of "Lighthouse", I kept waiting for more.
Well, the other day I got my needy little paws on the band's debut album, All the While, and it's just as stunning as I hoped it would be. With lush orchestrations and a sense of wonder and earnestness, this could easily end up on my "best of '08" list. Songs like "Cousin" and "Telephone" fulfill the promise I heard in that first demo. As for "Lighthouse" itself, it's been fleshed out with a crisper, cleaner productions and a fleshed out sound that loses none of the original greatness. The band opened that secret Rogue Wave show last weekend, and they're opening for the Walkmen this week. Keep an eye out for them, because they're going to be huge if there's any fairness in this indie landscape!

Frances - Lighthouse (Revised)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

They Denied Me During The Seventh Inning Stretch, Though

There's this awkward period between ages 13 and 20 where baseball games are pretty much the most boring thing ever. Then you turn 21 and alcohol happens. My first experience with this came last night at a Brooklyn Cyclones game. The occasion: they were playing the Batavia Muckdogs, my girlfriend's hometown team. Like Batavia itself, they're pretty horrible! The cheap Brooklyn brews were great and all, but the best part was having a retarded side show at the top and bottom of every inning. Racing hot dog suits, human hamster wheels, and a RECYCLING COMPETITION. Also, a large portion of the crowd did the Cha Cha in the bottom of the fifth. No, it didn't go away when you graduated high school, apparently. Everything at Keyspan Park is the best kind of obnoxious. I even won a victory ball! If you've only got a passing interest in baseball, you might as well go here and spend half of what you would at a Yankees game. Sports! Two days in a row! I should post about books or something.

The Blow - Parantheses

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Like 'Splosions


You know, I really wasn't looking forward to the Olympics at all until I saw pictures of the opening ceremony. Does anyone else remember when Boyz II Men was supposed to be a main draw in 1996? Yikes. Hooray for fireworks and laser light shows! I found myself fascinated by rowing water polo over the weekend. Never thought I'd say that.
This of course meant the rarity of checking out Deadspin's weekend coverage. This weekend was guest-edited by Sarah Schorno. I officially nominate her to be an actual Deadspin editor. The site's felt less like required reading since Leitch left (expected), but Schorno just might be the perfect successor to make the site interesting again. What was great about Leitch's writing was that there was only a hint of snark, some straightforward reporting, and some sort of intelligent analytical insight. Not only does Schorno provide this amply, but she'd finally give Deadspin a, y'know, female writer (not that it should matter). She has every quality Leitch has, and unlike some of the site's writers (and some of the Deadspinoffs), she's not trying too hard to maintain the "Deadspin voice" or litter the page with insider jokes. Is that really so hard? Heck, it makes me wish she'd do more as a Huffington Post blogger.
More than anything this past weekend just showed that the weekday lineup might not be working out. While some of Daulerio's posts are interesting and insightful (like his Olympic opening post), a lot of them just seem gimmicky and perpetually fascinated with the sports media and its general misogyny than general Deadspinny coverage. Chandler always felt like a nice supplement to Leitch's coverage, but his voice sort of feels drowned out currently.
Meanwhile, Clay Travis seems to have found a niche even more marginalized than hockey bloggers. His posts generally cover some form of harmless (and occasionally fun) fratboy humor. And college football. A lot of college football. Sure, he's probably a nice enough dude in real life that I wouldn't get too annoyed by at a sports bar, but come on now, that can't carry a top-notch sports blog. Really, everyone should have been calling for his blood after reading his introductory post. Point is, all of these people could have a place in a Schorno-helmed Deadspin. Sure, Leitch managed to do this as a two-man (later three) operation, but he also posted with the vigor of a thousand Richard Lawsons. Let the new Deadspin begin!

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Buriedfed

Thursday, August 7, 2008

You've Got Taste, What a Waste

[INSERT EVOCATIVE IMAGE HERE]


Well, the French Kicks played mostly songs from their new album last night. Coincidentally, their new album sucks pretty hard! That review sort of hangs itself by comparing it to old REM and U2 albums (which are boring). Basically, whatever seemed bland and mundane on their first three albums (half the songs) was increased to take over the show. While Two Thousand played to their strengths, Swimming did the opposite. We spent some time away from the crowd and lounging around before leaving early. On our way to the train we could make out the faint sounds of "One More Time". Damn it! Dave Hill fared better, berating children and showing a video featuring a young Aziz Ansari and uh...cheetah breast milk?

I've been reading more blogs than usual today to avoid real work. I wish I could read a book at work or something because I can feel my brain turning to mush and getting desperate for some intellectual stimulation! *punches self in face* Hey I'm posting an Okkervil River song even though I feel bad about that time Will Sheff told his fans not to do it. Did you know he used to work for Audiogalaxy? Am I the only one that remembers Audiogalaxy? Or Scour? I'm starting to feel e-old.

Okkervil River - Singer-Songwriter

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Douche Chills!




So, is writing like Tucker Max an easy way to make money? Sometimes when I got bored in high school I used to talk like that to the table of WoW-playing nerds I sat with since I was a lonely boy that liked the Decemberists too much and not Dave Matthews. I didn't even get laid and I could talk like a know-it-all asshole! Basically, I bossed around the only people in school worse with women than I was. The weird part? They kind of liked it. A few weeks ago I was introducing some friends in Avon to Stuff White People Like and one of these same nerds from my past asked me if I read Tucker Max, calling him the "funniest dude on the internet". Sigh. Maybe I have a future in ghostwriting?

