In addition to being somewhat crazy—a shrink once diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder, which I thought was a bit of a stretch until I realized that, like everyone else, he just wanted to have sex with me—I am a yoga teacher. I don’t know what your idea of a yoga teacher is, but should you, recoiling in horror as you read along here, find yourself asking, "But how does someone like this become a yoga teacher?"—the short answer is that I gave a man with a beard and his hot wife $3,200 dollars. The long answer is… well, I’d like to say that it's because if I hadn’t [...]
I’m all ready to make this week’s Mr. Wrong column, but sometimes I can’t remember what I want to column about, you know? I mean, c’mon, I always have some sorta Topic, and no, I do not sympathise with any of this “Writer’s Block” stuff people whine about, like that article I looked at in The New Yorker about the guy who helped big-time Entertainment people get through their Writerering Block, har!
At least that’s what I think it was about, the article, I mighta not completely absorbed it, on account of I have Reader’s Block, seriously, I mean, I don’t move my lips or anything [...]
The Awl: Joe Brown, you have spent a lot of time in New York City and environs and you have been commended to me as wildly outdoorsy, despite your indoorsy day job as features editor of Gizmodo. I would like to know your secrets without you blowing up any secret spots. So tell me: if I want a good hike within reasonable distance of New York, and maybe I lived a little, so maybe not too hard a hike, wherever would I go?
Joe Brown: Spent a lot of time in New York? I am a ****ing native!
The Awl: Spoken like a native!
Joe: Don't [...]
Writers by definition spend a lot of time on the inside of books, which is why what happens on the outside—namely, cover art and blurbs—can feel precarious and daunting. Often these elements are beyond an author’s control or expertise, which can be painful to admit, particularly when the "expertise" of graphic designers and marketers seems so subjective or at odds with an author’s “vision” for a book.
To get some advice on navigating these issues, we asked a handful of writers—including Kate Christensen, Bennett Madison, Stefanie Pintoff, Mark Jude Poirier and Tom Scocca—who have been through the process these questions:
- How important are covers in terms [...]
Try to attach a file that's 25 megabytes or bigger to an outgoing Gmail message and what do you get? I have no idea, because I would never attempt such a stunt, but I'm guessing it's a friendly error message informing you that the raw video trailer for your documentary about paperclips is the digital equivalent of a wide-load trailer and unfit for this particular mode of travel. What now? You've tried everything! Except no, you haven't.
For starters, if you're teaming up on this groundbreaking documentary of yours, and need to share the material with a partner 3000 miles away so they can edit and play around [...]
Eating dinner with a group of people at a restaurant can be fun. You know what's not fun? Trying to figure out who owes what when the check comes—when Jenny, like, only got the roasted beet and goat cheese salad, but Freddy got some stupid $38 hamburger (THE MEAT IS FROM PAT LaFRIEDA, OKAY?!), but Jenny had three cocktails compared to Gabby’s single glass of Pinot, so maybe Jenny actually owes more than everyone else, because those cocktails were $16 each (THE BARTENDER, EXCUSE ME, "MIXOLOGIST," USED ANGOSTURA BITTERS AND HAND-CHIPPED ICE, OKAY?!), but Franny says she owes less since she didn’t even order an entree on her own, [...]
Sometimes, like once a day, my house phone rings! It usually rings about six times, and I go from "Ooh, someone's calling me" to "Oh right, no one is actually calling me" by ring number two. The rest of the rings are just an interruption of key plot points to whatever PBS drama I am watching at the time. That is because I do not pickup my phone. Because no one even has the number. It rings all the time, with phone-spam and fake bill collection agencies and sales pitches disguised as surveys. And the fool is me, because I am actually paying for this annoying non-service. It's not [...]
New York City has a 24-hour-subway system, gay marriage and David Chang. What we don't have are rolling suburban lawns on which to accommodate Charbroil Offset Smokers when we want to char the hell out of some animal flesh. With Labor Day fast approaching, 4th floor walkups and a lust for a perfectly grilled ribeye will soon collide, and an urban grillmaster will have to adapt. Here’s how (with bonus Beer Can Chicken recipe)!
Since time immemorial, man has been forced to carry bags. Even worse: In much of my office-going life, I've been forced to carry a laptop to work. This has created Man Problems for myself, in needing to have a piece of small luggage that is also sturdy enough to protect said laptop. I had a very chic and nearly perfect slender black Lacoste shoulder bag that fit the computer perfectly, even in its little padded case. And then one day on the L train (of course) I shifted my coffee and my iPhone in my hands and it slipped off my shoulder and dropped all of 2.5 feet [...]
