Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why I love Tina Fey

David Foster Wallace

I made a snarky comment to my friend about New School writing students and David Foster Wallace yesterday. I guess I should shut my mouth from now on:

David Foster Wallace, whose darkly ironic novels, essays and short stories garnered him a large following and made him one of the most influential writers of his generation, was found dead in his California home on Friday, after apparently committing suicide, the authorities said.

Via Jessa, Paco, and Carl Kasell.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

projects

Lynda Barry recently inspired me to work on a long-form article on certain comics and their "story power." I wish I could post some sort of context to this thought, but the Best American Comics 2008 anthology won't be on the shelves until maybe October, and I don't want to get in some sort of legal trouble by spoiling anything. Regardless, amidst going back to school one night a week, keeping up the interviewing, and editing/writing Spanish lessons, I'll be doing some intense reading and re-reading to create something special come November.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Adventures in Housing

I was supposed to move into my apartment two weeks ago. The day before the big move, the apartment failed its plumbing inspection. Now I'm living in a temporary space under the same landlord on Greenpoint Avenue. This is my week in pictures:








As you can see, the boob light slowly filled with water, warped the ceiling, and thusly peed out the nipple into a garbage can.

Then, earlier in the week, I was greeting by a rainbow outside my window. Right over the Live Poultry Slaughter across the street….



Will J'Amanda murder her landlord?

Will Erik finish his Portuguese phrasebooks?

Will John overcome his psychosomatic phantom bedbug bites?

Tune in next time to see how our tawdry heroines fight their way into a real home!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm technically on vacation from blogging, so I'm not supposed to be here. Right?

While I focus on a Berlitz book or two (yes, that Berlitz), I'll be away from Bookslut.com. Expect to see the Indie Heartthrobs come back in September. First Monday of the month!

For now, enjoy an oldie or two.

In other news, I went to my first gay wedding (ladies) the other day in my boyfriend's back yard in Park Slope. I had never had Trader Joe's wine before (something about $3-$5 wine makes me wary), but DAMN that stuff can come in handy when you have to pack maybe 75% of the people you know into a small (but so pretty) space.

I also shouldn't mention that I passed out on Bobby's shoulder and drooled a little when he tried to show me Paprika. But who's keeping tabs, really, other than me?

Yes, I'm going to be that fag...

...Estelle Getty died :-(

My mom brought me up on The Golden Girls. Yes, it was cheesy, but it at least contributed (in the slightest, ever so slightest, amount) to who I am.

Here's to you Sophia.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This is me utilizing Good Reads features. It looks lame on blogger, doesn't it?

Daughters of the North: A Novel (Paperback) Daughters of the North: A Novel by Sarah Hall


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
I haven't been engrossed in a book like this since Oh Pure and Radiant Heart. I was really afraid to finish it, since I wouldn't have anything left for the subway every day. I'm even considering clinging to the "PS" material [interviews, essays, etc] just to keep this one going for a little longer.


View all my reviews.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Great Brooklyn Bed Bug Scare



Thank you, Brooklyn, for your bed bug registry websites and your bed bug scares and your making me ask my broker about bed bugs.

My roommate found this in our bathroom. It's tiny. Super tiny. First reaction? Bed bug.

After a few ghost itches and freakouts involving moths, we did that thing you're not supposed to do where you research bed bugs. Then we found out it's just a "spider beetle," and that people in Brooklyn freak out when they see them and think they're bed bugs.

Again. Thank you, Brooklyn, and fuck you.

EDIT: We even caged the bastard in a plastic prison. Just in case.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The quickest hunt

I found an apartment with my brother and Amanda today. Right around the block. Lease amended, signed, and all.

I'm tempted to go against everything I believe in and get cable again. Maybe we can arrange it so I can be charged by the hour if I venture outside specific stations. This really can't be good. Especially if I'm having my change of heart because of this:



I can't wait to do this in a spacious bedroom!