In other news:
-I wrote about Liza Minelli.
-I'm seeing a minor league baseball game this Monday...shudder. The opponent is from Sharon's home town! Also, it's totally "Bark in the Park" day. I'm going to try to bring a dog I walk. Nothing creepy about that, right?
-While fact-checking a semi-related listing at work last week I found out about a free show happening tonight in the Brooklyn Bridge Park with the French Kicks and Tiny Masters of Today. One of the two times I've seen the Kicks was a free outdoor campus show my freshman year. Guess sounding exactly the same on every song is great in an outdoor setting!
French Kicks - Also Ran

Monday, August 4, 2008

Nothing Good Will Come of This


Previously, I said that going home was starting to feel like vacation. Well, after a month and a half away I made another trek that pretty much entailed drinking when my body couldn't even handle it with my best friend Jordan (he's a soldier, son!). Anyway, I've realized that I haven't really had a vacation, or been out of the city for more then three days at a time. It's starting to show...constantly feeling overwhelmed, hating work more and more. School starts in less than a month! Shit. Too lazy to even blog. Right now, I'm trying to go somewhere, you know, vacation-y. It's looking like either Cape Cod with my family for a weekend (which they can't even confirm they're doing), a day trip to Rhode Island while visiting home, or a trip to Fire Island in Long Island. No verdict has been reached. Let's hope I can figure something out before labor day!

Where did you go on vacation this summer? Anywhere short and nearby?

Metronomy - Radio Ladio

You're Not Doing Your Part, Jerks!

See, this blog has been snoozeville since my laptop went kaput, and probably before that, what with all the half-assed navel-gazing. My MacBook (complete with shitty speakers!) may have been purchased last week, but YOU were supposed to pick up the slack for me in the mean time. You're supposed to make me money via user-generated content! That's how the internet works. I can't make a profit if you readers and elbo.ws trollers aren't going to do my work for me. I demand at least five witticisms and photoshops relating to the Montauk Monster on my desk by the end of the day! Or the morning I guess. I'll take what I can get! Excuse me while I light a cigar with an old 'zine I published (high five for paperless content!).

Kelley Polar - Entropy Reigns (In The Celestial City)

Friday, July 25, 2008

True to the Name

Somebody found this blog by googling "scott tomford is pretentious".






Mom?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So...That Happened

Last week I got an iPhone. I meant to post about it, but they had me doing lots of real work at both of my jobs. Can you believe that shit? Today I'm operating the Pratt campus switchboard, which somehow gives me more spare time between dealing with disgruntled parents that seem to think I'm the enemy. It was my first foray into the whole Apple deal really...I avoided Apple mainly because of friends who never stop babbling about the "Apple experience". Well, whatever...this thing works like a dream.

More importantly, my laptop broke over the weekend. The backlight went out and Dell is going to charge 530 dollars to get it repaired. Sweet Jesus that's wrong! So, next week I'm buying a MacBook...if my friends keeping them forever is any indication, it'll at least last longer. Back to regular posting next week, when I'm sure to make numerous posts about having sex with my new laptop. Hot.


Black Devil Disco Club - Free For The Girls

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I May Hate Most People, But...


That's a picture of the crowd at the last Studio B show I went to in February (via some dude's flickr). Pretty horrifying, right? That's because the Teenagers were playing (I came for the Hot Chip DJ set, I swear), so all the under-21s came down to Greenpoint in their finest asshole gear. See, it's really hard for me to go to shows like this because I want to punch everyone ever in the face. As I've said before, the same goes for a Girl Talk show. Then again, the more I thought about it, the more I realized every sort of event I go to has a crowd I hate.

-Dance Shows: See above. Since that picture there's the added element of Rachel Ray terrorist scarves.

-Rock Shows: The dirtier breed of hipsters trying too hard. Still wearing flannel in the summer.

-Readings: People that dress like John Hodgman and Miranda July and only want to speak with you if you're somebody in the lit world or got an MFA from somewhere fancy.

-Free, Public Events: Children, moochers. I rant about children too much so I'll save it. Moochers are usually similar to the people you find at rock shows, mainly in that they're looking to act poor by going to free stuff since their trust funds will only carry them so far!

Lately, there's been a disturbing trend where my friends and I can't seem to enjoy ourselves because of the crowd around us. Are we embarrassed to be seen with them? Is it just a case of hating bad manners? Either way, it's probably unhealthy to get so worked up about it. If some douchebag waving his hands around for five minutes to find a friend, or a literary dude tries really hard to suck up to Nam Le, does it change the movie I'm watching, the band I'm seeing? It shouldn't, but it does.

Another thing I should be keeping in mind is that I'm probably focusing on a small portion of the crowd. Others may resemble the people I hate so much, but for the most part people go out to have a good time. Maybe I should try that part out again and quit acting like a cranky old man. What do you think? Get off my lawn!

Deer Tick - Standing At the Threshold

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We Need the Scooter Police!


It's fun to shit on Clinton Hill now that I don't live there. Good lordy, so much crime these days! I mean, obviously that's not funny, especially since I share many mutual friends with one of the victims mentioned and I'll probably find myself standing for long periods late at night waiting for the bus in the near future. Still! This is what happens when there's a sudden, insane rich-poor divide in a pseudo-trendy neighborhood. Then again, something similar to this happened two years ago. Cops/security will be upped for a few weeks and then we'll get back to some good ol' crime sprees. I bet the solution is to build more condos.

In other Pratt-related news, yesterday was interesting day to be at work between the filming of Fringe, the new J.J. Abrams show. No celebrity sightings. Just lots of catering trucks and camera equipment. The Pre-College students also arrived yesterday. I'm tempted to say you're a pretty negligent parent if you let your little teenager hang out in Brooklyn for a few weeks though. Maybe I should have handed out that Gothamist writeup to the confused parents trying to get home to Jersey. Also, I saw two hideous young mainstream-alt kids leaving the library, where they apparently asked for MetroCards. I guess I would have killed to be them in high school. Now I just want to kill them. Let's start a farm somewhere.

Oxford Collapse - Young Love Delivers

Monday, July 7, 2008

s...s...Sports?


Would the hot dog eating contest be so popular if it didn't take place in the sporting doldrums? It'd probably still have a bit of awesomely retarded hysteria (which I witnessed in person with around 40,000 people), but it definitely benefits from the weird stretch between the NBA/NHL finals and the start of the NFL season (or the start of the Summer Olympics this year). However, there have been a surprising amount of exciting sporting events if you look hard enough.

EURO 2008
: This turned out to be surprisingly intense. Everyone should have been rooting for Turkey, who still lost despite THE POWER OF THE FANS. Also, technical glitches made everyone mad and big plays were missed. Weak sauce.

Tiger vs. Rocco: I hate golf, but hot damn, this was interesting. The old standby in a playoff against the smiling fat guy! Whooo!

Federer vs. Nadal last night: epic! Really long! But still, that's awesome. Maybe this will be a classic Sampras-Agassi rival in the future? Who knows.

Williams vs. Williams: Totally...yawn...gr...zzz.

Who the fuck am I kidding? I don't like tennis or golf! I wouldn't even bat an eye if this stuff happened during two of the most epic championship series' in recent memory? Hell no! EURO is about the only thing that's been passably interesting. I couldn't even make it to low-stakes baseball games! I guess I'll take what I can get, and so will the rest of America. Getting drunk and debating sports is what brings most people together. Where would we be if we didn't have that for the next two months? There's also the fact that baseball is pretty boring. The Tour de France is in effect, but is it worth watching is Lance Armstrong isn't competing? WE CAN FIND A WAY.


Jay Reatard - Always Wanting More

Friday, July 4, 2008

Nevar Ferget, 'merica


It's the Fourth of July. I'm going to eat and drink my weight in hot dogs and sangria at Coney Island, and hopefully finding a way to blast this awesome new Walkmen album. Kobayashi better throw up again.

The Walkmen - On the Water

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Clip Show



Taken from the side of the road near the top of Sonoma Mountain. Sadly this beautiful mountain is completely fenced in and blanketed with No Trespassing signs and covered with multi-million dollar homes and vineyards, occupied by selfish, rich, yuppy assholes. The best views in all of Petaluma can be found on this mountain, but apparently only the wealthy are allowed to enojoy these views. - Josh Sommers

That was one of the first results when I did a Google image search of "rich asshole".

Last week I started freaking out a lot after reading this thing Gawker wrote. Basically it's really hard to get a job in publishing/media in New York (duh) because most of the desired jobs and internships go to the sons and daughters of rich, connected assholes (again, duh). So I guess those are the main options to get a job, which is depressing but maybe a little encouraging at the same time. After thinking about it, I guess I'm not as worried as some because of the whole "New York advantage" (vomit).
I don't think I've taken either of my internships thinking "oh gee, this will look great on my resume"...I applied to both because I was passionate about them and the things they're doing. In retrospect, sure it might prepare for a job of some sort. Now, I'm just a little wary of the publishing industry as a result of my APS internship. This is mainly because of the social aspect of it all, ie people not wanting to acknowledge your existence at a party or dinner function if you're a lowly intern or editorial assistant. Fuck you and your $40k/year job, you monstrous bastard! Wow, where did that come from? I might still look for publishing jobs, but I'm a little nervous about it. I love literature, I love books, I love reading and writing. But will that be something I do on my own terms, my own time? It probably will, and it won't pay me a cent. Not that I should care.
I guess I felt better thinking about the Gawker thing since I now have clips that aren't fiction or stupid humor things thanks to Flavorpill. I write about things of all sorts, in short bursts! And frankly, I'm liking it a lot. I'm even starting to get interested in freelancing despite being unsure of what to write about (thus,blogging). It's been a good excercise, and a lot less soul-crushing than writing for Brijit was.
Some recent ones:
The Hold Steady
Wet Hot American Summer
Devo
Shearwater
I graduate in a year. Maybe I should hold off on worrying for a few months longer. Look out for that future nervous breakdown post!
No Age - It's Oh So Quiet (Bjork Cover)

Rock, Robot Rock



So after a weekend of heavy duty moving, Sharon and I decided to see Wall-E. This is only the second summer movie we've seen after an overdue viewing of Iron Man a couple of weeks ago. This was our event film - after all, we love robots, and I'm probably the only person that considers Short Circuit 2 to be a classic. But let me be the last to heap praise on this film: Wall-E is fucking incredible.
It almost feels like an adult movie, but I'm sure kids would agree. Pixar reminds me of the Jim Henson Company only in that they both created timeless children's movies that appeal to adults without resorting to retarded baby boomer jokes that make me nauseous. There's no one winking at the adults or the kids. My heart kind of melts whenever Wall-E does anything sad or, well, human. Some might say this is a distraction from a movie that is light on plot and high on spectacle. You know what? That's OK, because IT WORKS. Any more plot and the film would have started leaking with holes. Any less spectacle and one might say there's no damn point to putting robots in space.
Pixar's films are always good for instilling a sense of hope in us, that we might be able to dream bigger and make the world a better place. The movie studio that most represents Obama? Probably not. But you know, anyone that wants to rid the world of fat people and corporations that don't already own their souls is alright by me. It looks like Pixar will continue the trend of ambitious, challenging movies next year with UP!, which is about an old man finally going on adventures. Neat-o!

