“At most restaurants, you are served what you ask for so routinely that your eyes glaze over with boredom. Javelina does not fall into the trap of dull predictability.”
—Everything about this review of trendy Tex-Mex spot Javelina is brutal.#

The Rideshare Archipelago

The other day, Uber and Live Nation, the world’s most malicious entertainment company, announced that at “over 62 Live Nation venues and 20 festivals nationwide, riding with Uber will be easier than ever thanks to new designated drop-off and pick-up locations where available.” The deal, granting Uber privileged access to Live Nation-controlled venues, is not so dissimilar from one that its rival, Lyft, struck a couple of months ago with South by Southwest; as the festival’s “official ridesharing partner,” Lyft was able to use “designated pickup and drop-off zones around downtown Austin” to more nimbly ferry its human cargo from their Airbnbs to exquisitely branded slip-and-slide fuckfests and back again.

These partner agreements are not especially remarkable; brands will #brand. More notable was Lyft’s agreement that same week to become “the first and only Transportation Network Company permitted to operate” at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, in exchange for ten percent of its revenue. Lyft did not merely benefit from smoother access or louder promotion; Uber drivers were technically barred from picking up passengers at the airport’s arrival terminal because the service would not pay the airport’s demanded “concession fee.” Uber’s customers were caught in the middle, denied access to the transit service of their choice at a moment of need—unless they hailed a somewhat bold driver, anyway—for reasons largely inscrutable to them. (And there are lot of reasons they might choose Uber over Lyft! Like for instance, for the simple reason that Uber still seemed to provide better service in Austin during SXSW, despite all of the advantages that Lyft had accrued.)

Do You Cry Easily? You May Be a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’”#

32 Competent Things Men Do That We Find Sexual, Ranked

32. Wears an analog watch.
31. Changes a light bulb.
30. Knows the wattage.
29. Poaches an egg.
28. Peels an orange, hands you a slice.
27. Legible handwriting.
26. Takes groceries out of shopping bags.
25. Knows the words to disco songs.
24. Knows the names of two of your friends (first names only are fine).
23. Kicks your feet, propped up on coffee table, out of the way so he can walk around you.
22. Flips book over to read back copy.
21. Pours you coffee, hands it to you.
20. Sips a glass of water, bedside, late at night.

Oddisee, "Belong To The World"

A dense but comfortable song from a rapper at ease (via Fader).

Ben Chatwin, "Darwinism"

Headphones off or on, attention fixed or drifting, Ben Chatwin’s The Sleeper Awakes has something for whatever you need at the moment in which you’re listening to it. And, on a day like today, this is a pretty solid soundtrack. Enjoy.

New York City, May 17, 2015

★★★ The humidity oozing into the apartment made the question of whether it was cool enough to open a window irrelevant. On with the air conditioner, while grays and yellows churned slowly in the sky. Outdoors under the afternoon clouds it was not as bad as inside; the breeze moved slow and heavy. Children slumped in strollers. The sun brightened and faded. Glory streamed around the waist of an hourglass of cloud in the west. The pink and blue afterglow of sundown brought out the grain of the travertine on Lincoln Center. One or two people were outright asleep on the grass roof. Black puffs of incinerator smoke dispersed slowly in the darkening sky. The three-year-old sprinted along the turf in his socks. Other children barrel-rolled down the slope. Underneath, diners ate in the glassed-in dimness.

The In-Your-Face Friendship of "Power Violence"

powerviolenceWe like watching friends be funny together.

We want to feel like we’re apart of that group of friends. That we’re in they’re clique, too, and by watching comedians with long histories together be insular and banter can be a surprisingly cathartic experience.

“Power Violence” is a group that specializes in such a dynamic. The comedy collective includes Whit Thomas, Clay Tatum, Budd Diaz, and you can watch their intimate, explosive performances every third Sunday at the Satelitte in Los Angeles. This monthly event also now happens to feature their pseudo house band, Snake Plisskin and the I Thought You Were Deads, featuring the musical talents of Whit along with Jonah Ray and Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus. But whether you’re familiar with “Power Violence” or not, they’ve arguably experienced their biggest year yet and are heading towards important things. They will be on your radar if they aren’t already, and then they’ll be smashing said radar into a million pieces.

