Lisa and I are getting ready to move–temporarily, indefinitely–to Los Angeles. Ever since I started writing and performing comedy, and getting any kind of traction with it, I’ve heard that question: Would you ever move to LA? My standard answer used to be, Not if I can help it. Later, it was revised to Not unless something pretty great brought me there. Well, something pretty great is bringing me there. And, whether she likes it or not, that pretty great something is bringing Lisa there, too.

It does seem odd to use the expression “getting ready” when talking about our move, though, because neither of us feels especially ready at all. Really, we aren’t even sure how to feel ready. We can’t really start looking for an apartment until the end of this month, for a move the following month. Consequently, we don’t have a new address or even a move date. We just have a few solid but disconnected plans: We will pack up our stuff and move it to Los Angeles in some moving company’s truck while we rent a car and drive together across the country and hope we all arrive on the other coast around the same time, at an apartment for which we have a lease and keys. There’s also the business of getting our cats to Los Angeles–subjecting them a 10-day car trip seems unnecessarily cruel to everyone on the vehicle, but flying them out early means they’ll have a month to hang out somewhere in Los Angeles in advance of our arrival.

Oh yeah, and cars. Two cars. Purchasing one car seems like a six-month research investment, so purchasing two, in a window of just a few days, seems fairly insane.

Oh yeah, and neighborhoods. Lisa will be working in Santa Monica and I will be working in Universal City. Are we supposed to just rent a trailer parked on the median of Pico Boulevard? What is even considered a reasonable commute compromise? And what is considered a reasonable compromise? One hour? Four hours? And will we ever walk again?

Oh yeah, and we have about three dozen more “oh yeahs” to sort out over the next few weeks. Sometimes Lisa and I become paralyzed by our own checklists and that’s when days like today occur, where the only progress we made toward our relocation was spending several hours at Sol Moscot buying new eyeglasses for her and new prescription sunglasses for me. (Now I can enjoy my own genetic weaknesses in style. LA style!)

I’ve lived in the same city for over thirteen years, and the same state all my life. There are so many ways I feel connected to New York that on good days, I try to look at this sudden move as an “adventure”–a corny truth I believe. However, on bad days it’s more like a “terrifying change,” a “tremendous imposition”, or a “stress test of the bond of marriage.” That said, no matter how things shake out with this new job I’m glad Lisa and are embarking on this tremendous imposition together.


I’ve suddenly come to the realization that I no longer have much privacy. I’ve forfeited it, bit by bit. Some was intentional–this website, my decision to talk about my personal life in stand-up comedy, my compulsive need to show my penis on the bus–and other things were beyond my conscious control, although I suppose they would have been in my control if I exercised slightly more control. Most things I didn’t notice, but now I’m struck by the cumulative effect. Struck and stuck.

Honestly, it makes me more wary about willful sharing, because lately I’m much more conscious of who might be reading my words, commenting on my Facebook status, clicking my links, watching my videos, subscribing to my Flickr stream, following my Twitter feed, etc. I’ve consciously chosen to engage in all of these aspects social networking tools, but separately. To see the picture of my personal life they create, all together, is a little intimidating. I could unsubscribe to all of them, in one sweeping gesture, but in this age doesn’t that just make people think you’re suicidal/dramatic? I used to be really amused when people would discontinue posting to their websites because they’d never just neglect them into obsolescence. Instead, it would usually end with One Final Post. A long goodbye, filled with all of the many reasons This Must Happen. Or worse, a pithy and obviously labored sentence meant to convey, in as few words as possible, the weight this website has burdened the author with all these many years, and their regrettable–but necessary!–acquiescence. Something like this:


So I’m in a bind. I’m not paying much attention to this website lately, and trying to put more effort in other places. But I don’t want it to go away completely, because I do like having it here. It’s just that, with the way I feel these days–maybe being married has suddenly impressed on me the need to better protect my privacy–I’m just less inclined to post stories like this:

Yesterday I gave away some fluids–two of the less viscous kinds. I didn’t want to give them away, but it was starting to become necessary. For the last few weeks I’ve been experiencing pretty consistent brain-grabbing headaches and occasional dizziness. Like, real dizziness. The kind you got when you were doing that trick in grade school where you to make each other faint by hanging your head toward the ground and then standing up very fast. Rug-pulled-out-from-you dizzy spells.

I experienced the first of these on my wedding day, I think. I hadn’t eaten much. I was too nervous to eat for most of the day and then, when I stopped being nervous, I spent cocktail hour hugging people. So, no food. I was making the rounds, chatting with people at each table, and I’d been squatting low at a table of old friends from high school, so they wouldn’t have to look up at me. After a few minutes, I stood up and suddenly it was like the planet had just been hit by a giant pinball and the ground reverberated from the soles of my feet to the top of my head. All the blood drained from my head and my legs felt like they could no longer support me. I didn’t go down but, man, I was close. I can’t imagine what a scene that would have caused. People are already unnaturally attentive to you on your wedding day; a public fainting spell would be like an irresistible bucket of chum spilling out on the dance floor.

Since the wedding, the dizzy spells have persisted. Sometimes it will occur if I stand up too quickly (is there even such a thing as standing up too quickly?); other times I’ll just be walking down the street and the world will tip sideways for a second, just to remind me that I could die at any minute. After spending a few weeks of very well-informed self-diagnosis–both my brother and a good friend were recently diagnosed with diabetes, so maybe it’s a rare, contagious strain?–Lisa convinced me to give someone my fluids and let them sift through them for the source of my vertigo.

Here’s the thing about testing labs; they’re not a ton of fun. The whole mood in these places is very “impending AIDS-y.” As an aside to the many medical testing laboratory employees who subscribe to the RSS feed: This is no fun for us, either. We don’t like being forced to bleed, secrete, or micturate according to your whims, especially knowing the best possible outcome of all this painful and humiliating work is that we don’t have brain worms. Knowing this, would it be so hard to cheer up the process a bit? Why not put one of those hairy troll pencil toppers on the end of your hypodermic needles, or tape a photograph of Bush to the bottom of the urine specimen jars? Or, better still, hang a few Mylar balloons printed with upbeat messages, like “I HOPE IT’S THE *GOOD* KIND OF HEPATITIS!” or “THERE’S NO ‘U’ IN AIDS!” or “TO PEE OR NOT TO PEE: THERE IS NO QUESTION.”

Giving blood was easy, and I think I did a great job. I had a little help from their various needles and rubber belts and strong, beefy arms that held me down as I shrieked and squirmed. Giving urine was no more difficult–I’d had a ton to drink that day, in eager anticipation of this moment–but certainly more confusing. For one thing, I don’t mean to be showy but I easily had enough urine to fill their tiny jar, and then some. But how much urine is enough for a workable specimen? And, more to the point, how much is too much? I didn’t want to freak them out by unnecessarily filling the jar right to the rim. (Forgetting for a moment that this would be a fine demonstration of my can-do spirit and urethral agility.)

In the past, when providing urine, there was usually a sliding door in the bathroom–kind of like that plexiglas mail puzzle at post offices, where you open your side, place the package down, then close it, and they open their side to retrieve it. That seems like a good system to me, urine sample-wise. However, at this facility, the technician asked that visit the bathroom directly across from the patient waiting area and then return the jar directly to her. Not in a paper sack, but naked and exposed to public scrutiny. I held the jar close to my chest and side-stepped out of the bathroom, shielding my hideous pee from any patients who might be faint of heart. Then I walked it back to the examining room, where another patient was already in the middle of having his blood drawn. Tacky!

Now, I can’t say exactly what the protocol should be when dropping off urine. Maybe it’s best to say nothing and just scurry away, but that seemed to me like it would be a gesture loaded in shame. Like you weren’t asked to leave the urine sample; it’s just something you do to get off. You place urine jars all around town and then run away with your eyes cast downward, then hurry home and pleasure yourself to thought of people discovering your urine jar on a chair in Starbucks, or resting next to a salt shaker at Popeye’s Chicken. I don’t know if such a fetish exists but I would guess that if I could conceive of one so easily, there is probably already a website, DVD series, and hand-bound monthly magazine devoted to the subject.

