#10. It’s cool to keep a decently-stocked liquor cabinet at home. It’s not cool to be all pretentious about it.
Photo credit: flickr user jophan, used under CC license
by Henry Goldman
Anyone on the west coast, who has had to fly east, for a quick trip, is tempted by the redeye. You know it’s going to suck, that you’ll be uncomfortable, that you won’t get any sleep, that you’ll show up in New York or Boston or Dulles feeling like a zombie, and have to start your shitty, East Coast day. Your nose will be running, because you got sick on the flight. Your clothes will be rumpled, and the shower you took eight hours before will feel like it was days ago. It will take 2-3 days of over-caffeination for you to feel normal again, and then, you’ll probably have to fly right back home to the west coast.
After every redeye-powered trip, I swear I’ll never take another one. And then, invariably, I do, because I can’t stand the thought of losing a day. Which is stupid, because you wind up losing a day cumulatively due to your lack energy. Anyways, there are a few things you can do to lessen the impact of a redeye and ensure you have productive trip, without COMPLETELY feeling like a deranged-zombie-asshole.
…. a good place to start would be Jesse Thorn’s Make Your Thing, a lecture he’s been giving for a couple years now. If you’re not familiar with Jesse Thorn, he started out as a lowly podcaster, producing The Sound of Young America, a interview-show with culturemakers, from his bedroom. Now, TSOYA has morphed into Bullseye, a nationally distributed public radio show, and Jesse sits on top of a vast podcasting empire, housed at maximumfun.org.
Jesse has now done the public the service of publishing the body of his Make Your Thing lecture. If you’ve ever had an idea, and needed help turning it into a thing, read it. The advice most directly has to do with building an online thing, like podcast networks, but could be transferred to making offline things to, like a food truck. If yr an adult ever becomes a thing, I’ll partly have Jesse Thorn to thank.
by Henry Goldman
In college, J-Zone was one of my favorite hip-hop artists. He made a series of loopy, funny and inventive albums, like Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes, $ick of Bein’ Rich and To Love a Hooker, among others. The beats were weird, the songs hilariously ignorant and the personality was a strict departure from any other notable artists from the height of the backpack rap era. And it didn’t go anywhere.
A few years ago, J-Zone gave music up as his primary career, to pursue other interests, including writing and teaching. He has a new book out, Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit and A Celebration of Failure, where he hilariously chronicles his exploits in the world of hip-hop in the early ‘00s, why he got out of the business and his lifelong aversion to bullshit. It’s a great, funny read and can be purchased from his website, http://govillaingo.com.
After nearly a decade in the music industry, you left it behind to make a living in other ways. Did you seek out advice from other former musicians about how to make transition out of music?
I did, but I didn’t get much help [laughs]. Most musicians do this forever. Look at it this way: If 25- year-olds with Master’s degrees and PHDs can’t find 9 to 5 jobs, imagine being in your 30s or 40s with a giant gap in your job resume. Most professional musicians either never had jobs or they did like telemarketing, customer service, bar tending, or retail in short spurts to pay bills while they pursued their dream. We never saw 9 to 5 jobs as careers and places to grow - they were temporary cash. So most musicians I asked thought I was crazy for even trying to get work outside of the music biz. And the ones who made the jump didn’t want to talk about it because there’s a stigma attached to being a professional musician who gets a job. It’s like an indicator of “I wasn’t good enough to make it.” So it becomes a pride issue. I know that reality is reality and it rarely has anything to do with one’s talent or personal worth, but artists have fragile egos. So I’m still trying to find new avenues that are away from the music biz, but not traditional 9 to 5s. I didn’t last very long in the 9 to 5 jobs I took.
by Henry Goldman
If you’re not familiar with the saga of Earl Sweatshirt, I’ll sum it up quickly. The best rapper in this massively hyped, angry young rap crew called Odd Future got sent to reform school in Samoa, cut off from the rest of the world, right as his friends we’re hitting youth culture hard as a sidewalk face-plant. There’s been too much breathless reporting on Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s significance to rap/music/hipster/punk culture. So, if you don’t know about them and are actually interested, I suggest you read their coverage in either the NY Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, or one of those other countercultural media outlets the kids are so fond of.
The main thing to know about Earl is that his only “album”, which has 10 tracks and runs about 22 minutes, was my favorite debut album of last year. He has an insane grasp of flow, and great command of imagery, and he does that thing where he rhymes 12 different times in the space of 8 bars, which I love. AND the album is dark, darkly funny and utterly terrifying for parents, in the way great youth music SHOULD be (in fact, it’s so terrifying for parents, that when Earl’s mom heard it, she sent him to the reform school in Samoa).
