NON-EXPERT

Did you know I wrote this week’s non-expert column for The Morning News? It’s true. I helped a lovelorn young man who was desperately trying to understand some complicated signs he was receiving from an ex-girlfriend. I might have even saved his life! You can read it here and judge for yourself.

REJECTIFIED

Hello. Do you like words? Especially when they’re all smashed together to form thoughts? And what about when those thoughts are entertaining and heartfelt? If so, then have I got a blog post for you!

I contributed a story about a bachelor party I planned, and ruined, to a new book titled REJECTED: Tales of the Failed, Dumped, and Canceled, which comes out next week. Thankfully, this being the Internet, you can even pre-order a copy right now.

And if you are going to be in the NYC area next Tuesday, January 27th, I’ll be reading my contribution to the book at The Bell House in Brooklyn for the REJECTED launch party/live show.

Some of the other scheduled performers include David Wain, David Rees, Mike Albo, Dave Hill, Odd Todd, Sara Schaefer, Tom McCaffrey, Katina Corrao–plus, live music from THE DEFIBULATORS. The event will be hosted by the creator of The Rejection Show and the editor of this anthology, Jon Friedman.

AND YES, I TWITTER

When I first learned about Twitter at SXSW 2007 I was somewhat critical of its utility. (or lack thereof) I’m still not totally convinced it’s practical beyond the following uses:

  • locating friends at a convention
  • letting friends know how bored you are in the class/convention panel you’re attending
  • making sure total strangers understand exactly how important your friends/social plans/creative projects/Hollywood meetings are
  • asking questions about new iPhone apps
  • answering questions about new iPhone apps
  • exhibiting your deliciously pithy wit
  • smashing a bunch of keys with giant thumbs and hitting send (applies only to Shaquille O’Neal)
  • telling people you’re “friends” with Stephen Fry

Of course, all of that hasn’t stopped this hypocrite from adopting Twitter. If you have a very short attention span and wish to follow my Internet twitter litter trail, you can do so at twitter.com/trembledotcom.

THE POORLY NAMED SHOW THAT WILL SURELY BE FUN

If you are going to be in the NYC area over Christmas, here’s some great news — this year Christmas Eve doesn’t have to be a poignant reminder that we all die alone!

I’ll be performing in the 92Y Tribeca’s Chanukomedy Show, hosted by JOE MANDE and featuring some great joke-makers, including JANEANE GAROFALO, LEO ALLEN, BRET GELMAN, AMY SCHUMER, and RACHEL FEINSTEIN. I stand by this line-up! Here are the details:

92Y Tribeca Presents Chanukomedy
Wednesday, December 24 @ 8pm
92YTribeca: 200 Hudson St. (just below Canal)

Tickets are only $12, and can be purchased here. You can also RSVP to the event on Facebook, just like they do in the future!

The show should be so much fun, you’ll go from this…

…to this!

THIS IS A VERY GOOD THING

The Morning News is a very respectable web publication staffed with very respectable writers and designers and illustrators all working very hard to disprove the idea that the web is a disposable publishing medium — and, in my opinion, they are succeeding. However, just to disprove the point they just worked so hard to disprove, they have done something special with their creative energy: published (in the truest sense) the first-ever The Morning News Print Annual.

Among its 200 (!) pages, the editors have collected some of their favorite pieces from 2008 and have also (bonus!) commissioned 21 new pieces from some of their writing staff. One of those new pieces was written by me expressly for this annual, so if you’d like to read it you should buy this thing now. I would also add that there are 200 pages worth of other reasons to buy this damn thing. If I know the editors of TMN — and I’d like to think I do — I know they made certain they were producing a quality (maybe even respectable) product.

It would make a fine gift, and also a fine small, selfish gesture during this holiday season. Plus, for this initial run there is only a limited quantity of 200 copies. So please, do us all a favor.

COMEDY CENTRAL AT CRASH MANSION

I will make this short and sweet. I am performing in Comedy Central’s new “live at Crash Mansion” comedy series, this upcoming Monday, October 6th. It’s a very fun lineup, and I’m providing the details right here:

“COMEDY CENTRAL AT CRASH MANSION” is a bi-weekly variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, musical acts, digital shorts and more.

This week, comedian Liam McEneaney hosts:
- Nate Bargatze
- Michelle Buteau
- Mike Drucker
- Todd Levin
- Anthony Jeselnik

at CRASH MANSION
199 Bowery (@ Spring St.)
New York, NY 10002

Monday, October 6th
8pm-9:30pm
TICKETS: $5
FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL: 212-982-0740

PRE-COGNITIVELY LIVE BLOGGING THE VP DEBATE

Today, at VanityFair.com, you’ll find a piece I wrote for them about live blogging the VP debates a full day before they happen.

I only hope my work for the magazine’s web site will guarantee me a much-coveted invitation to the exclusive Vanity Fair after-party for the 2009 Webby Awards.