If silent shame, following by fleeing (on a gimpy leg, in my vision of this scenario), is not the best way to deposit a urine sample, I know for a fact it is still not the worst because here’s what I did: as I entered the examining room and saw the technician drawing a patient’s blood, I placed my half-filled pee jar on a stainless steel examining table, nodded to the blood donor (and not the technician, for some reason) and said, “Enjoy!” And that, in no uncertain terms, is the worst.


As I sit here, stuffing my foodhole two-handed with a smoked fish and cream cheese sandwich on a whole wheat everything bagel–or, as I like to call this sandwich, “The Filthy Jew”–I’m thinking about how things strike me as less funny now that I’ve taken an interest in politics. And when I say “taken an interest in politics” I mean it in the way most do, but will not admit. As I read various news sources, trying desperately to study the current world affairs in which I am so embarrassingly behind, I nonetheless insist on force-feeding my fontanelle-soft political opinions down the mind-throats of anyone within earshot. And when I say “my political opinions,” I mean the opinions of the latest liberal (or suddenly jaded-conservative) columnist I’ve read, making sure to focus on at least one solid and surprising fact. (Or at least conflate that fact with another.) After all, I am nothing without my (other people’s) strong opinions and I insert them into casual communication as often and as awkwardly as possible, like a Mirriam-Webster Word of the Day. My naivete in political matters is so dense it can be ascertained by a blind and deaf person, using only haptic clues.

Even though I feel better about being more informed these days, I also worry about the comedic consequences. I think as one begins to look at the world analytically instead of observationally, certain changes take place. For instance, you start referring to yourself as “one.” Also, you tend to treat things as more serious, more dire, and less like something you can just laugh at or shrug off. Your opinion gets upgraded to a message. For comedians, this transformation can often have one of three different but equally detrimental effects on their act:

  1. Ugly Condescension (“What’s the matter, sheeple? Are these jokes just a little too REAL for you? YOU’RE ALL LIVING IN THE WAL-MART PARKING LOT OF A FAST FOOD FANTASY WORLD!!!”)
  2. Toothless Political Satire (“Whenever I hear Dick Cheney it’s like hearing Darth Vader’s voice. It’s like, ‘Karl Rove…I am your father. I’ll be baaaaaack.’ Am I right? THE GUY IS EVIL AND ALSO GEORGE BUSH IS NOT VERY SMART AND PROBABLY READ THE 9/11 REPORT WITH A RICHIE RICH COMIC BOOK HIDDEN INSIDE. MAYBE THEY SHOULD HAVE LOOKED FOR THOSE W-M-D’s IN RUMSFELD’S A-S-S. BINGO!”)
  3. Ragtime (“Give my regards to Beltway, remember me in Deficit Spending Square!”)

A few comics have been able to keep their cool and remain deeply political, using satire (Jon Stewart), keen observation (Chris Rock), or just by carefully avoiding performing their act in front of anyone who might disagree with their point of view. (David Cross) Alternately, a political comedian can go even further, by carefully constructing a platform for his or her comedy that immediately informs audiences of exactly what they’re going to get. This can be communicated in a number of ways. For example:

  • Call your televised comedy special, “Bush’d!”, “The First Lady of Comedy”, “Ant: Paint the White House Pink!”, “Stand-Up Commie”, “Comedy for Hope”, or “Mind of Mencia”
  • Ask High Times magazine and Tom’s of Maine to sponsor your comedy tour
  • For the cover of your comedy album, choose one of the following photos: you, naked with an American flag draped around you; you, lighting up a huge joint that’s rolled in paper printed with the American flag; you, waking up in bed next to an Ann Coulter impersonator, sharing a post-coital cigarette (American flag sheets? Think about it!); you, as a giant,squatting over the hole in the Pentagon building with your pants around your ankles to take a poo, while reading the latest issue of Mother Jones magazine (For optimum effect, the cover of Mother Jones magazine should feature a photograph of you, holding an American flag dildo. Although you will be tempted to be photographed with the American flag dildo in your mouth and/or butt, resist this temptation because Wal-Mart will get mad and make you release a second version of the album with a plain and boring cover. Although…think of hours of highly-charged political comedy you’ll be able to mine from that fascist act! Up to you, really.)
  • In the liner notes of your comedy album, thank The Chicago Eight and “conservative weasels like Bill O’Retard and Rush Lame-bore,” for filling you with the outrage that energizes you in your “continued comedic struggle against the forces of humorlessness.” Alternately, in the liner notes of your comedy album, thank “liberal hippies” and “political correctness nazis” for filling you with the outrage that energizes you in your continued comedic struggle to reflect the national subconscious by telling jokes about how gay sex is gross and how Jews love pennies.

But yeah, I’ll probably just end up writing a ragtime song. That’s the part that really burns me up.


Much has been said about public restrooms and the social laws obeyed (“every other urinal, bro!”) and transgressed (“quit looking at my junk, homeboy!”) within them. I’ve never been comfortable in public restrooms. Never understood bringing a newspaper or magazine into a restroom stall, because I’ve never understood the decision to spend some quality alone time in a space zoned for ass explosions. When I was younger, I was so afraid of public restrooms that I avoided them completely, and on long road trips would spend hours straining against my body’s almost-involuntary functions until I returned home.

I’m much better about this now. I’ve been in cramped single-stall bar bathrooms, including one with a missing stall door. (I stretched out a leg and braced my foot against the outer bathroom door—which did not lock, of course—to McGyver myself some privacy.) I’ve been in highway rest stop bathrooms where an entire row of six or seven stalls was occupied around me, producing a symphony of deep grunts, timpani splashes, scrapes, booming flushes, and the light tinkling chimes of belt buckles. I’ve been plenty of places where I first had to prep my workspace by grabbing some toilet tissue and wiping down the previous occupant’s (occupants’?) or, worst case scenario, employing some elbow grease to scratch away someone else’s dry-brushed fecal ‘tracers’ from the rear of the seat, like some kind of crime scene cleaning professional. (What kind of animal lets his ass get so messy it leaves a trail on every surface?) I’ve used porta-johns without too much emotional scarring, and once or twice have peed in one of those degrading group urinal troughs. But today, I think God might have been testing me because I found myself in the narrowest row of bathroom stalls I’ve ever occupied. It was like a sarcophagus, where you could hear the guy in the next coffin moving his bowels.

I don’t think I understood how harrowing this experience would be until I was actually inside, and could see the shoes of the person occupying the stall next to mine. Not the bottoms of his shoes, which is typical and excusable, but the tops of his shoes and most of the pants bunched up around his ankles. The walls on either side of each stall started about 18 inches from the floor, creating the illusion that you’re sharing your stall with your neighbor. In fact, my neighbor had a wide stance (political humor!) and his left foot was practically inside my stall. I could have tied our shoes together, if I wanted to let him know we were bathroom-married.

Because of the great distance between the walls and the floor, and the tight distance between the walls and my ears, using the bathroom became a visceral experience. Kind of like defecating in IMAX. We were so close it was as if all my senses were heightened–I could literally hear my neighbor’s anus stretch and relax. Suddenly, I found myself with terrible performance anxiety. At first I thought I would wait out the other guy, but he remained in the stall for a very long time, eerily silent, and I decided if I also remained in eerily silent he would think I had just come there to unwind, and enjoy the hauntingly beautiful sound of another man shitting.

I made a bargain to fight through my fear by psyching myself up with bathroom confidence. You are an animal, I told myself. You are a filthy animal just like this animal sitting next to you. You’re here to do what animals do, without shame, and without restraint. OK, a little restraint. Finally, I mustered up enough courage to be an adult and do what, as an infant, I regularly used to do without question, provocation, or even concern for loved ones and public health. But first, I reached my hand under the wall and told my co-pilot, “Grab my hand, Goose. Let’s do this together.” And then we got inverted.


Recently, I taped one of those VH-1 talking head shows, where comedians and professional wrestlers and editors of Women’s Health Magazine narrate an essential list of cultural moments, such as the 20 Most Pregnant Ladies of the 1980s, or What Were Those Faggots Thinking?!? Part IV. I was a little conflicted about doing it for all sorts of reasons, both real and made up, but was gently talked into it by a friend at the network. She made the very excellent and difficult to ignore point that this would be silly fun, and probably no more harmful to my career than the Hitler uniform I choose to wear onstage at comedy shows, for shock value. (and comfort–the cotton moves remarkably well.)

