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From now on, I can be found at my new (proper dot com!) website,

Tue, 10 Dec 2013 17:14:00 -0500


From now on, I can be found at my new (proper dot com!) website,

Once more, harsh reality restored him to his senses

Fri, 23 Nov 2012 11:45:39 -0500


The main problems with people as economic beings are that they have irrationally boundless expectations, zero patience, zero tolerance for embarassment, the conviction that they are smarter than everyone else, and the belief that repeated observation validates anomalies, even when the anomalies are cray.

Basically, the trick to participating in any market is to think “What would Kanye do?” and then do the opposite.

If you’ve ever been interviewed or quoted before, you know that it rarely turns out how you want

Tue, 13 Nov 2012 09:33:00 -0500


My younger brother Ned is currently teaching in Indonesia. He appeared in a local newspaper with the following blurb.

“There is a great community among both teachers and students at SMAN1, especially when compared to schools in the US. The students here demonstrate such togetherness that they are constantly cheating off each other. Hehe.”

This super-annoying version of “Flight of the...

Fri, 09 Nov 2012 13:31:00 -0500

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This super-annoying version of “Flight of the Bumblebee” is my favorite soundtrack for the completion of unpleasant tasks.

Sorry in advance!

Let's pause and revisit the rules

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 08:41:36 -0400


Pretty much the definition of a losing game to weigh in this, but: are you joking?

To back up a moment, the outlines of this story are:

-A random anonymous Twitter user posts (intentionally) inaccurate information about Sandy
-Credible news sources take the information and run with it
-The anonymous Twitter user is “outed” and threatened with prosecution

In his Intel post, Adam Martin notes in passing that the error-filled tweets “are the kinds of things that make their way into news reports”. But these things do not “make their way” into anything. Reporters put them there. You don’t snatch information from a rando Twitter account and then blame the rando Twitter account for your choice to disseminate rumors.


This is embarrassing for everyone involved, but it’s not a story. Twitter is full of terrible people who can be blamed for many things. Reporters doing slipshod work under pressure is not one of those things.

Tai Chi will be postponed until next Sunday

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 12:49:00 -0400


On Monday in lower Manhattan the weather is hovering at the “annoying” level of severity—as in, it is annoying to walk to Duane Reade while getting t-boned by wind tunnels. Police cars are lined up outside the evacuation center near my apartment, which is located inside a high school. A sign taped to the door says TAI CHI WILL BE POSTPONED UNTIL NEXT SUNDAY.

People have reacted differently to the impending Hurricane Sandy. Some are skeptical, citing the false alarm of Irene (the NYCHA buildings I can see from my house seem pretty well occupied). Some are skittish, filling bathtubs with water. Some are wearily apocalyptic. There are many emotional states with which to face a hurricane.

From a native West Coast perspective, this is all very weird. The signature West Coast calamity, after all, is the major earthquake, which everybody reacts to in exactly the same way (shock) because no one sees it coming. There’s zero opportunity for preemptive naysaying or performative readiness or even panic. There’s just the quake itself and then, immediately, the aftermath.

This second kind of disaster is obviously easier to bear. For one thing, dry disasters are less jarring than wet disasters. For another thing, earthquake scenarios are not conducive to finger-pointing in quite the same way that forecasted disasters (like hurricanes) are. You can’t accuse earthquake victims of negligent ill-preparedness or smug underestimating. As far as Man vs. Nature battles go, earthquakes have a pretty high degree of moral clarity about them. (We all know which team we’re on.)

Circumcision and SSRIs With Jemima Kirke

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 09:58:00 -0400


I spent 69 minutes with Jemima Kirke for New York magazine.

Always thought

Mon, 22 Oct 2012 13:56:00 -0400

This little dude would make a great Halloween costume.


Behold my fixed gaze

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 17:12:42 -0400


As I was preparing to leave work I ran into B, wet-haired and in leggings, fresh from the gym. She asked if she could walk me out. When we got downstairs, she asked if she could walk me to the corner. And when we got to the corner, she asked if she could walk me home.

It wasn’t until she left that a banal/momentous thought occurred to me: this is what it means to be loved!

Specifically, it means that a person wants to be around you for no reason.

What an interesting thought. For many people, it is probably an intuitive thought. But for another type of person—the type who spends 80% of her time trying to elude observation, say—it’s a complete novelty, even when love-type feelings are present.

Mystical cosmetics

Sat, 13 Oct 2012 13:33:05 -0400


I woke up the other day drenched in disapproval of my apartment. I still don’t know the secrets of decorating. I’ve broken two glasses and a lamp in the past week, so I ordered an unbreakable paper lantern. But the lantern, when it arrived, was comically oversized and shaped like a potato bug. It seemed representative of my shortcomings.

How does a person learn to decorate? Is it by passive absorption or do people sit down at some point with a stack of magazines and teach themselves the rules of successful furnishing and arranging? Of scale? Of compromises made between form and function?

I’m able to dress myself okay. I understand color and proportion when it comes to my body—an irregular-shaped thing—but not when it comes to a tiny rectangular room. Why?

This worried chain of thought strikes down every couple of months, and at the end of it are two possible and opposing convictions. Sometimes I wind up convinced that habitat is important and I should figure out how to make a decent living space, dammit. Other times I wind up concluding that I’m 25 and what 25-year-old has a satisfactory/clean apartment, anyways? The problem is either insurmountable or it doesn’t need to be surmounted at all.

This may change when I turn 26.

