Friday, October 31st, 2014
0

How to Make a Spooky Last-Minute Ghost Costume

ghost_cost_1

ghost_cost_2 READ MORE

---
1

Eat Spinach, Not Kale

spinRecently, the general public, especially younger people in the cities, have begun to embrace strong flavors previously thought of as icky, like bitterness, fermentation, funk, fat and umami, which are now all prized flavors. This is good. But Americans, as always, are unable to do anything in moderation, and, hypnotized by the constant racket of food television, food blogs, restaurant blogs, and have-you-tried-this, insist that if strong flavors can be good, then even stronger flavors must be better. This is why we can’t have a hoppy IPA; we have to have the hoppiest quadruple-IPA science can concoct. We can’t have a normal bowl of chili; we have to bump up the savory flavor with umami-heavy ingredients like marmite, soy sauce, and anchovies, and who cares if those flavors work together? And we can’t use spinach anymore, because there are greens that are stronger and more bitter, and thus better, like kale. Eating spinach is something your parents would do. Eating kale—stringy, bitter, aggressive kale—is the mark of an adventurous, flavor-forward connoisseur. READ MORE

---
---
3

The Super-Urban Promise

"Imagine the ability to create a standing order of Starbucks delivered hot to your desk daily," commands CEO Howard Schultz. "That's our version of e-commerce on steroids." IMAGINE. At face value, this sounds like a reductio ad absurdum scenario for the new logistics-obsessed economy, in which a product is created and then shipped to people who could either make it on their own or purchase it in person at one of the many physical retail locations situated between their beds and their desks. But no, if you actually do imagine this, it's absurd but appealing: If you could summon coffee to your desk every day for a nominal fee, with some sort of set-it-and-forget-it ordering system, you might consider it. After the first week you would stop thinking of it as crazy, and it would just be there, an ambient feature of the economy like bottled water or $0.99 hamburgers.

A system like this would only work in a limited set of places and in a limited set of scenarios. It is, like so many new delivery services—Seamless, Freshdirect, Caviar, SpoonRocket (sorry), Washio (seriously just one more), DoorDash—a concept for cities, where physical density means delivering a low-priced order is economically feasible.

But if you unspool this, supposing that nothing interferes with the god-given inevitability of every delivery startup and the manifest destiny of the overall on-demand economy, you end up with some pretty big adjustments to the definitions of urban and suburban lifestyles.

READ MORE

---
0

"Slipknot are no longer in step with the times either, but here they are selling six figures anyway hawking the same downtuned riffs and frustrated aggression as ever. At the peak of the band’s popularity, with the likes of Spears and Eminem routinely moving a million copies in a week, 132,000 in sales wouldn’t have come close to topping the chart. But on the flattened playing field that is 2014, it all but guarantees a #1 debut. At a time when many legacy acts can barely muster 50,000 on their first week, Slipknot’s numbers are undoubtedly impressive. Still, The Gray Chapter’s strong showing doesn’t herald a big comeback for nu-metal as much as it affirms that nu-metal has become the province of an aging demographic."

---
---
0

New York City, October 29, 2014

weather review sky 102914★ Chilly but sticky, a morning at odds with the season and itself. The clouds were everywhere, but thin enough that a contrail showed whiter through or against them. The sun cast fractional-strength shadows. Mid-afternoon was more tolerable, out on the fire escape, under sun further diminished. Then the daylight died entirely, and by the commute home, the cold was unambivalent and a thin rain was falling—so thin it seemed watery, despite already being water.

---
0

How to Incorporate Veggies Into Every Meal

---
0

Bloodfeast: Scary White People Tacos

Scary White People Tacos 2
Happy Horrors, my sisterwitches of The Mystical Menorrhea! How’s everyone’s ovaries doing? Me and mine are preparing for All Hallow’s Eve celebrations. I’m thinking about finally dressing up in the costume I’ve wanted to since the late 1990s–a box of tampons, like Kelly Macdonald’s character did in the movie Splendor–but alas, that might be too obvious. Still, I just want to pay Halloween homage to our cherished Female Curse!

Which brings me to this month’s Goddess feast, which is a quick and easy one. Being born and raised in Southern California, I’ve eaten my share of delicious authentic Mexican tacos. But sometimes, just sometimes, I get a craving for some white people tacos. You know what I’m talking about, those pre-made crunchy tacos that come with a no-fuss filling consisting of ground beef, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. These will be just like that which are also reminiscent of Taco Bell, sans the diarrhea (I HOPE).