Friday, July 04, 2008

...and if you've ever worked with languages, you will love this.

Then again, I think the phrase "herdy gerdy gerdy" is the greatest thing since sliced bread (sliced bread having been invented in the previous year).

A glimpse into my day life...

Two terms I wish to never hear again:

*"high-frequency words"

*"Castillian lisp"

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

re: my last post

It also just came to my attention that Peter was arrested at the end of May as one of the parishioners trying to pray on Africa Day in Harare. This is via the blog This is Zimbabwe.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Unbowed

With all that's going on surrounding Robert Mugabe's recent fraudulent election in Zimbabwe, I want to point everyone's attention towards Peter Godwin, my former professor at the New School and a Zimbabwe native. Having written for National Geographic as a means of free travel fare to visit his family in past times of turbulence, Godwin also wrote the memoir When a Crocodile Eats the Sun which chronicles some of Mugabe's exploits in the last decade.

Godwin was interviewed last week on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show alongside Chaka Ngwenya, director of SARFM radio in NYC. While extremely informative, it also became an extremely emotional segment that kept me from my editing duties at my day job. I suggest everyone take the time and listen at WNYC. You can also locate the segment on the WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show podcast via iTunes.

See Zimbabwe: Trouble at Home at WNYC

Also, see my own interview with Godwin from last year at Bookslut. He gives a lot of information with regards to his background here.

EDIT: If you can't get the podcast to work, contact me in the comments section and I will send you the mp3.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Liz Miele

I just wanted to help out a friend and say that Liz Miele (a close personal friend of mine) will be making her television debut tonight on Comedy Central's Live at Gotham. She's the only female comic on the episode (that still bothers me that they do that regularly), and, frankly, I think she and like one of the other comics this week are the only funny people that will be appearing tonight. This includes Theo Von. Yes. Theo. From Road Rules. Remember how he played the racist character on the show who redeemed himself? Well, it looks like it didn't last.

If it's any consolation, the power went out halfway through his set during the taping. They made him start over, and the planted audience members really shined with how well they can force laughter. I'd love to be paid to slap my knee and have it come off as genuine.

You'll also see the back of my head about 8,000 times on tonight's episode. Maybe once or twice during Paul Ogata's set you'll see me shaking my head in pure disgust at the planted laugh-girl sitting at the table in front of me. We get it. Asian jokes. Did she really find them that funny, or was it the booze and free money she was laughing about?

Anyway, check out Liz's profile on comedycentral.com and tune in tonight. There are a few more clips floating around on the Live at Gotham website.

Here's a deleted scene:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bookslut Indie Heartthrob of the Week

I'm a day late with this week's announcement, but Bookslut's Indie Heartthrob of the week is none other than my roommate, Nick Sumida. Check out the interview at Blog of a Bookslut, check out some comix, and spread the love!

Bookslut's Indie Heartthrob Interview Series

A weekly interview series where someone involved in the small press (be it writer, editor, slush slave, etc.) is thrown into the spotlight, grilled over the state of the independents and sundry other items, and quickly made to return from whence they came after having graced us all with their presence.

This Week: Nick Sumida

I'm going to be blunt: Nick is my roommate. I've known him for quite a while now, and I had the opportunity to watch him refine his work as a cartoonist. He recently put out a new zine called Broken Piñata (if you have the means, pick it up. Seriously. Read it.), and he has much more in store this summer. Check out his work at Doggy Hey Light Comix. While you're at it, go ahead and contact him through the comment feature on his blog for a copy of Broken Piñata. The uptight can just email him.

You just put out a new zine called Broken Piñata. How far back in your career does this cover?

The Broken Piñata zine basically collects some of the work I've done in school from 2007 and 2008. I've made a lot of zines in the past, but this is the first collection of work I'm really proud of. It's sort of jarring to think of it as the beginning of my career in that respect, because I still think of myself as a student trying to figure out what I want to do. When the word career enters the equation for me, it's like the scary real world is that much closer.