Wife cakes

Sat, 29 Sep 2012 14:38:57 -0400


I set my alarm for 5 AM and woke, as one does in these situations, two hours early in a state of...

Thu, 27 Sep 2012 11:54:00 -0400


I set my alarm for 5 AM and woke, as one does in these situations, two hours early in a state of frantic anticipation. My draft was due. I didn’t try going back to sleep because I knew it wouldn’t work.

Since I now had a “credit” of two hours, I spent one of those hours cleaning the house. It’s funny how dirt varies regionally in a small apartment: floor dirt is gray, kitchen dirt is orange, window dirt is black, etc. After cleaning I put on elaborate eye makeup and an indifferent outfit, then walked to the office. Here I sat alone and worked for five hours until my coworkers started trickling in. As the office whirred to life, I mentally switched into ‘office’ mode, which means that I unplug certain parts of my brain and hot-wire others.

By 10 AM I was referring constantly to a set of instructions typed on my computer: DRINK LOTS OF WATER, TAKE WALKS. I keep the instructions in my To Do list as a hedge against future bad moods, and they seldom work because I rarely obey them.


Tue, 25 Sep 2012 16:39:02 -0400


Never a rule without exceptions

Mon, 24 Sep 2012 16:42:00 -0400


At 4:15 PM, Jarrett wheels over.

“Today doesn’t feel like a Monday,” he says.


“It feels like a Tuesday.”

It does.

“Which is weird,” he says, “because Tuesday doesn’t have a feeling.”


Jarrett wheels back to his desk and recommences typing.

A few seconds pass.

“I feel bad for Tuesday,” he says, softly.

More typing.

“It should try to get a feeling.”

Adulthood meant coffee in a thermos, high heels, spinny chairs, and leadership training— not muddy knees.

Fri, 21 Sep 2012 16:57:00 -0400


The story I wrote for ELLE magazine? It’s not online yet, but here is a PDF, if you like.

Wallflower at the orgy

Wed, 12 Sep 2012 00:51:22 -0400


A little while ago I took a train to Long Island City and sat in a corner for several hours while a porn shoot took place. This was for a New York piece that I was reporting. The shoot, which took place on a winter afternoon, was scheduled to culminate in a five-man gangbang. Since sex without a trace of intimacy tends toward either the goofy or the dismal, I’d prepared myself for a goofy afternoon.

Mostly I’d prepared myself with practical questions, because there is so much to wonder about with porn models.

For example, how would they get to the shoot—by subway? Cab? It was freezing outside. Would they have eaten breakfast? What were their pre-sex rituals—bath, shower, moisturize—what?

Are porn actors instructed in these things when they start out, or do they figure it out all on their own?

Is there a handbook?

Are they nervous?

Do they take Viagra, or a vitamin supplement, or a homeopathic erection-maker? What do they feel like the next day—sore? Is it like a hangover, where you take two Advil before bed and hope for the best?

A few days after the shoot, I called one of the models, Kennedy Carter, to ask him these questions. When he picked up the phone, Carter was on the front steps of the library on 5th Ave, where he’d been studying. Not only did he *not* tell me to fuck off, but he answered every question I asked. What a mensch.

First, he explained, he took a car service to the shoot. If slated to be a bottom, he skips breakfast and takes an Immodium. If he’s a top, it doesn’t matter what he eats. In either case he goes to the gym in the morning and drinks no water (which helps him look more defined). He showers the morning of the shoot but prefers to shave his balls two or three days prior; otherwise, the skin reddens. There’s no handbook for porn stars. He is not sore the next day.

Aren’t you glad to know?

There wasn’t a place (or a reason) to put this stuff in the story, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more pleased with a recon mission.

Muddy bottoms

Wed, 05 Sep 2012 12:56:00 -0400


A year ago, for no good reason, a friend and I spent several weeks reading out loud to each other from a lurid book called The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde. It had a yellow cover and a prose style that was like—I don’t even know. Like yarn drenched in corn syrup. It was a terrible, terrible book.

For my part, I read it because I wanted to figure out why the country had become obsessed with these two figures. Was it their beauty? No! The real Bonnie and Clyde were runts with pinched faces. Was it their criminal élan? No! The real Bonnie and Clyde were cruel in the way that children are cruel, which is to say boringly and uncomplicatedly so. Their entire career of mayhem seemed to consist of pointing at people and laughing, except that the pointing was aiming and the laughing was shooting.

Ha ha.

Anyhow, my friend and I got through 60% of the book before we abandoned it. We’d gotten the point. Here was the point: Clyde liked calling Bonnie sugar, and Bonnie enjoyed eating canned beans, and together they randomly killed a lot of people.

The book was not exactly rich in analysis.

There were two themes, however, that cropped up often enough to warrant mention.

The first was that Bonnie and Clyde obtained, from the start of their spree, an insane degree of notoriety, which they clearly enjoyed. The second was what I already mentioned, which is that they were mad dumb. I can’t overstate this second theme. If The Sound and the Fury hadn’t been published a few years earlier, you could make a very convincing case that Benjy Compson, the “idiot” of Faulkner’s novel, was in fact a composite of Bonnie and Clyde: his compromised sense of chronology; his limited but debilitatingly extreme urges; his unintelligibility—it’s all there.

Bonnie and Clyde, at any rate, were people whose lives were defined by 1) a hunger for fame and 2) stupidity. Add greed to the equation and you wind up with a pair of villains that is despicable, relatable, and unsquashably American. They were basically the Kardashians of their time, but with a different type of casualty.

So, mystery solved.