This is Ivy League - Love is Impossible

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Full Circle

This is my new home: Ridgewood, Queens. In a lot of ways this is my family coming full circle. When I first told my mother I was moving here, she told me that my grandmother grew up here. Neat.

I felt good about blogging daily (!) last week. I've been too exhausted from moving to form cohesive thoughts.
Follow-ups:
Will Leitch's final insane act as Deadspin editor: an interview with Buzz Bissinger


Keith Gessen couldn't take back the internet, took back the puppies instead.

Emily Gould is a millionaire and it's all our fault.


Zimbabwe: still depressing.


Brijit shut down. Hah.

Sex and the City usurped Baby Mama for the title of "worst movie ever screened at BAM"

Upcoming:
-The fear of employment upon graduation.

-Wall-E (spoiler: it fucking rules!)

-Crying eagle (the Fourth of July!)

Oh hey, the new Beck leaked today and it's amazing.

Beck - Youthless

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thank You, Will Leitch


Like religion, sports interest me, but the surrounding culture involved make it very, very difficult to continue giving a shit. Especially since, growing up in Connecticut, I was sandwiched between cities with the most irritating of sports fans, Boston and New York. I grew up having to sit with my family and listen to out-of-touch commentators from ESPN, and hockey anchors with the WORST HAIR KNOWN TO MANKIND. Not to mention that 80-90% of sports fans are date-raping retards that care a tad too much about whether "we" won the game last night or not. Sure, I love the spectacle of an NFL or NHL game, and I love the feverish hype surrounding March Madness, but who the hell am I going to talk to it about? Sports moralists that hated Randy Moss until he joined the Patriots? People with a useless knowledge of stats that have no logical application? Very few people I know in real life can have an intelligent, funny, rational conversation about sports. Why bother when everyone around me would rather watch America's Next Top Model than be a "barbarian"?

That's where Deadspin came to save the day. I was a little late to the game, mainly because I spent a bit of time avoiding anything associated with Gawker after getting fatigued. Eventually I noticed that the blog was run by Will Leitch, a name surprisingly familiar to me! While in high school and making 'zines, I had a period in life where I enjoyed a certain kind of blogger, essentially the "first wave" back when no one really knew what a blog was supposed to be. Claire Zulkey, Ben Brown, Lindsayism, Elizabeth Spiers, and the crew at the Black Table. Zulkey (who I once interviewed for Placebo Effect, my old lit mag) linked to some contributions she made to the Black Table, and occasionally I'd browse the other content, mainly the Week in Craig (brilliant). Sometimes I'd stumble upon some other hilarious stuff written by AJ Daulerio and, yes, Will Leitch's "Life As a Loser" column. That whole group of writers set the standards for blogging, and, in retrospect, the Black Table is probably the best example of what makes a blog great: a group of kids with J-School backgrounds that kept some of the old values, threw some away, and added a few irreverent ones of their own.

Anyway, when I realized that the "dude from the Black Table" was running a sports blog, I finally found a way to get back into sports. It had been two years since I moved to Brooklyn, and probably one year since my brother essentially called me a sell-out for no longer watching sports. With Leitch at the helm of Deadspin, I found a voice in the sports media that I could empathize with, and make me approach enjoying sports in a different way, one that seemed tailor-made for my new life amid the wussiest pseudo-hipsters known to man. Hell, where else will you find writing that name-drops the New Republic and the Office while talking about sports. Actually, a lot of blogs now, but Deadspin will always be known as the first and the best. Deadspin was a life-saver, and helped me reconnect with my family during holiday sporting clusterfucks like Thanksgiving and Memorial Day. Hell, it even inspired me to do some sports writing of my own.

Sure, that piece of writing was for a class, but I also had to research the genre I was working in. Thus, I emailed Leitch with some poorly articulated questions that will embarrass me to the day I die. Still, he was gracious and replied no matter how stupid he probably thought they were. My last question was about whether he felt like he was stretching himself too thin by writing in so many places, and how keeps from being cynical. His response was this: "I try to keep my distance from those things whenever possible. Sports is still fun for me, and writing is the most fun thing I do. The minute I start to feel like I'm losing touch with the reason I started the site, I'll quit and write about something else. " Shortly after that little email exchange, Leitch participated in the now-infamous panel with Buzz Bissinger that serves as a microcosm of why mainstream journalism will die via its own ignorance. Will didn't fall to Bissinger's level either, a real class act.

Today is Leitch's last day as editor of Deadspin. He's joining Joe Hagan, David Amsden, and some other brilliant writers as a contributing editor at New York. Before actually joining there, he did some neat Office writeups and a few sports profiles. Let's hope his talent and insight will be put to good use with some hard-hitting long form journalism. Since it's his final week, he's been giving a farewell post each day and so far he's on a roll. Leitch and company have yet to name a replacement, but I trust them, and I'll still visit daily whether he's editor or not. Thank you Will, for everything.