How do you think the zine movement is helping young artists like yourself?

I think the zine movement is great for young artists in that it's void of the third party editorial process and forces you to be resourceful. I think people can be really creative when working around limits, like having a low budget and only two hands to put things together. It's a really personal and earnest way for someone to share their work with their peers, publishers, and the public. Also, since there's so much out there, it's a real challenge to stand out, so you see a lot of people incorporating strange design elements or, say, paper made out of bald eagle feathers or something. For me, the zine movement also provides a gradual way to get used to letting my work go and feeling gratified with people seeing it.

More at Blog of a Bookslut.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The shoes you lent me, they don't seem to fit the same.

While I try to juggle building a webzine, turning a company into a small press (how? HOW?!), interviewing authors, and developing children's books with queer/feminist leanings, I try to find ways to keep grounded, ways to bind those little nooks in my brain so they don't unravel and leave a weird film all over the place. This week I dug under my bed and found the album that defined my adolescence, for better or for worse. And that album was...


theSTART's Shakedown!

I don't know if anyone else remembers this or if I'm the only one at this point, but this was maybe one of the first albums in that annoying wave of new-new wave back in 2001. But it was good. Really fucking good. Throw in a little No Doubt, a little Immaculate Collection, a little Siouxsie Sioux from her Superstition era, and you've got Aimee Echo telling me to put on some new dancing shoes and dance to whatever I want to dance to. It was like a poppier version of the Footloose moral.

Aside from all that, looking back I realize that this was also a bizarrely positive record to be into for some little goth kid in New Jersey (I left those clothes in my hometown years ago, so stop worrying). Like I said before, Echo had the whole dance to whatever etc. etc. deal going as well as some simple yet thought-provoking lyrics (a love song to the beings from above in "Communion," love as a sticky syrup metaphor in "Gorgeous," Echo and the Roman goddess Nemesis in "Nemesis").

And now I've been walking all over Greenpoint and possibly rupturing my eardrums with these happy pop songs from my past. It makes me wish I was 17 again. Almost, but not really.

If I figure out how to share some of these songs, I will. Blasted blogger.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This week's Indie Heartthrob is...



My latest choice for Bookslut's Indie Heartthrob is David Ohle, author of the cult 1972 novel Motorman and it's follow-up (almost 30 years later) The Age of Sinatra, as well as the forthcoming bookend to the trilogy, The Pisstown Chaos.

In our interview, Ohle tells me about his time working with William S. Burroughs, Jr. in Kansas as well as his approach to writing as a tradesman:

From the interview:

Tell me about your time with Burroughs in Kansas. Had working with him on his memoir influenced your fiction?

I met Burroughs when I moved to Lawrence in 1984 and hung out with him once or twice a week until his death. I cooked dinner for him on Thursday nights, took him to the methadone clinic in Kansas City on occasion (where he picked up a "six pack" for the week), took him fishing and target shooting (I fished, he shot). I also transcribed a few of his novels from manuscript to computer files (Western Lands, Queer, The Cat Inside). A rumor has persisted that I somehow transcribed his dreams, but it's not true. I'd like to say that his writing had no influence on mine, but that may not be true either. If any of his writing influenced me, it would have to be Queer and Junkie, the two works of his I most admire for their starkly simple, straightforward style. (I wrote a screenplay adaptation of Queer, which Steve Buscemi initially optioned, but it has never been made.) His fame as a writer aside (Bill never talked about that), he was a very smart guy, a razor-sharp wit, and funny as hell. We were friends. I wrote a more complete account of my times with Burroughs called Mutate or Die: With Burroughs in Kansas, published by The Beat Scene Press. I've also published (Soft Skull, 2006) a memoir of Burroughs' son, Billy, called Cursed from Birth.


