“Rebecca can you tell us a bit more about the moment you knew you wanted to be a writer?”

“I’m not sure exactly, but I can tell you for a fact that the first time I heard Josh Pan’s 15 minute long remix of IT G MA I was changed forever; there was no going back”

something at el matador

today my roommate and i drove to the beach. it was a terrible day to go, really – i mean the weather was perfect, 90 degrees and sunny – but this is los angeles, and today was a saturday, and also graduation weekend, and also the first very hot day of the year, so the freeway was clogged and the beach was packed and every restaurant looked like it hadn’t quite survived a war

anyway once we finally made it to el matador state beach we sat on our towels and took in the scene. a bridesmaid party in tacky white and flower crowns, a bunch of contoured girls taking modeling shots of each other, a million families and gay guys and blow up toys and volleyballs and outfits, everything from skinny jeans to thong bikinis

anyway i’m just trying to get to this one weird part, where my roommate said those kids are cute and i looked over and saw them, two emaciated little boys in matching swim trunks looking down at the sand as they pulled their parents along by the hands

yes they are, i said. they were probably four years old, and walking funny, heads down, bodies pitched forward, bones jutting out at every angle, so very very very tan and blonde, unable to walk in straight lines. as they passed my roommate whispered, they have some developmental disabilities. they’re moving like the kids i used to work with at the group home

and almost instantly one of them dropped his mom’s hand and zigzagged back the way they came, very concerned

what are you looking for buddy? his mom asked, following.

i can’t find my stick, he said, eyebrows furrowed. suddently he was walking walking straight towards me.

what’s that sweetie?

i can’t find my stick, he said again. now he was right in front of my blanket. looking at me with giant giant giant clear eyes.

we’ll find you another one, sweetie, said his mom, and gently pulled him away. poor guy, we said to each other. there are no sticks on el matador state beach. nothing but rocks and sand and water and people drinking vodka. they won’t find a stick for him anywhere.

maybe thirty minutes? an hour? later i sat up and placed my palm on my towel to steady myself. i felt something hard and lumpy underneath my hand. i folded back the blanket to see what it was.

a short, thick, knobbly stick, worn clean by the ocean, with one side covered in a row of unreadable driftwood runes.

archaea

From Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (two college boys talking to each other, 1968):

“ ‘What kind of authors do you like?’ I asked, speaking in respectful tones to this man two years my senior.

‘Balzac, Dante, Joseph Conrad, Dickens,’ he answered without hesitation.

‘Not exactly fashionable.’

‘That’s why I read them. If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. That’s the world of hicks and slobs. Real people would be ashamed of themselves doing that. Haven’t you noticed, Watanabe? You and I are the only real ones in this dorm. The other guys are crap.’

This took me off guard. ‘How can you say that?’

‘’Cause it’s true. I know. I can see it. It’s like we have marks on our foreheads. And besides, we’ve both read The Great Gatsby.’”


What are you reading?

What are you listening to?

What are you watching?

How do you consume, and where, and why?


This is what i’ve been thinking about for a while now. It seems like the very act of reading is impressive to people these days – “You read books? a coworker asked me once over salads, to which I had no real response – so I guess I think of it more in terms of general media. Binge-worthy TV shows. Podcast culture. Drake. “Serial.”  “Stranger Things.” “The Night Of.”

I’m reading another Murakami book right now – Sputnik Sweetheart – so clearly I’ve got Haruki on the brain. Whenever I read Murakami I have the tendency to dress like his characters, behave like them, eat like them, dream their kind of lucid, unsettling dreams.

{Simple clothing. A sense of transcendent boredom. Of being immersed in the inexplicable. Plain-jane normalcy: the only space where the surreal can take hold – once the egoic pretensions drop, once you stop trying, once you pay attention to the delicate arrangement of simple food on a simple plate, etc.}

Anyway, I sat outside today at lunch with my book and eavesdropped on girls from another company talking about podcasts, TV shows, and how much they *love* the Brentwood Farmer’s Market – the kind of aimless conversations I have with my own coworkers before I excuse myself from boredom. These girls were all slightly overweight, with faces buried under contoured makeup and the kind of voices and shoes that suggest they know they should be more confident than they actually are.

Yet another moment where I shore up my own rituals and habits – novel before me, phone stowed in another room, vintage sweater, clear skin, homemade organic salad – as proof of my own superiority. Which of course I need because in fact I sense deep down that I am a nothing. And that I even have to think of human beings in those terms…that’s where it all starts to eat itself.  Is being aware, at least, a start? I want to grow, actually grow, not just hold a growth-shaped hole against other people to make myself feel better about my own addictions.

Structurally, that above paragraph is unrelated to the point I was trying to make about Murakami/reading/media consumption. But maybe the real point I’m trying to make is that I am feeling such tension between being irritated by everyone’s complacency and being compassionate. “Trying not to be a dick,” but also “kind of judgmental” maybe is the best phrasing.

Behold my brain, etc. Behold the mark on my forehead.

I know you know what I’m talking about. I know how badly you need that mark on your forehead just like me. I know that is why we spoke in the first place. Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind. I’m in a corporate office. I need to get back to work.

 

 

White men I’ve considered being but decided against

  1. Hamlet

I know this seems like an odd choice right off the bat, but think about it: he was handsome, rich, intelligent, totally ineffectual, really miserable – a regular West LA hipster, but sub beach for snow and sun for Danish bros rolling on ennui.