Why? - These Few Presidents

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Step Beyond



As a young lad just entering high school, I was less Kid Pretentious and more Kid Retard Hippie. Sure, I knew about The Beta Band and a few other indie bands, but my big thing at the time was still jam bands, which kind of extended to "new jazz" bands like Medeski, Martin & Wood. Another band in the latter category was Soulive, probably the best of the bunch, when that still seemed to show reverence to the jazzmen of old. They were also quick to embrace hip-hop, enlisting Black Thought of The Roots and Talib Kweli to appear on Next, which was released in early 2002 (or, the beginning of the end of my jam band phase). Overall, I still think it's a decent record - it probably contains the only tolerable song by Dave Matthews (covering Ani DiFranco no less!). But the hip-hop tracks really stood out to me - one of my first exposures to indie hip-hop, or things outside the norm that I heard on the radio.

Sure, most blogging nerds were listening to Quality at the same time I heard Next, but it was an important record for me. Kweli's "Bridge to 'Bama" was remixed by Hi-Tek, one of the collaborations that happened right around when they split. It's probably not the best Kweli song, but it served as a good introduction to somebody who would become one of my favorite rappers, and one that made me more aware of socially conscious hip-hop at a time when my liberalism was just sprouting. So, thank you Soulive, and thank you Talib Kweli for being at the right place at the right time.

This Friday, Kweli is playing a show at the Museum of Natural History curated by Flavorpill (where, yes, I intern). It will be a good opportunity to make up for missing his free show at Pratt as a Freshman. If you see an awkward dude harassing people with a clip board outside, come say hi! See you in the pit.

Talib Kweli - Shock Body

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Everybody Cut Loose


Most people that meet me in person are sort of shocked that I'm a total geek for dance music. Sure, it started innocently enough in high school with rock-friendly acts like the Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, and !!!, but before I knew it, I was listening to the full-fledged disco of Escort and getting down at the unstoppable Daft Punk show in Keyspan Park. If high school Scott met present Scott, he'd totally laugh and say something homophobic about his music taste!

That probably has to do with a cultural shift - the "it" dance sound for a while was dancepunk, rock-friendly dance music or whatever. That was like five years ago - forever! - and now there have been at least two new trends since. For a while (last year) it was all about Justice and the Ed Banger crew, which really didn't have any staying power since it ripped off the worst parts of Daft Punk and made it their focus. That's terrible especially when Soulwax did a better job of that years before!

Everything's about "new disco" these days and I really don't mind. Did you know the Hercules and Love Affair album just came out yesterday? Yeah, me neither. DFA's whole disco revival thing is incredible, and definitely proves their staying power and ability to evolve as dance kings. Holy Ghost! is going to likely eclipse both Hercules and Escort (though their full-length is going to kill it). Aside from unleashing "Hold On" on the dance floor, HG! has also done some incredible remixing on Panther and Cut Copy, but this Moby remix streaming at RCDLBL proves they're something special, combining their synths with Hercules' horns for a classic cut. That EP release can't come fast enough, since they're touring with the Juan Maclean, who will also dominate when their full-length is released this year.

Aside from that, everyone and their headband-wearing hipster grandma is going totally gay for this new Girl Talk album. He gave it away in high quality for free, which is always great. I'm not sure what my official stance on Girl Talk is - it's a fun album, I like some of the mashups, but it's not life-changing or the best thing ever, and it's really irritating to hear anyone call it "brilliant" because recognizing songs is fun. Also, have you ever seen the crowds at a Girl Talk show? Fucking NYU kids. Anyway, this album is less abrasive than Night Ripper, and probably a little better executed. Congratulations on a lasting gimmick, Greg!

Girl Talk - Set It Off

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Reason I'm Moving




How does this even happen?


I currently live on the border of Bed-Stuy, and people like this are very strange to me. If you've taken a bus ride down Myrtle or Dekalb Avenue, you've seen them: massive condos surrounded by crack dens and projects. I've always wondered who, exactly, would want to live in these buildings, and now I've gotten my answer. This New York Times article also focuses on the Mynt (vomit) and reveals something scarier: these people like the way their apartments look. What the fuck are they doing in New York?

It's places like this that prove gentrification and the desire to live in "hip Brooklyn" have gone overboard. The original reason people moved to Brooklyn was because they were priced out of Manhattan despite oftentimes working there. Thus, they moved to places near convenient, Manhattan-destined trains like the L and F (Williamsburg and Park Slope). However, any idea of convenience has been thrown out the window at this point. Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy? Since when does the G train give anyone a convenient ride? We've reached the point of no return. There was a great New York article about reverse gentrification a little while back about people finally realizing that Red Hook is inconvenient and a stupid place to live unless you want to run a factory. Sure, IKEA could change that, but who knows. In five years these lofts will be abandoned, and in ten they'll be crack dens. Things come full circle. Suck on that, Real World cast!

The big move on Saturday just can't come fast enough.

The Notwist - Gloomy Planets

Monday, June 23, 2008

I've Found the World So New


I spent the last four days at my old home in Avon, Connecticut. Now that I live in New York City, I've come to enjoy visiting there for the same reason I despised living there: having nothing to do. Waking up each morning, I could sleep in, enjoy a cup of coffee, and turn my brain off while watching a movie without worrying that there was something else I should be doing. Here are some notes from a weekend of doing nothing.