I went in and, yes, it was actually kind of fun. The only difficult part was my reluctance to use certain kinds of colloquial words that might have pleased the producers. This was because 1) My great respect for the English language causes me to get terrible migraine headaches just from seeing slang like “hottie” or “blogroll” or “23 skidoo” written on a page, and 2) I feel super insincere trying to make that kind of youthful stuff come out of my mouth. (Please understand I realize this also makes me a tremendous prick. My reluctance to fist-bump only makes my interactions more awkward, and my insistence on avoiding emoticons and spelling out every little bit of Internet shorthand is probably only slightly less annoying to people than my insistence on repeatedly telling everyone about these delightful grammatical rules I follow.)

Now that I think about it, there was one other difficult part for me–I had no real memory of about 1/3 of the celebrities I’d been asked to discuss at length. I mean, I recognized their names (mostly), but couldn’t place most of their faces, couldn’t remember their pop songs, never watched their sitcoms, didn’t follow their modeling careers, etc. To their credit, the producers were very nice and did their best to re-awaken my interest in Gabrielle Reece and Toni Braxton, but I guess I was thinking about other things when the rest of the world was obsessing over those two. Actually, it did make me wonder what I was thinking about back then, if not Toni Braxton. Probably something awesome.

Oh wait. I just remembered one last part that was a little difficult for me. (My life is way harder than yours, Burma.) It was not easy to discuss certain things without betraying some measure of cruelty or contempt in my voice. Really, it’s harder than you’d think. For instance, if someone were to say the words “Jordan Knight” to you right now, how many truly positive things would you have to say about him? Keep in mind this isn’t you in the year 1989; this is you with almost 20 years perspective on the version of you that used to wear a gigantic NKOTB button pinned to the single strap holding up your acid-washed denim overalls. I understand and respect that VH-1 prefers upbeat or tongue-in-cheek jokes but, man, when you’re charged with generously offering an extra cultural minute to someone like Jordan Knight or Joey Lawrence, there really is such a fine line between tongue-in-cheek and knife-in-back. (or gun-in-own-mouth.)

Apart from navigating those concerns, I honestly did have a good time and my first thought after wrapping was, “I’d do this again, if the topic were something I’m more familiar/comfortable with.” (i.e. not ’40 Reasons We Used to be Really Horny for Nick Lachey.’) Sure, the experience was a little embarrassing and I definitely wrestled with my own highly self-conscious ideas about integrity, but what it really came down to was this: I got to goof around for an hour. I wasn’t asked to wear a crazy hat, and no one suggested I sing a Gerardo song for grins. I just sat (slumped) in a chair and joked. Pretty painless, kinda fun. Until I saw the show.

Here’s the thing…I sucked. Honestly, after watching the broadcast I was watching some of the other pundits speak very knowledgeably and sentimentally about the show’s subjects and I started thinking, “Ohhhhh, that’s what makes shows work. People who are really good at setting up video clips!” Also, people who are not shy about being very enthusiastic. And people with decent posture. Suddenly, any traces of embarrassment or compromised credibility were supplanted by a very strong sense that I looked chubby, had bad hair, poor posture, and weak eye contact. Also, maybe only about half or fewer of the topics on the program were ones I discussed during my taping. As a result, I didn’t have a lot of screen time. After spending all that time deliberating about doing the show in the first place because it seemed a little shallow, I ended up disappointed that I was barely present in the broadcast and, when I was present, it was a really unappealing, nasal version of me. It proved an O’Henry-esque lesson in dramatic irony. And, with literary references like that one, if VH-1 ever produces a special called ’40 Most Gifted Short Fiction Writers of All Time,’ hopefully I will be asked back. But first, I’ll be sure to take night courses in diction, nutrition, and The Alexander Technique.


