I'd like to thank all the editors I've worked with over the years for letting me write about so much wacky shit. Here are the highlights.
BUZZFEED | “Grace And Frankie” Is A Great Show That I Find Deeply Disturbing
I’ve always found Grace and Frankie uniquely disturbing. At first, I couldn’t quite pinpoint why. I initially chalked it up to me watching 100% of the first five seasons while 100% stoned. In this Netflix series about two women and their ex-husbands who left them for each other, there are plenty of opportunities to think too deeply about mortality. Lily Tomlin (who plays Frankie, a freewheeling Deadhead) and Jane Fonda (who plays Grace, a type A, martini-drinking entrepreneur) are now 80 and 82, respectively. So it makes sense that I might fixate on the too-close-to-real-life quality of Grace getting a knee replacement or Frankie having a stroke. The possibility of dying at any moment isn’t so much a conceit of the show as it is a sobering reality.
THE OUTLINE | My Summer at the Saddest Apartment Complex on Television
It didn’t take long to realize this would be no ordinary summer camp. Instead of tucking into warm cabins at night, we’d be wandering the beige halls of a furnished apartment complex. Our bunkmates would be newly divorced dads, and low-rent bachelors dreaming of someday seeing their names in credits. In lieu of lakes and tennis courts, we had an abandoned yet perpetually humid gym and a bean-shaped pool chlorinated of all life. Summer camps are commonly referred to as microcosms of real life, but here we plunged into the deep end of adulthood at its saddest."
VICE | How the Satanic Temple Became a Queer Haven
In the early '90s, Ash Blackwood (who goes publicly by his pseudonym, Ash Astaroth) was an openly gay teen looking for community in his tiny Ohio suburb—and he found it when he stumbled upon Satanism. With his piercings and blue hair, he found empowerment by embracing his own brand of weirdness—something that brought him routine high school bullying, but seemed to be embraced by the Church of Satan. Without a physical church to visit, he said he'd spend a few hours each day at his local library, logging onto online Satanic forums and chatting with like-minded souls. For several years, those virtual chats sufficed.
GOOD | "Get Out" Got Everything Right About Racism. Here’s What They Nailed About Hypnotism, Too
Jordan Peele may not have set out to accurately depict hypnotherapy in a film that so profoundly depicts racial conflict in America today. But according to professional hypnotherapist Richard Barker, who’s been treating clients with hypnosis for more than 20 years, Peele’s sinister portrayal of the therapeutic technique is surprisingly dead on, while also commenting critically about persuasion and mechanics of the mind.
GOOD | “It’s Like Airbnb, But For Eating”: Dining With Strangers Via BonAppetour
For the first hour I’m there, Vasta toils over a juicer, pressing fresh carrots, oranges, ginger, beets, and lemons into a coral-colored elixir. At first, I think we’re sticking with liquids for dinner—again, this is L.A. But when she finally transfers the mixture to a pitcher, she says, “Now I’ll start cooking real dinner.” This is how I know I’m in it for the long haul. I pour myself another glass of lukewarm sparkling water and sort through my mental Rolodex of appropriate small talk subjects. At this point, we’ve already covered books, music, our hometowns, and the weather. We dipped our toes in politics only to swiftly retreat with a mutual lack of interest. I panic thinking there isn’t anything left to ask when I remember why I’m here in the first place.
GOOD | The Backwards Economy Of No Good, Very Bad Restaurants
You can typically spot a bad restaurant from a mile away: Dingy front windows obscure what’s inside as flies hover around a menagerie of cast-off chairs blocking the entrance. Patrons who resemble insane asylum escapees grumble over cigarettes; a massive Trump sign protrudes from the roof, and there’s nothing that can cut through the smell of hundred-year-old grease. Or at least, that’s what the hot dog place around the corner from me is like—a miserable hovel by the name of Oki Dog. At the corner of Fairfax and Willoughby in Los Angeles, it is a pitiful sight to behold. In this age of online reviews, highfalutin foodies, and Pinterest worthiness, it’s hard to understand how a place like Oki Dog manages to stay open at all. Online, it houses some of the most hilarious yet appalling reviews I’ve ever seen—and this is coming from someone who’s made a hobby out of reading bad Yelp reviews.
LIFEHACKER | Get Your Kids A Pet Chicken
Watching Victoria follow my mom around the garden and respond affectionately to a back scratch kind of blew my mind as a kid. I’d previously assumed domesticated meat animals lived robotic, semi-conscious lives. Interacting with chickens opened my eyes to the depth and variety of experiences happening among every living creature around me. Caring for chickens past their egg-laying days taught me to empathize with animals that weren’t necessarily cuddly or fluffy or young or cute. Had I not grown up with chickens, I’m sure it would have taken much longer to understand the process my food goes through before landing on my plate. It’s not a stretch to say Victoria—and all the chicks who came after her—helped shape me into an inquisitive, compassionate adult.
HOBART PULP | First Week of April, Los Angeles
got crab and salmon sushirritos with the ex and put on planet earth 2 right at the moment sir david attenborough says the crab eats the dead skin off the marine iguana's back. i think i'm gonna be sick the ex says. at the movies i leave halfway through to pick up some lotion-y body wash at the downstairs cvs. the cashier asks the man in front of me if he’s going to a party. no the man says. i'm european and this is a normal day for me. in the parking garage a man avoids eye contact and asks is trader joe's open? i don't know i say. is it open? i put the bag in the car and go back to the theater where the ex is still sipping his water and stalin is dead is still a pretty pitiful movie. dad calls to wish me a happy easter and i say oh yeah
PRAIRIE SCHOONER | Me and All the Other Sevens of the World
My mother was born 31 years and 49 days before me. In that time, I burrowed into her core like a ticking time bomb, or so she likes to say in so many words, before I erupted into this water-hungry world nine pounds round and she restored herself with a mocktail of tropical juices. All of this went down on a bright blue winter afternoon—the birthing, the bombing—just a mile’s drive from the Pacific Ocean. Her mother was there, the smallest of us Russian dolls, chatting nonstop to her seventh and best husband in the lobby, her squeals trailing down the laminated halls. Before trading in the seashell-patterned hospital gown for an oversized crew-neck and leggings, before coiling her long, root beer bob into a clip and packing all the lip tints and powders she hadn’t touched for days into her lumpy leather purse, my mother would enjoy a moment of silence with her newborn baby. She sat upright in bed with her hands folded in her lap like a choirgirl and waited for the nurse to arrive with the best possible parts of herself mopped up and bundled. When the nurse arrived at last, my mother sighed in the politest possible way and said, “Cute baby, but it’s not mine.”