“Power Violence” assaults audiences with a mixed sensory experience, providing you with a truly unique show, but this year, they’ve also been apart of FXX’s bizarre animated series, Stone Quackers (along with Ben Jones), depicting duck-like approximates for the members of the group, as they get into similar hijinks.

Beyond the live comedy and the animated series, these guys are just friends and that’s more clear than anything in all the work that they do. Their chemistry is effortless and always feels genuine. I had a chance to talk to Whit and Clay of the group about the ins and outs of “extreme friendship” and just why they’ve made the path for themselves that they have.

How To Be Spiritual

You don’t need to pick a god, but it might make things less awkward. For those of us who are used to working or playing with a goal in mind, the action of being spiritual can feel corny if it happens in a vacuum, and so choosing a god will help you to ground things a bit.

If you already have a god, you can go ahead and use that one. If you don’t, you might become comfortable with the idea of a benevolent or neutral higher power by working backwards from a place of evil. Perhaps you have experienced a sense of powerlessness before, maybe at the whim of opaque bureaucracy, arbitrary-seeming rules, faceless systemic injustice, or the impenetrable press-one maze of a toll-free number. If you can accept your inability to access meaning in these cases, you might try playing with a positive variation on that theme. Begin by appreciating the mundane or profane rhythms of daily life—the improvised jazz of cars merging on a highway, the decentralized flow of global currency, the invisible overlapping maps drawn by people moving between work and home and school. Search out intersections of rhythm and pattern and randomness and force, and there you might find for yourself a suitable deity.

If you aren’t afraid to skew granola, you can build your god from nature, with its relentless risings and settings and sprouts and decay. You might find comfort in rolling with the tides of the zeitgeist, a perfectly suitable god, controlled by the diverse and mysterious moons of trend and cool and corporate interest. Dress yourself in the fashions of the era and pray to the holy spirit of the times. You can even be your own god, so long as you can access a version of yourself capable of transcending the sum of your parts. Do not feel pressed to choose the same god or gods for all occasions. The purpose of the god is to give an object to your spiritual practice in the exact moment you want to try to be spiritual. If it makes you feel better, you can contextualize your god as an exercise or tool or functional delusion meant to help you explore and consider the possibility of a spiritual self. The is no reason to be dogmatic, emotional, or sentimental about the god you choose, unless of course you find this satisfying, in which case go ahead.

Once you have selected a god, a good thing to try is praying to it or engaging with it in some other meaningful way. For the same reason many people find letter writing easier than journaling, prayer should feel less corny or arbitrary with your god(s) of choice as an audience. If you are unsure what to pray about, consider the sorts of things you might stop yourself from posting to social media. In the privacy of your own god, there is no such thing as narcissism or selfishness or oversharing. Prayer is a good place to articulate goals, admit shortcomings, complain, or brag openly. Nothing is too dumb or too big to pray about.

The Things Your Children Know About You

Taffy ! So what happened here?

So both of my children came home from school with a Mother’s Day gift for me, inside which was an assessment? employment review? census? on our relationship, laid bare over just few questions: What’s your mother’s age? What does she do? What’s her favorite food? That kind of thing. My older son, who is 7, came home with one that could easily have been switched with another kid’s, and I would have thought it had been, had he not confirmed that it was his. It said his favorite thing that I make are cookies; I’ve never actually made cookies during his lifetime, and maybe only once before that. He said my favorite thing to do was spend time at the spa, and though my husband and I have an ongoing joke about kelp wraps, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a spa except under the duress of wanting to be like everyone else for some womanly friendship trip, or graciously accepting a baby shower gift. Spas generally combine things I can’t tolerate: humidity, lavender scents, people touching me, nudity (my own and others’). Anyway, I asked him why he made so many things up, and what he said was devastating: He said he didn’t know the answers. I am normally someone who feels the upper ranges of working mother guilt. This made me take to my bed.

But the one you’re contacting me about is the one I posted on Twitter. It was my 4-year-old’s, which included many of the same questions. His answers, while not wholly inaccurate, were problematic just the same.