-Is there anything more miserable than a graduation ceremony? But younger sister's had something like 8 (!) speakers, and seemed about twice as long as my own. Every speech had a line that started "To quote the great...". But the celebration was fun, lots of food and drink, the usual thing you'd expect from a family celebrating the end of boring high school graduation ceremonies.

-Mindless movies thrive in suburbia specifically because there is nothing to do. I finally saw Iron Man, which is perfect at what it aims to be: a fun action flick with some cool explosions and effects. And hey, sober Robert Downey Jr. is pretty funny! Meanwhile, I finally got around to catching Ocean's Thirteen. Ocean's Eleven was my favorite movie in high school, but Ocean's Twelve was a bit of a disaster since the characters became the actors they were played by. The main reason Thirteen works better than Twelve is a return to having actual characters, and even an awesome subplot involving Casey Affleck starting a worker's strike at Mexican manufacturing company. Also, Matt Damon's father is totally played by Gob's surrogate dad!

-Bowling? Yes, bowling. I went to an alley in Torrington that is basically everything that Gutter in Greenpoint wishes it was. We don't know who won because we don't know how to score bowling with a pen and paper. Damn technology! Also, cheap beer! This was followed up with a trip to a nearby 24 hour diner. We are All-American kids!

-Nature. Trees and stuff. It's great.

-Errands without a sense of urgency. I got a new bank account and bought some sushi at a grocery store. Also, Landshark has joined the canon of summer beers, despite the douche factor of being associate with Jimmy Buffet.

While it was good to get away from the city and relax, I'm glad to be back. I'm still young, and I'm still ready to savor it every day. I move to Ridgewood on Saturday.

The Avalanches - Since I Left You

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Send Us Your Coordinates, I'll Send a Saint Bernard



In case you didn't know, Nam Le is currently the new "it" author in the lit world. Two years after his first story debuted in A Public Space, he continued getting published everywhere from One-Story to Zoetrope. Last month marked the publication of his first story collection, The Boat, and the reviews have been pretty damn positive. A lot's been made about the amount of research in the story, the fact that the stories are so strong you'd thinking someone over the age of 29 wrote them. On the other hand, there's been a lot of criticism that the stories are sort of, well, lacking substance and a certain "oomph".

Reading the book, I'd say my opinion is somewhere in the middle. Le's research skills make these stories enthralling. The reason most people seem to think Le is older than he actually is is the fact that most young writers don't bother with copious amount of research. If you're under 40, odds are that you're still writing away your angst with thinly-veiled autobiographies (hey, that's me!) or missing the mark entirely with a poorly-researched story that you think is kind of neat despite its awfulness. We can all learn something from Le, or at least attempt the sort of rigorous seriousness with which he approaches writing a story.

That being said, Nam still has a few kinks to work out when it comes to making us care about his characters or the outcome of his story. Sure, Colombian assassins and Iranian activists make for interesting subjects, but is there anything to take away from either of those stories? As Hari Kunzru said, there are small flourishes that feel like a breath of fresh air throughout. But the thing is, why bother writing a story about something you have no attachment to? It's something I've struggled with over the years: I want to write about what's important to me, and there always needs to be a venue or form that best supports that. If I were to write about Hiroshima, it probably wouldn't be about Hiroshima, etc. Le's biggest emotional impact comes from the already-talked-about-to-death opening story in the collection and "Halflead Bay", which perfectly captures the teenage years in which we are unsure of what we do and why we do it. There's a real connection there: you can tell Le cares about the characters in both of these stories. The others, who knows? He's probably sincere about his intentions, but only gets half of it right.

Frankly, that's OK. No one should be claiming that an author's first seven stories should be incredible, life-changing pieces of work. It's astonishing that he points to the stands like Babe Ruth with every story, and though he may not knock it out of the park each time, he at least hits the literary equivalent of a ground roll double every time. Dear Lord, did I really type that last sentence? Anyway, how many writers under thirty are capable of that? None, probably. "Pride..." and "Halflead Bay", in the end, are a sign of what's to come for Nam Le, the proof that he is going to be a future literary master, and it's necessary that we start paying attention now.

Tonight, Nam Le reads with Leslie Jamison and Keith Lee Morris at Fort Greene Park for APS. Be there or be square!

The Silver Jews - Party Barge

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Beating Another Dead Horse



The new Ratatat album kind of sucks. There, I said it. I'm sure a lot of people have, even when their other albums came out. I enjoyed their self-titled and I thought Classics was pretty good too. Their hip-hop remixes are fucking incredible. And you know what? They should stick to those remixes.

The thing about Ratatat is that their sound can only go so far. Pushing a one-trick pony two albums without people getting sick is commendable. But frankly, with LP3, they've managed to exhaust it. They pushed themselves, but not very far. There's a little experimenting with tribal drums and light strings, but there isn't enough to make this album feel new or worthwhile. This is why the remixes are so good: they were forced to stretch and make a new sound. It would be interesting to see them tackle more remixes now that they've mastered hip-hop. A track like "Shiller" proves that they might have a talent for more ambient tracks, sort of like DFA managing to stretch to make remixes that sounded more like Briano Eno and Arthur Russell than Liquid Liquid.