The other thing to know about Earl Sweatshirt, which I’ve been thinking about since he reappeared in the real world (read: signed up for a Twitter account), is that he is now enrolled in a high school to finish his senior year.
by Henry Goldman
Jeffrey Brown is a full-time comic book artist and all-around sweet guy. Beginning with his MFA thesis, Clumsy, which Brown initially self-published, Brown has a released a string of successful graphic novels and short comics collections, including Unlikely, Every Girl is the End of the World For Me, An Easy Intimacy, Cat Getting Out of A Bag, and Undeleted Scenes. His next book, Darth Vader and Son, comes out on Chronicle Books in May. He also co-wrote the film Save the Date, which was well-received at Sundance this year.
I recently read Brown’s novel-length book from 2009, Funny Misshapen Body, about his journey to become a full-time artist, and wanted to ask him a few questions about it. So I did.
When did you quit your day-job to draw comics full-time?
It was 2007 - so five years ago. It was a two year long process though, I went from full time to part time and by the end I was working a single four hour shift each week, which I realized was ridiculous.
How did it feel and did you think it was permanent? Do you still think so?
It did feel pretty permanent, and it felt great. Of course, it was shortly after I quit that the economy tanked, so now I feel like I’m just one step away from having to go back to it.
By Henry Goldman
This morning, my friend Eric Slatkin tweeted a very nice article from the Atlantic, which acknowledges the impossibility of completely unplugging from you digital life and then offers some solution to stay plugged in better. The article condenses a lot of common sense ideas about how to effectively ration your time online (don’t multi-task with thousands of windows open at once – one focused task at a time), which looking at it all together, is actually kind of helpful.
by Henry Goldman
Ok, so lets say you’re 27. Your mid-20s are rapidly coming to a close. You’re stuck on a career path, which, though stable, but doesn’t exactly excite you (assuming you have a career path, ahem, ahem, David Larson). You feel like, if you keep living how you’re living, the next five years will go by in the blink of an eye. So, with that in mind, I compiled a few ideas that you could use to hit “pause” on your current life, and then come back to it, should you want to.
The Backpacking Trip You’ve been meaning to do this your whole life, right? Take 3 to 9 months off your life to explore Asia, South America or Eastern Europe. Well, you’re not getting any younger. Save the money for a year or two, give your job advance notice that you’ll be taking a leave of absence and maybe you’ll want a job when you come back. Then go hostel it up, like you should have when you just graduated college. Though, maybe with less binge-drinking and Chlamydia. You are an adult, now.
By Henry Goldman
That’s right, we felt obligated to write about VD, peer pressured by the blogosphere, TV and that really sad lady at our work. Here’s our feelings about VD: it’s not something to take too seriously, unless you’re in a new relationship, in which case, ok, get into it. You finally got someone. We’re all excited for you. Enjoy your fancy dinner, dorks.
However, for the rest of the world of new adults, the happily single, the unhappily single, the broken-hearted, the happily involved, the only-staying-together-because-it’s-comfortable, the newly married, the freshly divorced, or everything in-between, the main thing to do is not care. And I don’t mean, not caring by having a big group dinner out with your other lady friends and lamenting your worst okCupid dates. I mean, just not caring.
Below are a few suggestions on ways to effectively not care about VD, whether you’re with somebody or not:
by Henry Goldman
For most of my adult life, I didn’t travel by myself to go anywhere except to visit friends in cities where they lived. So when I took 10 days off, I’d do northeastern drinking trips, hitting friends for 2-3 day drinking binges. Otherwise, I’d wait until a friend or significant other wanted to go on a trip with me, and we’d travel in tandem.
That’s until this summer. I’d just exited a production company I’d co-founded (yeah, I’m pretty great) and had the summer off to “find myself” (I also say obnoxious things, like I’m taking time to “find myself,” so I’m not THAT great). At 28, not a ton of people can, with about a month’s notice, take three weeks off. I thought of an old college friend, who had the summer off for med school was interested, but it turns out his student loans couldn’t support anything more than a road trip.
So, somewhat reluctantly, I booked a trip to Berlin and Istanbul, by myself, bookended by visits with friends in New York and Toronto, and went off to see the world, without the safety net of a drinking buddy or command of the local language. Here’s what I learned:
by Henry Goldman
One of the most frequently reported human interest narratives around the news of Facebook’s impending IPO has been the story of graffiti artist David Choe. To those who missed the story, Choe was hired by Facebook to paint murals in their Palo Alto office in 2005. In lieu of receiving $60,000 for his work, Choe opted to take stock, stock which is now estimated to be worth half a billion dollars. Excuse me. HALF A BILLION DOLLARS!!!!! (There’s more on the story here)
Now, your natural inclination may be to say, “Half a billion dollars? Why does this guy get half a billion dollars? I want half a billion dollars! I could buy a house in the center of the city, get a whole cool new wardrobe and take time off to travel. And I’d totally donate a bunch of it to charity, because I’m, like, a super good person.”
Now, I’m like you. I want half a billion dollars, too. And part of me can’t help but feel jealous of a guy who seemingly won the lottery. But here’s what I’m telling myself to cool down: