Stunt journalism, pumpkin spice, and me

Image: Mike Mozart, Jeepers Media, FLICKR

Stunt journalism has always seemed fun to me in a way that acknowledged part of what you were doing was ridiculous and self-indulgent, but you were going to take the reader along for a fun ride anyway.

Sometimes the story is super great, like when Nicole Cliffe tried out Joe Manganiello’s diet and exercise routine for Elle, immediately prompting many readers to Google “cum gutters”. Or when John Jeremiah Sullivan went to Disney World for the New York Times Magazine. Or when Bruce Arthur detailed his multi-day quest to get to Rio for the first day of this year’s Olympics. (Which wasn’t so much a stunt as it was a detailed chronicle of how far travel arrangements can go off the rails.)

But too often, the stories are bad and the reader’s personal comments about their own feelings and thoughts are unnecessary.  Continue reading “Stunt journalism, pumpkin spice, and me”

New career milestone!

In the grand scheme of things, I am a nobody. I have a moderate amount of Twitter followers, but not that many compared to many people I know. Most of the time, I hope I make people laugh with goofy jokes and occasionally cheer them up with photos of Noodle. “How can anyone hate pictures of a cute dog?,” I thought.

I was wrong, apparently. Continue reading “New career milestone!”

It’s hard to blog (and why I’m trying anyway)


Image: Jonathan Rolande, Flickr

I started blogging 15 years ago. I started with TeenOpenDiary in high school (now dead), OpenDiary (also dead), Livejournal (2003-2010), Blogger (2003-2006), then WordPress since 2009. Thousands of words typed into the internet. Sporadic bursts of updates and enthusiasm, then fatigue at chasing views and feedback through comments. Lots of wondering if anything I said had any value, or would have been better served writing in a paper journal instead.

And then I found Twitter in December 2008. Continue reading “It’s hard to blog (and why I’m trying anyway)”

A Cool Girl™ on my own terms

One of the best literary rants ever published in modern literature is in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)

Continue reading “A Cool Girl™ on my own terms”

The unavoidable cost of moving

No matter what, moving is expensive. There’s the cost of time: sorting through your belongings, figuring out what you want to put in storage, what you want to bring to the new place, what you’re going to sell at a garage sale or donate and give away. Continue reading “The unavoidable cost of moving”

Mistakes & lessons for other people

I almost started a fire in my apartment over the weekend. I thought the bottom compartment of my gas stove was just like every electric oven I’ve ever used: where you put your aprons and extra pans. I quickly learned it was not. Continue reading “Mistakes & lessons for other people”

And you may find yourself

…and you may ask yourself, how did I get here?
-Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime”

I’ve been in New York for two weeks. It’s long enough for me to fill a kitchen with the necessities, unpack my stuff, and for things to finally sink in. That I live here. That I go to Columbia. I can plan to do things and see friends weeks from now. The dream is finally real, and now it’s time to get to work.  Continue reading “And you may find yourself”