Check out the rest of the interview at the Blog of a Bookslut.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I've been asking myself lately why I have a subscription to the New York Review of Books. I don't read it. My roommates don't read it. I don't know anyone else who reads it. Is it a lit snob thing, or is it just because they offered me a discount?

I'm thinking of getting my ears lowered for my birthday. Other than that the day is up in the air. Maybe I'll treat myself to laundry service rather than doing it myself. Maybe I'll buy myself another book I'll never read. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll throw my phone out the window and watch Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Repeatedly.

Monday, March 31, 2008

[insert cheesy, nostalgic entry title here]



Today's officially the last day of business for Barnes & Noble's Chelsea location, store #2538. I spent way too long there, but I still have a soft spot for the old place. I also hate it with an unyielding passion.

That's why I'm having such a blast with Alex Robinson's graphic novel Box Office Poison. Now that I have the distance I need from my experience at the store, I can read this and truly appreciate the protagonist's self-satisfying stagnation as a bookseller making minimum wage. Because seriously, who's ever really stuck at a shitty job like that unless deep down they just want to have something to complain about? Sure, my former coworkers and I were "afraid" to leave and thus forfeit those $7 an hour and benefits, but didn't we all get off just a little on complaining about the Dragon Lady in the green [insert: manager's] room?

Plus, we got to work with the lecherous and creepy gay priest. "Lech" really is the word. His frock was off-white, too. More of a cream color. I really ought to Ghost World him soon. [Think of the satanists in the supermarket and you'll understand what I mean]

There will be an in-store potluck after closing. As a former employee, I've been invited, uninvited, and un-uninvited due to what the regional bigwigs call "liability issues." In that case, maybe I'll smash a PDT scanner into an empty display case, just for a laugh.

Which reminds me of a fantasy I had that, if I were still working there on the final day, we'd chase the customers out of the store while brandishing PDTs and destroying displays and fixtures, sweeping a table or two, and ultimately imploding the building before skipping arm in arm, naked, around the smoldering ruins.

Let's see what happens at 6pm.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bookslut's latest heartthrob: NPR's Dave Isay

My latest entry into the Bookslut Indie Heartthrob Interview Series is NPR's Dave Isay (founder and director of StoryCorps and Sound Portraits). Go check out the interview over at the Blog of a Bookslut.

From the interview:

We've recorded 18,000 interviews with 35 or 36,000 participants. I think the piece we aired this morning [March 21, 2008] on Morning Edition was un-fucking believably powerful. Did you get a chance to hear it? I thought it was a piece that really knocked my socks off, particularly taken in the context of Senator Obama's speech on Tuesday. The story we recorded was part of our Griot initiative, this at-large African American oral history tour that we've been on for the past year where we've recorded the stories of about 2,000 African American families. It's the largest African American oral history project since the slave narratives were recorded in the 1930's by the WPA. This is a story from our last stop a couple of weeks ago in Montgomery, AL, and you just gotta listen to it. It's pretty amazing.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Who has Jerry Orbach's eyes?

Can somebody tell me? I'd really like to know.

Monday, February 25, 2008

So, how did Persepolis lose that other movie? About the rat? That cooks?

Oh yeah... Pixar.

Maybe I should go to bed before the room starts to spin.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Look at me, all authory like I know shit

I just got my first children's book cover back. I'd post the artwork if Scott Foresman didn't own the shit out of it.

Oh well.

Someone remind me to forward it to Kathleen Hanna. I think she'd get a hoot out of this.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Musicophilia

I know I'm late to join the bandwagon, but here's a new musical obsession as of yesterday:


My Brightest Diamond will be playing at BAM on February 22nd. I might have to go.

