Geeking Out

On Sunday, I met my friend Alli in my old neighborhood to do some writing. I’d intended on working on a short story that I’ve been revising – well, mostly deleting and rewriting – for a few months. Of course, I didn’t end up deleting or writing another word of it. Instead, I started writing a sort of sad sack essay on being lonely in Paris when I was studying abroad there in the fall of 2007. I’ve been thinking a lot about that recently because, well, it’s fall and I was in Paris in the fall and I just happen to be thinking about that time rather than the falls of my childhood or high school or college. Anyway, I mention this because someone else published an essay on Paris and loneliness this week. You can read the beginning on The Hairpin but to read the rest you have to buy the story – it comes with all of the other ones in the same series about travel – on Amazon. (After I’m done writing this post up, I will go back to trying to turn my own essay into a not-super-depressing piece of garbage.)

Also on Sunday, I went to The Strand, as I like to do when I’m in that neck of the woods, to buy my book club’s next read. We’re reading Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, which I read, I think, after my freshman year of college. It’s one of my favorite books, but somehow I’ve never acquired my own copy. Now I do have one of my own, which I got by asking one of the booksellers at The Strand to climb a ladder and take it from one of the higher shelves. I usually don’t even get books from the high shelves because I mostly  go to the Strand to browse and end up with too many books anyway, so I always tell myself that I don’t need the ones I can’t reach. (Also, I am afraid of ladders.)

Anyway, I started rereading Geek Love yesterday and was flooded with memories. First of all, I am still in awe of the prose. I think I got the same giddy feeling I had while reading the first chapter when I was 18 or 19. And secondly, I have been thinking about Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea pretty much constantly since I opened the book. I happened to be super into that album while I was reading Geek Love the first time and it was perfect. Like, I have never been simultaneously obsessed with two pieces of art that, I thought, so complemented one another. But I’m staying away from that album for now. Making the same magic happen again seems pretty unlikely and I don’t want to be disappointed.

While I’m on the subject of music…I don’t write enough about it. I usually write about what I read here every week, but what I’m listening to takes up just as much space in my brain. My fall soundtrack has been inspired by a few things:

1. Music for Maniacs: I’d totally forgotten about this blog. But then I noticed that WFMU was linking to it on Twitter and…I fell down a Music for Maniacs black hole. This dude mostly covers eccentric/outsider music and puts together some pretty great mixtapes. He also made me see Annette Funicello in a whole new light.

2. Kurt Vile’s KV Mixtape: I saw this on Stereogum yesterday and haven’t stopped listening to it. Well, haven’t stopped listening to most of it. The songs on here inspired his recent album, Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze, one of my favorite albums this year. (Back in April, I wrote something about going to a Kurt Vile show.) I highly recommend! (The mixtape and tracklist are at the link, on Soundcloud).

3. Wikipedia: Sometimes I just re-go-through this list of Jangle Pop Bands. Like you do.

4. Modern Vampires of the City: I have listened to and seen a lot of Vampire Weekend in the last few years. (Most recently, I saw them perform at the Barclays Center this past Friday.) I didn’t really listen to Modern Vampires of the City until the middle of this summer, but I’ve found that it’s one of very few albums released this year that I keep going back to, so.

5. Stuff that sounds like Broadcast: So, mainly Broadcast. And also The Postmarks. (Who, incidentally, I was very into when I was in Paris six years ago.)

That’s that. Except I have a few other quick links to share today!

I read a two week-old New York Magazine on the elliptical last night…I got through an article on the GOP’s plot to kill Obamacare and this other one on Rebel Wilson (which was not as good or as enlightening as I had hoped, though I found out that she also likes Hello Kitty, so that’s a thing).

And today I’ve been reading this Paris Review interview with Woody Allen, which was conducted between 1985 (mostly at his table at Elaine’s) and 1995.

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Friday Reads: Guy Fieri Blah Blah Blah

This week was weird. I don’t even remember it, really. I spent the entirety of Monday night in a state of sleepy wakefulness – or wakeful sleepiness – and since then I’ve felt like I’ve been living in a really boring dream in which things like Excel spreadsheets and laundry have featured prominently. (Incidentally, I was conscious of many of the dreams that I was having between 2:45 and 6 AM on Tuesday. All of them were insane and in two of them I was wearing my sleeping mask.)

Anyway. I’ve decided to start sharing the things I read during the week again. So here are some things I read that you can read if you didn’t already, even though I’m pretty sure that you read at least one of these things:

Pete Wells on Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar (New York Times): Duh. I mean, we all love this kind of stuff, right? (Also, responses to the criticism on Salon and The Awl.)

The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly (New York Times): Because I love human interest stories.

What Was Your Weirdest Celebrity Sex Dream? (The Awl): Some of these are rather amusing.  Also, I’ll tell mine to anyone who asks.

Comedy Central’s 10 Comics to Watch (Splitsider): Uh, I didn’t read this because it’s a video but definitely do yourself a favor and skip ahead to Kate Berlant because she’s incredible.

– And I haven’t actually read this last thing but I plan on doing so today because Louise Erdich won the National Book Award this week for Round House. It’s her 2010 The Art of Fiction Interview with The Paris Review. (I actually have a copy of this issue in my room because I’m a terrible hoarder.)

Honestly, I don’t have any other worthwhile links to share. I haven’t even been able to keep up with my magazines these last few weeks. Why? Because I’ve been doing the following things:

– Reading and finishing Parisians by Graham Robb

– Watching every Louis C.K. comedy special

– Working at my job

– Trying to write what I think might be a novel but will probably just be something I forget about for a while and remember in a few years when I am deleting things from my hard drive to free up space on my computer

– Planning a large pre-Thanksgiving gathering for Saturday (more on that next week)

And on that note: Have a great weekend, everyone!