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.

One Sentence Reviews of Things I Watched On Netflix During Sandy and Her Aftermath

The Last Enemy

The Last Enemy

I am lucky enough to live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where we did not lose power at all during Hurricane/Superstorm/Tropical Storm Sandy. For the better part of last week, I was tucked in on my cozy couch in my cozy apartment with all of the entertainment I could ever want at my fingertips. I read all of the articles on the internet. I saw a good deal of Sandy coverage. I caught up on my DVR. But I would say that mostly I just watched A LOT of Netflix. Here are some short reviews of the things I remember watching on Netflix since last Sunday:

1. Undeclared (series): To be fair, I started watching this before last Sunday but I finished it on Sunday and it was way sharper and funnier than I expected and I hope that Jason Segel starts playing creeps again because he is the best at it.

2. The Last Enemy (2 episodes): Though it stars everyone’s favorite actor and person, Benedict Cumberbatch, I was not impressed by this Masterpiece Contemporary miniseries.

3. The Inbetweeners (seasons 1 & 2): We’ve all seen approximately four thousand high school comedies but this one felt satisfyingly different in that it was constantly cringe-inducing, not at all sentimental and made me laugh very, very hard.

4. Children of the Corn (the second ½ of the movie): My roommates were watching this when I returned from an outing on Tuesday night and I was very relieved that it wasn’t actually that scary, though I’ll admit I spent most of the time trying to read the Wikipedia synopsis so that I could catch up on the action.

5. Woody Allen: A Documentary: I was expecting to be disappointed but this totally inspired me and reminded me of the many things I love about the films of Woody Allen.

6. Being Elmo: Well, I cried during the first five minutes of this documentary about Elmo’s puppeteer, and then pretty much off and on through the rest of the movie but I swear that it is GREAT!

7. For the Bible Tells Me So: Watching this made me feel very white New York liberal, which is how I would feel watching anything if I had any self-awareness.

8. El Bulli: Only got through about half of this as watching a subtitled documentary about molecular gastronomy without my glasses while trying to get work done is like, super difficult.

9. Archer (season 2): The Wee Baby Seamus, Archer’s struggle with breast cancer, the introduction of Cheryl’s ocelot, the return of Barry – I still enjoyed all of these things upon maybe my fourth viewing of this season of Archer.

10. Forks Over Knives (5 minutes): Too depressed after five minutes of hearing how fucked America is to get any further.