And these lovely ladies will be playing sometime soon on the lower east side with a full orchestra. You really can't go wrong with an album that has an overarching narrative about an alternate history featuring Thursday October Christian as a rebellion figure defending the Pitcairn island against the insidious blimp army forces of Mary Todd Lincoln, Queen of Florida.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Right now I'm reading Laura Flynn's Swallow the Ocean and I really can't put it down. I was a little weary reading the flap, which describes it as another memoir about insane parents, but I'm really loving this. Which makes me worry about becoming a voyeuristic reader. Don't let me do that. Really. Punch me in the back of the head or something if I end up actively reading heavily edited memoirs by autistic children who underwent a lobotomy or two in their lifetime. I can think of two off the top of my head, which worries me greatly.

Then again, I can reread Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Amy Fusselman's 8: All True: Unbelievable over and over again.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Bookslut Threefer

I had three articles published in the past 24 hours

Over at the Blog of a Bookslut, check out my interview with Peter Cole, Editor-in-Chief for the new literary magazine Keyhole.

And in the February issue of Bookslut, check out two interviews:
An Interview with Lydia Millet
"George Bush, Dark Prince of Love and Everyone’s Pretty are books that are encased in a kind of protective seal of cynicism. Both of them were quite planned, structurally. But since I wrote those I’ve moved from writing in a hard way to writing in a soft way. I don’t plan and I allow myself to move in and out of satire, to play with stereotypes and also delve more deeply into character, to try to contain both humor and more serious abstract thought in a single volume. In a nutshell, when I was in my twenties I didn’t allow emotion to shape my novels, but now I do."

An Interview with Elizabeth Crane
"The idea of genuine joy, as a subject of literature, doesn’t seem to be at the top of the list when it comes to serious or important subject matter. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me -- it seems to me that happiness is as legitimate a part of life experience as anything else, but also that happiness and more difficult things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. I think part of the reason I started thinking about this is that I have become so truly happy in my life over the last five to ten years -- alongside with feeling, at various times, grief, confusion, hurt, anger, whatever -- that I wanted to consider what it really meant to be happy."

Monday, January 28, 2008

On a higher note...

I'd rather not go to bed thinking about the previous few posts, so I'll leave you with some dancing leaf men that make me oh so envious....



I wish I could do that.

"Do what?" you ask? Think about it.

Didn't this happen to Rumsfeld in France once?

via Alison Bechdel:

A stay-at-home dad in Brattleboro, VT gathered enough signatures to put this compelling item on the town meeting ballot: Bush and Cheney should be indicted and arrested for war crimes, perjury or obstruction of justice if they ever step foot in Vermont

As I gouge my eyes out for our country

I tried to watch the State of the Union Address tonight, but I only got about 10 minutes in to the "Special Report." All of those minutes included W. shaking hands during his close-ups while everyone clapped. There was even a hoot and holler when they announced his name.

That's when I turned on the Gossip Girl recap. I don't even know what the show's about, but I'm sure I'll lose less brain cells, or at least keep my blood pressure at a healthy level.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm looking for an intern with knowledge in graphic/web design. Any takers? Send me something at john@thimblezine.com.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Old Demons

This basically defines my experience working for Barnes & Noble for two years. It's been over for a while now. I'm not bitter. Really. I'm not.


[Strip lifted from an archived DTWOF database at Planet Out...remember them? My adolescent dating life in a box.]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mr. Susan



A clip from my new favorite British obsession: The Mighty Boosh. Context is for the weak.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Two things

Happy New Year.

Now that I've said that, two things:

My first Bookslut Indie Heartthrob Interview of 2008 just went up. And who gets to take the helm? Why, Ander Monson of course! He talks about editing for DIAGRAM and The New Michigan Press while unwittingly departing valuable information on starting a webzine to an interviewer with an ulterior motive.

Secondly, two songs everyone needs to listen to:

"When the Other Foot Drops, Uncle" - Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (from 100 Days 100 Nights) [linked from Ear Farm]. I just about buckled when I heard this.

"Clowns" - Goldfrapp (from the forthcoming Seventh Tree. A wonderful, folky departure that retains Alisons angelic vocals from the previous electro albums.

And as always, john AT thimblezine DOT com for submissions, ideas, and encouraging/disparaging niceties.