"Mirando" is one of the better cuts on the new album, and probably the closest they come to something new while maintaining the "Ratatat" sound. However, they're going to need a little more oomph than this "standout" if they want anyone to pay attention to LP4. Better luck next time, fellas!

Ratatat - Mirando

Thursday, June 12, 2008

There is No Such Thing as Parodic Narcissism




For the past eight months or so I've been struggling to figure out how to feel about Keith Gessen.

It was around then that I first saw the man in person as part of the (kind of useless) intro to the workplace class at Pratt. I was regrettably hungover and that's a bad thing for everyone involved, since everyone in the writing program hadn't heard of n+1. I managed to grumble something about James Wood and rant about the New Yorker but I was too tired to make any points. A female classmate tried to hit on him. He talked about hockey so that bumped him slightly respect-wise. I felt bad for some of the bad questions (what do you think of the internet (since I've never read your many internet rants in your magazine)?)

Basically he seemed nice and earnest but probably too earnest for someone in the lit world. A little self-important but you need that to even consider playing the public intellectual card.

A little while after that his name started popping up on Gawker a lot. I told Sharon Emily Gould was probably banging him and she didn't believe me. Ha! Anyway he did a lot of stupid things like that got taken out of context probably.

I haven't read his book (just like everyone that hates on him probably!) and now I probably never will because of his fucking Tumblr. Interviewing himself, getting into petty arguments, taking Gawker too seriously - Sharon's got a post coming about this, but he's pretty much become exactly who he despises: Tao Lin. That might be a little unfair, but there's still a lot of truth to it.

What's really infuriating about this whole Gawker v. Gessen thing is that I even give a shit about him. It's proof that not only Gessen needs to get out of New York but myself as well. On a trip to Connecticut this past weekend it was nice to not have the urge to discuss the death of print of n+1 or anything similar. Gessen needs a vacation, we all do. On his blog he says that we all went to the same six schools and fucked the same people. Obviously not true, but the media world is essentially that: middle school feuds played out on a public stage while everyone outside of this city ignores them. The dinosaurs of print like Graydon Carter and Kurt Andersen are nearly gone, and now they're getting replaced with somehow more boring monopolies that make you wish Gore Vidal was capable of getting his aging fat ass out of a chair.


So please Keith, please listen to that one "pedantic" reader of your blog. Leave the city for a while, stop caring so much about the petty stuff. Hole up in New Hampshire and write about something that matters like politics. Lead the way if bloggers are turning the world into a turd. Honestly, I should be the type that's sympathetic to you: as a straight bookish male, I know it's impossible to say anything in New York without getting called a douchebag by someone. Hell, you're probably still on the shortlist of people that I might tolerate watching sports with in this city. So please, get out of here, write something that matters, and throw the ego out the window for just a little while. Maybe I'll buy you a beer when you come back.

Wilco - How to Fight Loneliness

My New Blogging Technique is Unstoppable



Once again I've been habitually bad about updating. Mainly I've been out and about, battling the heatwave.

Important personal things:
-I'm moving to Ridgewood! Yes, I'm aware that's in Queens. It used to be Brooklyn, though! Mainly I'm excited because Clinton Hill is unaffordable and I'm getting a nice place elsewhere for the price of what you pay for a crack den in my old neighborhood. It's mostly families that keep to themselves. There aren't condos or some crazy rich-poor divide or constant muggings. I'm sure I'll hate it commuting to school in the winter, but whatever man! Excited!

-Flavorpill has been incredible so far. Everyone in the company rules. Here's my first listing.

-I got a job as an "administrative assistant" in the Pratt purchasing department. Mostly I do mundane tasks. I'm there now and for once there's nothing to do. Thus, more blogging to come. The days go by fast.

-Something I've noticed about my media consumption: "news" or "newsworthy" seems to have been relegated to entertainment news (New Muppet Movie! VQR's blog assault!) that I find interesting. Anything involving actual news gets thrown out of my mind quickly. I'm hiding myself because things like Zimbabwe will destroy whatever shreds of earnestness or hope (copyright Obama) I have left in my cynically-beaten-to-death body.


I'm going to zone out for a few minutes and maybe write another post before I go home.

Arms - Kids Aflame

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Builiding


This whole 3 day weekend business was exhausting in the worst possible way.

Future posts:
-NCAA Lacrosse Championship: A Sea of Douchebags!
-Why traveling to Connecticut will always suck.
-How the Virginia Quarterly Review managed to piss off a lot of idiots.
-Something about the ungodly amount of sports my family coaxed me into this weekend.
-Flavorpill
-Why Ratatat should probably stick to remixing.

The Hold Steady - Constructive Summer

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Speaking of That Class...


When does a lie become truth, or a fiction become fact? It’s something to consider while reading Jesse Ball’s first novel, Samedi the Deafness. After reading this book, some might argue that it’s a matter of authority – the way that Ball creates the world that his characters inhabit is so well-thought and imagined that it is hard for readers not to dive into it. The book itself is hard to categorize – a literary meta-mystery-thriller about a mnemonist trapped in a house of liars. A professed fan of Kafka, Ball said in an interview with Hobart of the deceased author “what he's doing is tremendous -- he takes into account the minutest details”. The same can be said of Ball, a poet with two books under his belt. As a poet turning to prose for the first time, the author makes every word count, with every sentence essential to building up the story and moving the plot forward. And despite comparisons to a variety of prominent artists such as Kafka and David Lynch, Ball has managed to create something that feels truly original while also feeling like an homage to his influences.