When I was a kid, my mom (who is a sweet Filipino lady) made white people tacos using Pace Picante for the salsa, and ALWAYS mild. Now that is one thing I cannot fuck with these days. PACE! I am forever haunted by these commercials. So I won’t be doing you that dirty. We’ll be making some authentic salsa to slightly lessen the Caucasity of this dish. IT’S GONNA BE GOOD. READ MORE

---
0

"Let’s ponder, for a moment, the kind of culture an ambulatory fungus might construct. Individual fruiting bodies would probably seem, to us, utterly unconcerned with their own survival when confronted with large-scale dispersive destruction. Struck with a fireball, or blown up by your own bomb? No problem! The force of the blast spreads your spores over the battlefield. Chopped up by a surgeon to patch up some other creature (not necessarily a goblin)? Great! The new creature will carry you around for the rest of its life, dispersing your spores on the way. Killed in battle? Your spore-laden blood sticks to your adversary’s boots—and when she washes off in the nearest river, the current will carry your spores to unknown lands. Eaten by a dragon? Best of all possible worlds."

---
---
0

Erotomania and Murder in Memphis

aliceandfreda

Alice+Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis by Alexis Coe, is out now. You can order it from wherever you choose to prepare for the coming apocalypse:

Indiebound

Powell's

Amazon

Less than an hour after the murder, Memphis's Chief of Police knocked on the front door of the Mitchell's fashionable home on Union Street. Chief Davis was sorry to disturb "Uncle George," as the retired salesman was affectionately called, and sorrier still for the decidedly unpleasant nature of the call. He had come to arrest George Mitchell's youngest daughter for the murder of Freda Ward.

George had been expecting him. He readied himself and Alice for a trip to the jailhouse, just a few minute's walk from the scene of the crime. He waited patiently as Davis booked his nineteen-year-old daughter on the charge of murder, amiably chatting with jailers, all sympathetic friends who promised to look after Alice while he sought legal representation.

By eight o'clock that evening, George returned with two of the most prominent, expensive attorneys in Eastern Tennessee, if not the entire state. Both Colonel George Gantt and General Luke Wright were affluent, respectable Memphians from old, Southern families. They had emerged as community leaders after a series of yellow fever outbreaks in the 1870s all but ruined the city; Memphis's charter was revoked, the economy stalled, and its population dwindled, with thousands buried and many more having fled, never to return.

READ MORE

---
0

The Value of Space

More facts about spaaaaaace in New York City, particularly in the newest wave of luxury buildings:

Space with no views at the Sterling Mason, a 33-unit condominium at 71 Laight Street in TriBeCa with 24 such areas, costs between $30,000 for a 28-square-foot storage unit (or $1,071 a square foot) to $55,000 for 94 square feet ($585 a square foot). … “Storage is no longer an afterthought,” said Elizabeth Unger, a senior sales director at the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is marketing 56 Leonard and several other uber-luxury condos. “It’s as thought-out as designing a lobby.” And with many owners requesting storage space, parking spots and other extras, she added, “it’s also an income producer.”

Buyers at 56 Leonard who pay $72,000 for a storage cage will not actually own it, however. As in many new buildings with subterranean space, they are buying long-term licenses for their storage units and parking spots, entitling them to use the space as long as they are residents of the building and requiring that it be sold in the event of a move.

---
0

A Night at the Kaiju Big Battel

jtm_kaiju_1A couple of weeks ago, a battle between good and evil took place in a wrestling ring on Manhattan's west side, when Silver Potato, a former Blockbuster video employee managled in a tinfoil-microwaving accident, fought off the minions of Dr. Cube, the mastermind of an evil kaiju cohort, who were pummeling Steam-Powered Tentacle Boulder. According to Kaiju Big Battel legend, regular wrestling matches, like the one between Silver Potato and his foes, prevent kaiju and their humanoid combatants from destroying earth’s cities by constraining them to a ring, so that the war between good and evil can be settled with minimal property damage. The event, “Shpadoinkel Mania XX,” marked the beginning of the live-action WWE-Godzilla-Japanese-anime hybrid's twentieth season and fall tour.