Ham and I have always had a ton in common – I too think Ophelia is clingy. I too am into skulls, especially for decorating. But I don’t know how to duel and I’m not that interested in learning, to be h with you.

2. Jack Kerouac.

Oh Jack. I tried so hard.

In the attempts to impress both you and a guy I liked in college, I rode trains all over the West Coast, scribbling notes in my journal and eating cheap food from jars. I stayed up night after night in the Observation Car reading On the Road for the whatevereenth time, taking notes in the margins, trying convince myself that I actually liked your work. I wore just a few pairs of clothes because caring about fashion was normcore, and I, like you, was made of stardust.

I planned to get one of your Belief & Technique for Modern Prose tips tattooed on my arm, but I hadn’t decided which  – maybe “You’re a Genius all the time” or “Blow as deep as you want to Blow.” In typewriter-style letters.

I eventually wanderlusted all the way to the Middle East, where I scribbled in more notebooks, tried to stay hydrated, and got terribly homesick.

But Jack, it wasn’t for me. The clothes were ugly, the food was bland, and it just got boring, in the end, all that shifting around trying to be impressed by things that just really weren’t that cool.

3. DH Lawrence

I was looking to have sex in the woods with a silent stranger in an attempt to free myself from the shackles of industrialism, until I remembered that it’s way too late to escape consumer capital and clickbait is my master and also David Henry you seem to talk pretty big about what a woman’s orgasm feels like for someone who doesn’t have a clitoris.

4. Matt from Bio 101

Matt from Bio 101 is not an actual person, but rather a generic conglomerate of the Obscure Object of Desires we’ve all had in our lives. Matt from Bio 101 went out every night while I stayed in the library researching Beowulf. Matt from Bio 101 was at underground shows, warehouse raves, and depraved, hallucinogen-fueled house parties. He looked effortlessly cool. He lived in a dope house off campus with genderqueer shamans, and they made conceptual art and mixed ambient electronic hip-hop and rode fixed-gear bikes and had a house drawer stocked with prescription-grade opiates.

I knew that if Matt from Bio 101 thought I was cool I would be able to finally start living. Other people would look at my hair and want to be me.

Matt, however, really appreciated that I let him copy my lab results and distinctly did not find me, in my old navy capris, “suitable to party.”

5. My ex-boyfriend, lets call him Paul

Because he was an artist which sounded so rad and cool, because he would “lose himself in the ecstasy” of painting or drawing or making giant cigarettes out of plywood or whatever.

6. Don Draper

Only for a minute during Season 1.

Start-Ups to Watch in 2016

Because I work in tech/media, I started 2016 inundated with press releases from hot new companies vying for my attention. I know how overwhelming it can be to decide how to spend your money as a means to fill your inner void, so I’ve made a list of my top 8 start-ups to watch in 2016. New year, new you, new products to love. Happy 2016!

  1. Chilly Lube

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Handcrafted in Portland, OR, Chilly Lube is the first love gel to give you and your partner that cold, dry feeling on wet hot nights. Chilly Lube is water based, free-range, and tested on non-GMO bunnies.

2. RedundAPP
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This cool Phoenix-based app lists what you’ve already done today so you don’t have to do it again, or pay attention to your own existence.

3. APPle

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This fun, interactive game shows you photos of apples and Apples ™ and lets you guess which one is which! Think you can distinguish a Washington Honeycrisp from a Rose Gold iPhone 6s? An organic Fuji from an iPad mini? Bring your A-game  watch your points stack up. For players 13+.

4. Frushi!

 

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A Brooklyn-based snack startup founded by two working single moms who started making organic dried sushi leathers out of their mid-century-modern kitchens after their husbands decided to go on a Vipassana retreat in India and never came back. Pilot flavors are Kiwi California Roll-Ups, Peachy Eel Peelies, and Spicy Tuna Tummy Gummies (with Superfruit). Made with 60% real juice.

5. FarmSupport

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Are you passionate about food justice but don’t want to make any significant changes to your life? Download FarmSupport and send a farmer a sub-prime loan from your smartphone today.

6. Chili Loobe

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Located two blocks north of Chilly Lube, Chili Loobe is a silicon-based sexual lubricant processed with flakes of Cuba’s finest habanero peppers, chunks of pungent Hudson River Valley garlic, and a dash of premium apple cider Newman’s Own Vinaigrette.

7. Unoriginal Digital

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This radical new app only takes pictures of things that have been photographed over 1 billion times. Think the view from a plane window, jumping on the beach at sunset, and stars you make with your girlfriends’ hands/feet . With Unori, you’ll never miss a chance to convert real life experiences into one neat, shareable package you can enjoy forever.

8. AMOT LALOTH

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This genius weight-loss tool helps you reach your health and fitness goals by channeling your mother’s favorite folk adage, “A Moment On The Lips, A Lifetime On The Hips.” AMOT LALOTH is a chip that is embedded into your cerebral cortex. Installations can be performed at Apple Stores or any place Apple products are sold.

Some of our favorite AMOT LALOTH features are:

  • A voice engineered to sound like your ex that calls you a fat bitch anytime you park near a Yogurtland
  • Daily graphs of all the food you thought about eating today but didn’t
  • Records of atmospheric calories consumed while breathing
  • A chic Cartier-cuff-meets-Livestrong-bracelet design
  • Six month’s inner peace, or a partial refund

Let me know in the comments below which products you’re most excited about for 2016! And as always, be well and drink better.

 

****Special thanks to Alec Emmons for the above logo designs, which are a tribute to his graphic genius and his commitment to consumerism. You’re one in a billion, Al.