The story’s protagonist is James Sim, a mnemonist living a fairly ordinary life until a casual walk through the park puts him in grave danger. While on one of his usual strolls, he encounters Thomas McHale, a dying man with multiple stab wounds claiming to have been murdered by Samedi, an increasingly active conspiracy cult. Shortly after investigating both the cult and the murder of this mysterious stranger, Sim is kidnapped by several men that place him in an asylum for chronic liars, one of which the asylum’s director claims is the man he met in the park. What follows is an elaborate world in which Sim cannot tell truth from lie, where one person will contradict the next, all while Samedi and his cult continue to send the rest of the world into a state of panic. Sim is forced to race against time, left with only a few days to discover the truth behind the cult and its connection to his new residence before imminent disaster strikes. This is to say nothing of the small details that make Ball’s peculiar world come to life. The lying asylum is founded on an elaborate series of rules (one of which describes the many different complicated knocks that must precede entering a room) designed to eradicate the truth. If there’s no truth to contradict the lies, they say, then the lies will eventually become true in some sense. This leaves Sim in a very difficult position – his alliances are perpetually in jeopardy from not knowing who to trust – one that leaves him constantly second-guessing himself.

As the suspense builds toward the cult’s suspected doomsday, Sim still can’t seem to resolve anything, instead finding himself caught in a web that goes deeper and deeper the further he digs. While readers will find themselves alongside Sim in an effort to solve this mystery, they’ll also be forced to think about the nature of lying and whether the truth can ever be known in the fullest sense. Ball has done a commendable job of not only making an intriguing storyline, but also exploring in-depth psychological issues in a way that appears both effortless and well-balanced. The impact of lying is explored not only on the scale of global disaster, but also on a personal level – Sim has fallen in love with Grieve, the director’s daughter as well as the asylum’s most notorious liar. Will we believe anything in the name of love, or better yet, will we give in to a lie to save the world?

Unfortunately Ball can’t quite give us the answer. After managing to give a thoroughly satisfying explanation to just who is behind the cult, Ball gives readers an ambiguous, head-scratching conclusion, one that will leave readers wondering and obsessing, reminding them that we can only know so much in this world. Until the intentionally-confusing ending, Ball has created something timeless, a work of art that defies categorization, written without a single clue as to what year it could possibly take place in. Readers will quickly find themselves immersed in the world James Sim attempts to navigate through, and most will find it hard to tear themselves away from the book as soon as it’s opened. Whether they’ll feel complete satisfaction once the book is closed is a matter of debate, but they’ll find themselves questioning everything around them regardless, an appropriate reaction to a book that challenges the conventions of contemporary storytelling.


[Note: Since I wrote this, Ball won the Plimpton Prize...congratulations to him. I still hate the Paris Review, though.]


The Dodos - Red And Purple

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Published!

Hobart has published "A House of Words"! Check it out, and welcome to my blog if you discovered it through them. Be sure to read through the rest of their site...it's pretty great!

Cool Kids - Sup

I Like Money



So, this semester I took a course taught by Craig Morgan Teicher called "Writing for Money". Yes, that is the biggest oxymoron ever. Mostly we wrote book reviews (both of the long and short variety) and then ended by writing about something other than books that might make us money some day. Capsule reviews are a possible way to make money as a student - they usually pay somewhere between forty and eighty dollars depending on the publication, though more often than not you don't get paid at the start. I hope publish some myself in the future (let me know if you can help me out with that). The class also got me thinking...how does one make money as a writer? Last year I read an insanely depressing article by Keith Gessen, who said that the only ways that writers get by are the following ways: academia, journalism, odd jobs, and independent wealth. I also once heard George Saunders say that he only knew three people that made a living by writing [fiction] alone. For now, I fall into the category of odd jobs. Here is what I have done since last summer.

1. I spent last summer as an unpaid intern or A Public Space (hey, I never mention that!) and couldn't find a paying job to work with my schedule or utilize my skills (I don't have any). The only pay I got from APS was free books, free beer, and, when they forced me to barback at a Book Expo party, around fifty dollars in tips.
2. I took surveys and participated in focus groups. I used one service that does online surveys. I don't recommend it. Each survey takes like 20 minutes and pays you around $2.50. You can't cash out until you reach fifty dollars. I made fifty-seven. Then I did a focus group for a really poorly designed and poorly executed social networking site for "artists". They harassed for a while afterward until I deleted my account. They paid me fifty dollars.
3. In the fall, I started writing for Brijit. It's a website that pays you to aggregate newspaper and magazine articles, TV segments, and radio shows into 100 words or less. Then they display it on their website...if your writing is better than the two others aggregating the same article. If your article happens to get accepted, they'll pay you five dollars for a print media abstract or eight dollars for a radio/TV show abstract. About half of my articles were accepted. In three and a half months, I made an amount that sounds large, but given the amount of time it took, is not really all that much. It got tedious and wasn't really worthwhile.
4. Dog walking. My God, dog owners should be considered patrons of the arts in New York City. They mainly employ artists and writers, many of whom charge outrageous sums to walk the dogs of the upper class. I won't disclose how much I make, but I feel it's more than I deserve. Before I started I was nearly out of money, and now I'm doing fine. No worries. I love doing it. The dog I hang out with is also insanely cute:


Anyway, some day I will move beyond odd jobs. Maybe after I graduate next year (what?!?!?!), maybe not, given the job market.

Portishead - Machine Gun