Like pregnancy, divorce and anal sex, unemployment is one of those things you can’t possibly understand until it happens to you. Whether you left your job voluntarily or not, you never know what to expect until you’re knee-deep in “I have absolutely nothing to do.” Every day feels like the last day of a too-long vacation—you’re eager to get back to something, anything.
Likewise, the people in your life may not know how to deal with your predicament. There’s a good reason for this: unemployed people don’t like to talk about being unemployed. It's hard enough to find someone to talk to between the wasteland hours of 8 [...]
I have a new play that starts in previews this week. That means I have a lot of friends, colleagues and acquaintances who are going to have to negotiate the tricky thing of what to say to me after my play if they happen not to like it.
Let me be clear: I’m totally fine with being lied to. I don’t long to be told what everyone I know truly thought of my play. But in my experience, many of them long to tell me. They may not be conscious of this, but that’s why God invented the unconscious. Deep down, most people really do want to [...]
For some, it is not just enough to use Twitter. Some must worry about how, when and why they use Twitter. It's your life, you can be like that if you want! And most people can't help but want to know who's hanging on their every word, just desperately waiting for them to tweet again. Here's tools to analyze Twitter use, audience, news research and ways to scratch the itch of your plain old vanity. [Read the rest here]
[Sponsored posts are editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor, in this case Intel: My Life Scoop; advertisers do not produce the text.]
We live in a social hellscape littered with talking heads, salesmen at the quota crisis point and acquaintances whose names we can't remember. We recognize that the exchange of pleasantries must be endured for the world to work, and most of these conversations are well-rehearsed dances—routines that get the job done. But all too many others play out like cringe-inducing conga lines. Oh, the awkwardness! And then the ennui! Dealing with other people can make each day feel like a Double Dare-style obstacle course (look it up, youngs!), with a grand prize of merely not going to jail for assault at the end of it.
Sure, you could read the New York Times's guide to shoveling snow, but perhaps you might find our comprehensive manual on the subject more entertaining. It is certainly a lot more sweary, which has got to count for something.
In which we give advice to newcomers to New York City.
From time to time, you may see enormous critters of the roach-like variety, particularly on the floor, on their backs, with their legs in the air. (Bug porno!) If they're scuttling around or, worse, flying, just leave the apartment for a while. This on-their-back thing generally means that your building has had an exterminator visit and/or it's rained really hard! Your new bug friend is dying. :(
1. The discovery is the grossest part. You may be moved to panic! Don't. You can wait this out. One of two things will happen: it'll either die, or it'll crawl [...]
You, yes you, can do your taxes this year. Many of you are done, most of you haven't started, and a few of you are freaking out. Some of you are thinking: what if I just don't file? What will happen if I don't pay? What if I didn't file last year or the year before that? What will they do to me and will I be in prison with Wesley Snipes?
I have some answers to those questions! You should note that I am not a tax professional, that this is definitely not professional advice and that every situation is unique. Also you should be doing your taxes [...]
1. First things first: In the '90s, one of the best things to watch on Canadian television (faint praise, that) was This Hour Has 22 Minutes. One of its most popular segments was "Talking To Americans," which was, more or less, just what it sounds like. Posing as a journalist, comedian Rick Mercer would get Americans to do things like congratulate Canada on its recent legalization of the stapler. Most of the interviews were conducted in the street-ambush style that makes you feel sorry for the targets, because God, some people were just out shopping and I wouldn’t know the first thing about Mexican politics if you asked [...]
So it's March (surprise!) and you may be thinking, "Oh man! Thank goodness winter is almost over!" In fact, you may even be THAT GUY, the one who grew up in Wisconsin or wherever who always, when there is just a little bit of sun outside and the temperature creeps into the low 50's (despite it still being "feels like" mid-40's with the wind chill factor), puts on shorts and a hoodie and walks around pretending like you're not freezing, because you're just so aggressive about transitioning into spring, or something—even as I write this I'm trying to understand the logic of this particular type of person [...]
One of the most touching things about Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids is the way the author slips into book-scouting lingo when she describes the knack she had for that enjoyable (and revenue-enhancing) pastime in the late '60s and early '70s:
Not long after, I found a twenty-six-volume set of the complete Henry James for next to nothing. It was in perfect condition. I knew a customer at Scribner's who would want it. The tissue guards were intact, the gravures fresh-looking, and there was no foxing on the pages. I cleared over one hundred dollars. Slipping five twenty-dollar bills in a sock, I tied a ribbon around it [...]