Tag Archives: Digging Lately

I am dragging Michael Ian Black into my windowless van and driving him some place really special so we can finally have some alone-time

Michael Ian Black, the man previously best known for his Taco Flavored Dorito work, is now featured in my blogroll. He’s finally achieved the superstar status he always wanted.

I like Black’s website because he uses it to 1) publish and review his four-year-old daughter’s short stories; 2) promote drinking, gambling, and Don Cheadle; and 3) publicly challenge David Sedaris’s sissy book sales with his own My Custom Van (And 46 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face).

Here is your chance to cheer on David as he battles Goliath, Goliath being the petite gay man with the glasses. Here is your chance to root for the underdog, the underdog being the hunky, six-foot-tall comedian with an illustrious television career and a devoted nuclear family, the overdog being the bookish Frenchman with the shoes made out of baguettes.

Bookforum’s links are amazing

It’s like they were written specifically for me. In the past 24 hours, Bookforum’s links range from interviews about politics with Playboy Bunnies to a comparison of Nietzsche and Derrida to a defense of rom-com fiction to an interview with Jhumpa Lahiri to an analysis of Lil Wayne’s new rap album. And they do that every damn day. While the Bookforum people have already scoured the internet for the most transfixing news in the world, I’m still chewing on my morning toothbrush and trying to figure out what the headless people in my dream signify. But because Bookforum knows me so well, they will probably link to my personal dream diary tomorrow. Those people either employ some extremely weak or some extremely powerful search engines; they can somehow access my whole brain.

The queen of all things shiny and expensive

As of yesterday I own an expensive piece of jewelry, and now I feel like the Queen of Sheba. You shouldn’t try to mug me or anything – the bracelet isn’t that expensive – but it cost more than my Claire’s Boutique accoutrements. It cost at least as much as a cell phone bill, and you can really tell in the way it catches the light. I feel so freaking pretty when I wear it. It drapes beautifully over my athlete’s foot of the wrist (a little gift from my wet watchband). I am going to wear the bracelet so often this summer that I will have a gold bracelet tan to counteract my t-shirt tan. I am going to wear the shit out of this thing. No longer will I be mistaken for a goofy young woman; as of yesterday’s epic trip to the jewelry store, I am a lady. So Beyonce can just retire now. She can put her bling away. There’s more than one lady in town who jingles when she walks.

Thank you, Bunny, for my late graduation present.

This week’s New Yorker is kicking my ass

I want to read every article. I want to read all the “Faith and Doubt” stories, because I basically majored in doubt in college. I want to read the Sex and the City movie review wherein Anthony Lane compares the actresses to thoroughbred horses. I want to read the new Nabokov short story! I want to read the Annie Proulx short story that she awesomely named “Tits-up in a Ditch”! I want to read about how Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami found his road legs and his book-writing arm. I want to read about rapper Lil Wayne nailing his perfect pitch with Auto-Tune. I want to read the funny captions for the photo of an orca in a courtroom.

But here is the problem. And this is embarrassing for a writer to admit. In fact, admitting this will probably destroy my nascent writing career. The New Yorker has too many words. And, as a corollary, I only have one week to read it. And when you consider the pile of half-finished books on my bed-stand and my day job and my television set and my sleeping and my eating and my checking my email 100 times a day, I am actually a very busy girl.

So I’ll get through this exciting issue, but it might not be today, or tomorrow, or even the next time I am early to my therapy appointment. I might have to wait until I am strapped to an ambulance gurney or sent to solitary confinement. But mark my words, I will conquer this New Yorker of June 9 & 16, 2008. Okay, so I honestly just realized it’s a double issue. I feel way better now. Talk to me in two weeks and we can exchange orca lawyer jokes.

Last week’s news for today’s young Americans

David Sedaris wrote a new book of essays. In the days before bloggers got book deals, Dave Secretary told funny stories on the internet. What are the rest of us doing? According to the Times, we’re eating gay fruit. Too bad J.D. Salinger’s girlfriend was only allowed one berry a day. Salman Rushdie let his girlfriend eat all she wanted, then she dumped him and made a career out of food. But I’ll still be the meat in a Rushdie/Martin Amis sandwich.

My main dudes Rushdie and Amis

Libertarian paternalism is the doctrine of mildly manipulating people to make wise decisions. So if you paint a fly in a urinal, men will improve their aim. If you narrow the space between the yellow lines, people will slow their cars around bends in the road. So far it seems that Thaler and Sunstein (the philosophy’s authors) are using their powers for good and not evil. But this could all change with the right influential touches. See Richard Ross’s photos from “The Architecture of Authority.” Just throw some blankets over the windows and pave over the carpet, and you’ve got yourself a prison riot.

Everyone take a moment to appreciate Cabinet Magazine online. See “Days I’ve Been Alive Represented by Dots” by Ron Lent. I want to see inside those dots! See “Vasectomania, and Other Cures for Sloth.” As long as we’re curing sloth, here’s “The Web Habits of Highly Effective People,” featuring the ultra-productive Maud Newton.

