Hello stranger

It’s been a while. At this point, everyone’s unfamiliar to me. Life has become exponentially bleaker since we last talked. I’m sad and mad and exhausted and disillusioned, which is not a good sign, because that’s when you usually stop caring, and I want to care. But it’s taking a ton of effort these days. Here’s a small list of distractions with the occasional speed review peppered in:

Film:

Todd Solondz movies. Some of my favorite shots of all time in his arsenal. Melancholy technicolor suburbia, dark humor, the kind of slice-of-life that makes you daydream and ache inside all at once.

Mandy. Oh boy. That was a glorious wild ride from start to finish. Imagine going from sleepy art dreamscape to all hell breaking loose to the most satisfying, bloody, rampant revenge porn in 121 minutes. I’m talking DOOM-meets-Nicolas Winding Refn-meets every single heavy metal album cover from the 80s. Nicolas Cage is brilliant in it: torn apart, demented, enraged, tender and everything in between. Music by the late and great Jóhann Jóhannsson is the cherry on top.

YouTube:

How to Drink: a trolley bar recently came into my possession so I decided to delve into mixology territory – what better time to get wasted than quarantine/self-imposed exile? Greg is charming and fun, and always gives a little bit of backstory to every cocktail, which is a nice touch if you’re interested in the tradition and origins of alcohol. He often recreates drinks from pop culture as well (favorites here and here). I’m currently very much into his Tiki series.

Series:

Seinfeld, as per usual. In a strange twist of fate, summer 2020 ended up being the actual summer of George.

Jeopardy! Honestly, it’s pretty much what’s been keeping me sane lately, and Alex Trebek must be protected at all costs.

True crime picks:

Unsolved Mysteries. I only knew the Ligonnais case, so I binged the whole thing in a day. Netflix coverage has brought in loads of tips, so I’m looking forward to reading up on new evidence as cases go active again.

Books:

Isaac Asimov’s The Rest Of The Robots. I just love how seamlessly this flows. I have insane trouble concentrating, and this is the kind of book that I pick up and read fifty or sixty pages without realizing. I also enjoy the concept of the benevolent robot, for once; the Faustian fate of humans has been beaten to death, and Asimov makes an excellent point regarding how we should handle the new and exciting things we build with good intentions.

Malcolm Lowry’s Under The Volcano. I’d been avoiding this for a while, and with good reason. This is plain and simple heartbreak. The visceral kind that tugs at your seams. Amazing writing, super detail-heavy, but oh so beautiful. Addiction, ruination, Oaxaca. There is no sadder word.

Drinking the Devil’s Acre: in keeping with the bar theme, I’ve been very into this lovely book. A glimpse into 1910s San Francisco and a ton of original recipes for classic cocktails, best Bloody Mary recipe I’ve ever come across included- a decently spicy Bloody Mary is probably my favorite thing to drink, my Kryptonite, my Holy Grail. Finding a barkeep who gets how it’s supposed to taste has been a struggle. To me, a proper Mary is a remedy. It’s got texture and character and just enough of a kick and somewhat soothing and this inexplicable comfort food quality, like a good bowl of soup. It’s neither something you drink to get drunk, nor the oily mess with a celery stick on top so many places like to send out. Greek salad-esque Bloody Marys are the bane of my existence. I got a bone to pick.

Music:

Bad Bunny, duh. No es que sea antisocial, es que ustedes dan mala vibra.

New stuff from the Sad Girls club: Phoebe BridgersAgnes Obel and Angel Olsen.

And some from the Doomsday Boys club: IdlesProtomartyr and the return of my favorite mess of a person, Mike Skinner.

Grimes. I always liked her a lot, and I think she’s genuinely innovative and smart, and quite frankly, Miss Anthropocene is excellent. The concept is great, the samples are complex, the visuals are insane, she’s a very versatile artist – and she’s also a human being dealing with a shitty boyfriend. We’ve all been there. #relatable

Sam Himself. Slow Drugs is soft, velvety and beautiful, and he reminds me of Johnny Lee Miller in Trainspotting, which is exactly the kind of guy teenage me would develop a desperate crush for.

Aminé. He’s just so inherently cool. I get the feeling that he doesn’t even have to try to crank out these bangers.

John Frailey, aka Cat Mountain Arizona. Can’t wait for his debut album. I stumbled upon him on Reddit Sessions and became a fan instantly. He also introduced me to Big Thief, whose 2017 album I’ve grown to really like; he always does a lovely cover of Shark Smile whenever he goes live.

Fatboy Slim’s Lockdown Mixtapes. The most fun I’ve had in awhile.

Tom Waits from like fifteen years ago, for whatever reason. The heart wants what it wants.

And Amy, who I miss terribly. It’s been eight long years.

Misc:

I made a thing. I’ll be making more of those. Hopefully they’ll be slicker in the future, at least file size- and format-wise. SPITE #1 was literally thrown together: pen and paper, scanned with an Ipad, noise added in Photoshop, terribly converted to pdf. But hey, it is alive.

You should check out Excuse Me mag and code::art zine.

I’m sitting on a story that should have gone to print months ago, but then the world imploded, so it’s been pushed back for now. The book is coming along nicely, and I’ve got a new working title. It’s going to take a while before it’s done, but I’m not fretting. Apparently we’ve got all the time in the world.Published 16 Aug 2020

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