jtm_kaiju_2#13 vs. Steam Powered Tentacle Boulder READ MORE

---
0

A Poem by Jennifer L. Knox

Certainty Is Born of Pain

Biting down wrong would’ve done it.
Too many chips scarfed at happy hour.
Don Cucos’ two buck margaritas, 4-6.
I’ve never been big on chewing. I more like
chomp-chomp-chomp-gulp—a Hoover.
Maybe I’m trying to power through the meal
to the empty place on the other side where I can
stuff more in, no subtleties of pleasure slowing
me down. A komodo dragon unhinges its jaw
to swallow whole sick pigs and dozing deer.
Afterwards, it sleeps weeks as the prey’s shape
dissipates into its guts like the face on a melting coin.
I envy its contentment—or whatever you call it.
So who knows why, when I was nineteen, I got that
horribly swollen taste bud worthy of an ER visit,
but I do know when I cut it off with toenail clippers
it bled for days—hurt way worse—my tongue
needed a cast—and now when people speak
of piercing their tongues, I know I know
too much to follow them there.

READ MORE

---
0

MikeWiLLMakonnen, "Wishin You Well"

Here is a perfect beat from Mike WiLL Made It laid over with an EXTREMELY DIVISIVE vocal track from iLoveMakonnen. (Among the more generous Soundcloud comments: "This isn't 'good', but I don't hate it at all…") Makonnen's "Tuesday" caught a lot of people off-guard, too, but then Drake showed up and sort of brute-forced the matter before anyone had time to figure out if they really enjoyed Makonnen's strange, almost over-familiar style. Give this one two or three chances, anyway, it grew on me.

---
0

My Last $100: Should I Own My Date at Mario Kart?

MarioKartOr, What Prompted Me to Change My Tinder Bio to Simply: Buy me a drink.

Date 1
$18, Downtown Brown (2)
If the beautiful oblivion that only the vague promise of not spending your life alone could take a physical form, it would most certainly be the act of paying $9 for a beer you have at least three of in your fridge.

Date 2
$10 – arcade tokens
The eternal second date question: How hard should I own this guy at Mario Kart?

READ MORE

---
1

Serial tackles one story over the course of many installments–roughly as many as encompass a season of an HBO drama such as True Detective, the show to which Serial is often compared because the first serial Koenig has tackled is the story of Adnan Syed, a high school student convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend. Did he do it? Or has he been wrongly jailed for a crime he didn't commit? Each episode is an installment in an ongoing attempt to figure that out.

The producers themselves don't know how their story ends: They approach the subject as intensely curious storytellers, not crusaders for the accused or the deceased.

The new episode of Serial is out this morning, and it's not too late to catch up. It is, I agree, "So Good You Want to Binge-Listen." But don't hold off until it's over to do that: The waiting, week-to-week, is enriching in a way that's totally obvious and yet still somehow surprising, and really sort of damning for all the new season-release binge TV, much of which has been great but none of which I can remember in any episodic way at all. Talking about Transparent with friends has been depressing: Everyone watched it all at once and nobody remembers anything specific, so it's all "the acting was good" and "what great ideas for characters." We are addled and dazed by the things we do to relax! We are weak. We demand structure.

---
0

New York City, October 28, 2014

★★★★ Leaves on the trees still dappled the long west-thrusting rays of sun under the scaffolding. Spotlights raised vignettes of gleam and color all around. Even one Trump tower looked OK, for a moment. Textured brick on a townhouse looked like a nubby wool blanket; wide bars of light fell through the narrow slats of fire escapes. A woman walking and talking on a cell phone in the open keened with joy that sounded close to grief, echoing back news about someone's pregnancy tests. By downtown there was a little scattering haze, but a passing airplane was still a sharply snipped white-paper form overhead. A starling, rich motor-oil brown, less flew down than fell from a tree, landing on its feet and starting to jog up the street. Clouds spread over the afternoon. Breezes sloshed around easefully. The smells on the evening air were pleasant ones.

---
6

The Diary of Samantha Pepys

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 3.19.32 PM

October 8: Up betimes and to the office to do business. After copying and writing some documents, so to luncheon, where I desired fricassee of rabbit and a leg of mutton boiled and three carps in a dish, but instead ate a sandwich. Then back to the office to discourse with students regarding the preparation of their documents, and I took pains to find out what amongst the students was wanted and fitting to be done. So by Subaru home, and by and by to Whole Foods, where I purchased pasta, which pleased me much. The saleslady did request if I would like to contribute to a charity, and I declined, having not the inclination. There was a great shower in the streets, so an employee walked me to my car with an umbrella, and I had cause to reflect on this practice as not enjoyable for the employee and uncomfortable for myself. And so home to dine in my chamber, where I ate heartily and lustily, and then to bed and the weather very chilly and requiring another blanket.