Sometimes I speak too much in the superlative, which causes me to second-guess myself. (“Should I really have said calfouti is my favorite custard-based dessert? Is that going to come back to haunt me?”) To remedy this, I’ve gotten really specific in my rankings. Over the weekend, while speaking with my optometrist, I steered the subject of conversation (away from women he’s trying to date and the foibles of his dog) to The Feelies and their imminent reunion this summer. He asked if I really like the band, and I replied, “Absolutely. They’re my fourth favorite band of all time!” I guess this is like small children giving their ages in quarter-years (“I’m four and three quarters, biatch!” etc.) but it’s important for me to accurately represent myself. For instance:


  1. The Pixies
  2. Velvet Underground
  3. Led Zeppelin
  4. The Feelies
  5. Eric B. & Rakim
  6. The Wedding Present


  1. French Bulldog
  2. Pug
  3. Golden Labrador with faded bandana around its neck
  4. Boston Terrier
  5. Basset Hound
  6. Pit Bull with all teeth removed
  7. Anything overweight


  1. Corgi*
  2. Standard Poodle
  3. Miniature Collie
  4. Chow Chow
  5. Any dog with a silky ribbon in its long, idiotic hair


  1. Banh mi
  2. Pulled pork with cole slaw
  3. Chicken salad, bacon, lettuce & mustard on wheat bread (from Eisenberg’s in NYC)
  4. The “magic sandwich” – turkey, mayonnaise, tomato, avocado, and fresh pepper on toasted sourdough bread


  1. shit on a shingle (this is what my mother would offer if i asked her what we were having for dinner more than once, thereby trying her patience.)

*exceptions include: corgi with wheel legs and corgi sleeping on back



pphoto by Lisa Whiteman

I know it’s kind of fruity, but there are seriously times I can’t stand my cats for being this cute. They make me feel like a drooling idiot, because I am unable to take my eyes off them. I want to throw a heavy blanket over them, just to dim the dazzle for a second.

This type of feline configuration is actually pretty common in our home, so you can imagine my consternation. Ble has grown calmer, and her dental and mental health has been improving lately–the belly fur is even growing back, miraculously–possibly because Lisa decided the only way to calm Ble’s peanut-sized brain was to get maximum string-play every day. These days, when Ble approaches my desk making those strange close-lipped gurgling cat yodels with a frayed length of twine in her dumb mouth, instead of rolling my eyes at her, I let her drop the twine at my feet and then pick it up. I twirl it around her clockwise, until she whips her body around enough to lose balance, then twirl it similarly counter-clockwise. A couple minutes of this three or four (or seven) times every day seems like a pretty good trade-off for the return of 99.9% fur coverage.

Last night I was up very late, recovering (re-writing) a script I had lost thanks to my adult ADD and Final Draft’s refusal to autosave by default. This happened to me after a very long day of writing (and not saving), and about 15 minutes after I was struck by a car while crossing the street. For another perspective, it happened 15 minutes before I accidentally spilled an entire tupperware container of refrigerated Quinoa on my kitchen floor, and 17 minutes before the broom I was using to sweep up the spilled Quinoa fell from its position leaning against the refrigerator and landed on the cats’ water bowl, flipping it and its contents 180 degrees .

(Regarding being hit by a car, I was banged up and thrown off-balance but, like Jake LaMotta, I was still standing when it was all over. The car was turning, and I honestly saw it coming but my brain was slowed down and I kept thinking, There’s no way this car can’t see me in the middle of the crosswalk, in the middle of the street. Surely it will stop. In retrospect, it’s probably a good rule to not the benefit of the doubt to cars that are obviously bearing down on you. The worst part was the driver gave me a look like I’d planned the whole thing; as if I’d jumped up from a manhole at the very last minute. I made sure to inform her of this gross misinterpretation of events, peppering my speech with coarse language to impress the drug dealers on the corner who had witnessed the whole thing. I think I might have called her a “dickhead.” High-five, fellas!)

When I shut down my computer at 3am and turned off the lights, I saw Ble and Coleman were once again in the same spot and same positions depicted in the above photo. Ble was awake, and tongue-bathing the top of Coleman’s head so emphatically her fur wasn’t just clean, it was damp. And maybe it was the late hour, my total exhaustion, or the events of the day, but as I watched my cats together I started crying a little. I was thinking about how fragile and neurotic this little cat is, but how genuinely happy she seems right now, and how so much of that happiness seems to be dependent on her relationship with a larger, much older cat who sometimes slaps and menaces her. And then I wondered how she’ll be affected if she outlives Coleman.

