All it takes is a global pandemic and a master’s degree. Also, a wise person once said “give people the gift of missing you”, so to the brave who still watch this space, I guess you’re welcome. Anyway, I’m back and vaccinated, so gather round, children, it’s time to unpack this mess.
Let’s get the writing news out of the way first:
My short story TERMINAL is in the latest issue of Excuse Me Mag, aptly named Blood & Bad Times, which is easily the most exciting thing that has happened to me this year.
BLEAK FRIDAY is now available worldwide on Amazon!
I wrote a piece for the Daily Drunk. When I started writing it, I thought it was about pizza. But after I’d finished it, I realized it was about love.
There’s a couple more upcoming things that I’ll refrain from announcing in hopes of updating this here space more often. (Let’s see how long that promise is going to last.)
What else is going on?
Kitchen Confidential: I, too, have a confession to make. I never particularly liked Anthony Bourdain. Maybe it was the seemingly tired cliché I believed he embodied: this big, loud, tattooed, rock n’ roll know-it-all who had already done all the cool things way before we were all even born. I think I was stupidly annoyed by his lack of subtlety, so I ignored him and his beautiful work for a long time. And then he was gone, tragically and inexplicably, and something inside me felt incredibly sorry and sad, because loudmouth wise guys with tattoos and cool girlfriends who travel the world and suck every last drop of this life are not the types to leave voluntarily. Or they’re not supposed to, at least. (Don’t get me wrong: nobody is, but out of all people, he didn’t fit the bill. Hell, he wasn’t even on it.) I started reading Kitchen Confidential on a long, boring and impossibly humid weekend at my parents’ house in the woods, with no internet connection or air conditioning, and I just devoured it, finding myself carried away by his gusto and sharp wit and this bottomless charm that is so genuine and specific to him; I could almost see him, as if I wasn’t stewing on a couch in Athens, but as though we were old partners in crime, sat at a low-lit bar, drinking good whiskey, him narrating his life and occasionally leaning over to whisper the really unhinged, insane parts, blowing up smoke from his cigarette and flashing a cheeky grin. I was so wrong about him and it makes me endlessly sad to remember he’s not walking this earth anymore. Kitchen Confidential is a wonderful book. I know it’s old news, but you should read it – and raise a glass to Tony.
Hashtag Good Guy With A Gun: Jeff Chon is the most talented writer you haven’t read yet, and I’m proud to say we’ve shared a roster. He wrote an important book that shines a light onto the sinister underbelly of the deranged dystopia that was/is Trump-era America: gun violence, conspiracy theories, radicalization. Pick it up.
Disclaimer: these are all kind of old news. Lately, I haven’t been playing since I’ve been in a sadomasochistic exclusive relationship with my thesis for a couple of months now, but time stopped making sense back in March 2020, so here’s my top picks from the first six months of 2021.
Carrion: It’s a beautiful day, and you are a horrible amorphous mass that terrorizes and eats its way through a research facility. The Cronenberg-esque premise is slick, smart and original, and it’s retro blood-soaked fun.
Dead Cells: Dead Cells is infuriating and of course I’ve fallen in love with it because I’m stupid and I like to torture myself with hellish roguelikes (amongst other things). But the greatness lies in how challenging it is; last time it felt this rewarding to beat a game, I was playing The Binding Of Isaac.
Hades: From the makers of Bastion, this is another roguelike gem (…do you see a pattern here?) Amazing artwork and narration, excellent soundtrack and bonus points for the isometric design – it sort of fills that Diablo-shaped hole in my heart.
and the same twenty songs I’ve been listening to for the last twenty years, but that’s a playlist for a future post.
Pig. I don’t think I could endorse Cage’s love and loss era more. He’s doing some of the finest acting of his career.
Sound of Metal. Cathartic. I had tears running down my face six minutes in, and that doesn’t happen very often, and I was still crying as the end credits rolled, and that has never happened before.
Hustlers. This movie will make you cry for other reasons, and these reasons are called “Jennifer Lopez’s ass”.
That’s it for now. I’ll see you on the flipside.