Did you know that “less than 5% of the artists in the modern art sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female“? So ladies, it might be easier to get your bare butt into the Met than into Playboy. This is no time to give up on getting naked. Speaking of art, artists and art critics at Minnesota’s The Rake have teamed up to form The Vicious Circle. The Circle’s blog seeks to bridge the acrimonious divide between creators and creative critics. This will be especially interesting if you happen to live in Minneapolis, and I know that some of you do. What’s the weather doing over there? How’s the local sports team?

Old people: what are they good for? This geriatric MD believes “older people are the healthiest people on the planet.” Plus they’re far more adaptable than young people. Plus their legs grow back when you cut them off! Or at least that’s what my grandmother has been telling us since the surgery.

Lastly, watch how negative space can create poetry. Ponder what this means for art, and for the world, and for the cereal box on your kitchen counter. “whole grain/sun-sweetened/high blood pressure/www.kashi.com.” This is harder than it looks.


Web 2.0 and all my extra brainage

This is a profoundly geeky thing to blog about, but perhaps it will widen my fan base to include online gamers and Wikipedians, my most neglected demographic.

Web 2.0 guru Clay Shirky recently published a book entitled Here Comes Everybody. I am dying to read this book due to the persuasive strength of “Gin, Television, and Social Surplus,” a talk the author gave at a nerd conference last week.

Shirky believes that modern society functions with a massive cognitive surplus, a surplus we primarily devote to drinking liquor and watching TV. But recently Web 2.0 – the gospel of society’s consuming, producing, and sharing information instead of just idly absorbing it – has engaged this cognitive surplus in a more worthwhile way. Now people can devote millions of hours to debating the planetary integrity of Pluto on the internet, whereas 15 years ago those same hours would have been spent on sitcom reruns.

This, believe it or not, is progress. Information is becoming more inclusive than exclusive, more interactive than inactive, more loving sex partner than life-size blow-up doll. But we can still lament the ’90s brain drain of thousands of MTV hours, time that I could have passed blogging, or that you could have passed reading and commenting on my blog.

Everything an online social network should be

Congratulations to the brains behind the presumably fake Frrvrr.com.

Frrvrr uses cutting-edge technology to identify topics you might be interested in based on your browsing history, public records, health records, email activity, legal filings, and web profiles. Frrvrr then directs you to those topics and connects you with similar-minded people.

It’s enough to strike fear into the heart of every web surfer.

When you sign up, Frrvrr’s AvaTroll Acceleratorâ„¢ will download itself onto your desktop and begin cataloguing your web history, or “webtory,” from the past eight months. Once it gathers all of your information, it creates a personalized avatar of you based on the snapshot of you gleaned from web usage and sites visited.

No one wants to look into that mirror. Frrvrr is the absurd conclusion to the booming personalization business. Technology will know you better than you know yourself. You’re not surprising anyone with your love for awfulplasticsurgery.com. That love was mapped out years ago when your web surfing algorithm incorporated your encrypted medical records. And incidentally, we think you’re gay.

Digging lately

In the tradition of ripping off McSweeney’s, here is a list of things I’m digging lately.

1. The movie Charlie Bartlett. It’s a little overly neat, but there’s nothing wrong with an hour and a half of poetic justice. It’s a charming film about a quirky high schooler, but it made my day like Juno didn’t. It’s funny and heartwarming, it’s got Robert Downey Jr. in it, and the kids actually act like kids for the most part. Gustin Nash, the film’s writer, is also adapting Youth in Revolt. I can’t wait.

2. This New Republic review of What Is the What by Dave Eggers. When culture critics mourn the death of the book review, I want to direct them to this fine piece of writing.

3. Bananas. They are so good. I must have a potassium deficiency.

4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This FX show got so little publicity and so few viewers in its first season that the producers had to recruit Danny Devito in order to raise its celebrity quotient. Danny Devito. But it turns out he’s hilarious. Why isn’t Devito in more stuff? I think It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will do for Devito’s career what Pulp Fiction did for John Travolta’s.

5. Taking out the compost.

5. My new C.L.A.W. t-shirt, designed by Thomas Dean. Get ’em while they’re hot. Next arm wrestling match is March 11th at the Blue Moon Diner.

6. Being off the sauce. It’s really not so bad once you get used to it. Last night I craved a margarita, but I just ate five pounds of tortilla chips instead. Alcohol has been one of my biggest expenses, and I am now free to spend this month’s savings on dental bills and car insurance payments. It’s a sumptuous reward for all my hard work.

7. Good & Plenty’s. Because I have a lot of siblings, I quickly learned to love relatively unpopular candies like licorice and Necco Wafers. This way, no one would get into my stash. I know it’s a Machiavellian tactic, but Catholics have to find some way to get ahead in their families.