October 9: Woke late and to the office, where I prepared my affairs and papers. Having an old dress new furbished, I was pretty neat in clothes today—and my mongrel dog very clean and proper, having received an unwelcome bath after rolling in something deceased. Walked the streets a half an hour with the mongrel dog and then to the market for a roasted chicken and potatoes, where people discoursed in the aisles about problems concerning airline miles. Then home to sit in my commodious room and to pay bills and copy documents, which pleased me much, and I had a pretty dinner of the chicken. Having put things in order, a desire for good cheer and discourse prompted a telephone call to my sister in California, who is great with child and fatigued. Drank a Manhattan and good Malago wine. Persistent sniffles suggest a malady is coming on, and I am plagued by a cold sore, which lends the appearance of a diseased French prostitute. And so up and to bed.

READ MORE

---
0

In Defense of an Unlikable Protagonist, When the Unlikable Protagonist is Yourself

timthumbThere’s this thing I’ve done since I was a kid that I rarely talk about—mainly because it’s embarrassing. Anytime I’m alone, I'm probably scripting scenarios in my head of how my life should go. Not the kind of fantastical daydreaming that encompasses what would happen if the fates were ever to align and I finally got to meet my pun-loving idol Dave Coulier; actual, real-life situations ranging from romantically tense showdowns with men (that never actually come to fruition), to the mundane small talk I practice to ensure I’m the most charming customer in the cramped waiting room of my local auto body shop.

Maybe it's a childhood tic, born out of severe unpopularity coupled with an overactive imagination. Maybe it's the machinations of a subconscious pushing me to become a writer long before I ever realized I wanted to spend my life putting words on paper. Whatever the reason, it’s something I still do, to this day, almost to the point of obsession. I’m rarely living in the moment because it’s a veritable television writer’s room in my head, with a million self-contained voices pitching different narratives, joke arcs, and real-time admonishments to their leading lady: me.

The thing that each of those scenarios have in common? In each and every one, I am always right. I am always the best. Even when spurned, I am always the most downtrodden heroine who will rise again, likely by way of a cleverly crafted monologue filled with dated references and verbal cues worthy of an Amy Sherman-Palladino television program. After all, when you’re constantly crafting your own narrative, you’re never the villain. But that’s the thing—it’s just a narrative. In my actual world, I rarely stick to the script, and I’m the villain far more often than I’d care to admit. READ MORE

---
12

Shot Through the Heart

14329622976_2ae10f5741_z

Last Thursday night, the governor of New York State and the mayor of New York City announced that the first case of Ebola had been diagnosed at Bellevue Hospital. The man—a doctor who had recently returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa—had fallen ill that morning, after a night of bowling in Williamsburg, they said. I live in Greenpoint, less than a mile away from the bowling alley he had been in just twenty-four hours earlier.

Hearing this struck fear in my heart. Not because I thought there was any real risk of me getting Ebola: I trusted the information the CDC reported, that Ebola can only be contracted from a person with active symptoms, and even in cases of a very sick person coming in casual contact with me, it would be relatively hard to contract Ebola. I am a fairly pragmatic person, capable of talking myself through the logical ends of various what-if scenarios. I have faith in modern medicine.

The fear wasn’t about me, though: It was for my nine-month-old daughter. The what-if scenarios, though only momentary, were extreme. For just one second, it seemed absolutely certain to me that she would somehow, devastatingly skirt the odds and come down with Ebola.

A thing I have learned about myself-as-parent: When my child is involved, it takes some extra arguing with my brain for rationality to prevail.

READ MORE

---
1

It's funny when people make distinctions about whether it's darker in the morning or the evening, as if it isn't the most obvious truth of our time that it's all darkness, and it's not going to get any better, ever. That said, the clocks go back this Sunday, so the inherent sense of gloom and futility you feel of an afternoon—the crushing knowledge that there's no point to any of it and no one is less useful than you and the sorrowful certainty that the things you spend your sad little days worrying about are just additions to the list of wasted time and chances missed—will be settling in an hour earlier starting next week. Enjoy.

---