100 SIGNS YOUR COLLEGE IS NOT PRESTIGIOUS

This month’s RADAR features the latest “RADAR 100″ list–Signs Your College Is Not Prestigious. I’m really happy with the way this one turned out. The full list is available online and, if you purchase the magazine, it also appears as a full-sized, pull-out poster suitable for dorm rooms. I think this might be my first “poster” writing credit.

I wanted to include some items from my list that didn’t make the cut but, honestly, this time around the editors actually picked most of my favorite ones. (And a few others I didn’t remember writing but in fact had.) Still, there were a few that slipped through the cracks, like:

  • Term papers graded on Hustler’s “five penis” ratings system
  • Graduation robes have “GOLDEN-PALACE.COM” printed on the back
  • The essay question on your enrollment application was, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?”
  • Your alumni newsletter has a “casual encounters” section
  • The alma mater has a twelve-minute guitar solo
  • Hanging in the dean’s office is an oil painting of Mahatma Ghandi beating off into a sweatsock
  • Hanging in the dean’s office is a oil painting of Benjamin Franklin using a glory hole
  • Campus shooter accidentally left his gun on safety
  • Figure drawing classes have a clearly posted “no touching” policy
  • Every diploma has a piece of gum inside
  • Your Semiotics professor insists on being called “Big Worm”
  • You were enrolled on a Halfbright grant

(And, though RADAR used “Your school mascot is a tiger in a wheelchair,” I had also included a few alternate mascots I kind of liked: “An eagle wearing a safety helmet” and “Calvin taking a whizz on the Harvard crest”)

MAKING ME EAT MY WORDS

A few weeks ago, I had some pretty harsh words for Manhattan-based coffee haus, Macchiato. It was then brought to my attention that Macchiato may not have the finest coffee, but they possess a secret weapon: fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Now I am nothing if not fair and thorough, particularly with regards to investigating baked goods. So, in the interest of promoting justice and balance in my final assessment of Macchiato, I visited this afternoon and purchased an iced coffee and a chocolate chip cookie. The coffee was weak and bitter–ring a bell, ARBITRARILY CHOSEN EX-GIRLFRIEND?–and, as usual, there was no liquid sugar to numb the pain. Then I took a bite of the (still warm) cookie and damn, Macchiato. Damn. You may have lost the coffee war with Joe but you just carpet-bombed those hippies cookie-wise. Eating a Joe’s vegan chocolate and peanut butter cookie (not as bad as you’d think, but almost) is like having your tonsils scraped when compared to the homemade dripping sweetness of these Macchiato chocolate chip-flavored ecstasy pills. Joe, I totally support our cookie troops but sometimes the only way to really show support is to demand they be removed from combat and sent home, providing “home” is a dumpster behind Grand Central Station. Sorry, guys. We can still meet for lattes, right?

Macchiato’s cookies are small, too, which is good because so many places overdo it with cookie size. I’m a grown-up; I should be able to dwarf my cookie, size-wise. Giant cookies make me feel like a very tall infant. It’s like walking around with one of those big swirly lollipops: “Gangway, everyone! It’s num-num time and I need plenty of room to enjoy my cookie reward!”

If these chocolate chip cookies have one downside–which they don’t, and I should slap you for ever suggesting such a thing–it’s that they’ve left me feeling very confused about Macchiato. How did this cold, heartless robot learn so much about love? And does that mean we can all learn to love, too? Macchiato is officially a conundrum to me. How can a coffee shop be such equal parts ice-veined, Teutonic monster and kindly old lady? Maybe it’s my fault for being confused. After all, Macchiato does represent itself very clearly in its advertising. Take a look:

Great jingle, too.

SECOND PLACE IS FIRST TO LOSE

If you’re so inclined, The Morning News has made available the final essay in my six-part series about my life in video games, “Consoles I Have Known.” This one is about the console war between the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and how I became one of its many casualties. Oh, read it for yourself. It’s called “Second Place is First to Lose.”

In a way, the article is also about the way popular opinion is formed, and how that has changed a lot in the blog era. (yuck. sorry.) One video game blog in particular, Kotaku.com, figures pretty heavily into the story as its been kind of a daily obsession for me over the last couple of years. I really do enjoy this site though I do often lose patience for it just as I lose patience for most things published by Gawker. Their writers tend to stretch too often and too hard for the put-down, even where it can’t really justify one.

Kotaku also has a very lively comments section which is, above all else, frustrating. I’ve always felt like, in comments sections, intelligent discussion can often exist but never prevails. Kotaku is very guilty of that, so I usually try not to read the comments. Unfortunately, they’ve made that impossible for me today because they (very nicely) linked to my story on The Morning News, and now it (and the question of whether I’m funny, boring, gay, or simply a tool with no opinion) has become part of a typical flame war on the site. I can’t say I didn’t have this coming to me.

Homepage photo: Lindsey Byrnes
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