I know this is an equally morbid and idiotic to think about, and all the truly evolved people believe animals were put on earth to stop bullets, or eat rodents and burglars, but I couldn’t help myself. A cat’s brain can’t possibly comprehend the largeness of absence in death; my brain barely can and it is, by all accounts, super large. (and smooth) Coleman and Ble are the first cats I’ve been responsible for, so I couldn’t really say firsthand what happens when one survives the other. I know exactly how sad I’d be, but when I considered Ble’s dumb wiring, it was troubling to imagine how death would affect her. I expect she won’t be able to lick all of her fur off fast enough to express her primitive form of grieving.


While in Argentina, a lot of nice things have happened. We trekked on a glacier, ate like decadent pigs, bottle-fed a baby lamb, and saw a dead pony. We also got engaged. I decided, instead of posting a picture of a hand flashing a ring (hers was made of ribbon candy, for now) I would post this picture instead, because I suspect the way this picture makes you feel is similar to the way I feel about spending the rest of my life with Lisa.


The Morning News has been kind enough to publish a multi-part series of autobiographical essays about video games, written by me. The series is called Consoles I Have Known, and first essay, titled, “A Very Weird and Blocky Future,” is available for eyeballs today.


I left my house this morning wearing a pale blue polo shirt, jeans, and black P.F. Flyers, with in-the-ear headphones inserted exactly where they belong. I had a laptop bag harnessed to my back, and in my left hand I carried a tangerine-colored environmentally conscious nylon shopping bag. Inside the bag was a change of shirt for a photo shoot later this evening.

On days like today, I feel like some kind of frail, shivering over-bred dog. It’s frustrating to feel this way–a soft-fleshed, near-sighted capitalist, incapable of holding my own in a serious street fight, and possibly incapable even of fleeing a fight because my sneakers were designed without solid arch support and force my gait into a kind of flat-footed duck walk. And all plugged in like that. Like a high-placing species on Darwin’s “high alert” evolutionary list. My style is thrown horribly into relief by the environment in which I live, which is populated by West Indian men with workboots caked in plaster and old timers with knobby walking sticks and hands cracked like decades of peeling paint. My feet smack-smack-smack the pavement without rhythm, as I proceed to the subway, past adults in Muslim prayer robes, past crackheads fingering the coin return slot on a payphone (a payphone that gets a surprising amount of play), past a guy sitting on a milk crate, and wait on the platform as a layer of self-conscious flop sweat glosses my face.

Over the last year, more and more domesticated animals have settled into my neighborhood. I wonder if the others see their style as I do–a ridiculous affront to tradition. Sometimes I see guys who are even more over-bred than me, and I roll my eyes at them, like a dachshund regarding a chihuahua and thinking, “give me a fucking break.” A couple weeks ago, while navigating the shadowy aisles of my local supermarket–a store so poorly designed and weirdly stocked that my love for it is unconditional, because there is no other choice–I turned a blind corner on the refrigerated dairy section and there, accompanying two semi-fashionable young ladies, was the most precious breed of white guy you could imagine. Skinny, feminine, short hair with long bangs drooping over his oversized glasses. Knee-length, slim fit denim cutoff shorts. Black dress socks and white canvas Pro-Keds. He was sitting on the floor of the aisle, artfully composing a digital photograph, perhaps for his blog, perhaps for his Flickr page, perhaps just to email his friends with a caption like, “omg how kitsch is this???” I was, and still am, highly judgmental and had a difficult time containing my scorn.

On Saturday night, I had a conversation with someone about how maybe style has become ridiculously isolating these days. This is especially true for men, I think. And I don’t know exactly how I feel about it. On one hand, I’m very happy to see people with an interesting sense of style. For instance, I’m really drawn to all the young, black kids I see wearing coordinated day-glo colors, like some kind of hip-hop butterflies. On the other, sometimes style feels less like a fun, personal expression and more like a total disregard for people who might weigh more than you, or have less money for cell phone technology than you, or might be more than five years older than you. When I see it in my neighborhood, my heart sinks a little. And when I see it in myself, I write very long blog posts about it.

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