Portrait of a Disorder

In a cold glass cup, stacked high are cubes of watermelon, marbled edges with white transparent rind.

She tips back her head to let the grainy squares of juice and water melt down her throat, and the potion releases a fountain of youth, turning her skin into a glow and her breath to gentle vines that wrap around your wrist and pull you towards her.

Her transformation temporarily complete, her vile urges thwarted by a piece of fruit that will satiate her body for the next thirty seconds. Until the next ugly thought of heavenly fat creeps through her empty living room and falls from the light cast off of the TV screen and reaches up to grab at her ankles.

She feels an itch. Continue reading

Our personal relics

A recent Elle article highlights personal style stories from a variety of celebs, and my favorite, by and far, is a sharp piece of sartorial wit from Orange is the New Black‘s Natasha Lyonne:

“Not 48 hours ago, I misplaced—I’m not willing to accept yet that it’s lost—my Helmut Lang blazer. I may have left it at Marc Jacobs when I went to borrow an outfit to wear on a talk show; it may be abandoned in a sushi restaurant. I’ve had this thing maybe seven years? I have a lot of blazers. None of them are this blazer: black, like all my favorite articles of clothing; thin enough to fit under a coat; roomy enough that you could put a nice cashmere cardigan under it.

“I’ve definitely had some tragedy in my life. And the truth is that that blazer got me through a lot of tough times. You know what I mean? I walked out of sticky situations where I was like, ‘Oh wow, this really isn’t going to work out,’ or ‘Wow, I’m really not going to get that job,’ or ‘Wow, I missed that flight.’ And I really felt bad about myself. Then, though, I’d be like, ‘But man, I got this blazer, so I guess I’m doing all right.’

“I’m not big on wearing purses, because I feel like it’s additional baggage. With my blazer, I was covered, pocket-wise. And now things are a little more complicated in my life, but I guess I’ll have to adjust. It’s important to keep these things in perspective. In life, there’s loss, and then there are blazers. Really, what are clothes? We’re born naked and we die naked. I don’t want to get too heavy about it—I mean, I was going to be buried in that blazer, but I guess now I’ll just get cremated or something. The open-casket ship has sailed.”

Check out the original post from Elle.com.

Back from The Hideout, reading Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking

Time doesn’t pass when I’m at The Hideout in Chicago. Last night I went for the fall’s return of WRITE CLUB: Chicago and goddamn was it good. Just incredible performance and writing. Match-ups went all in, tooth and nail and pen.

Actually, phone. Several writers read their monologue off phones, an interesting medium that didn’t hinder their performance at all. Wyl Villacres actually took a picture from the stage of the audience watching him just before he began, and the move had bravado, swagger and an endearing quality, just like his writing.

Sick stuff. And time began once again after I stepped out of The Hideout, back to my apartment here in Chicago, at summer’s end. Like I said, time doesn’t pass when I’m at The Hideout, but now I’m back from my absence and excited to share some writing and reviews.

Currently reading “Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking” by E. Gabriella Coleman, and I am digging it.

An early taste:

“I argue that F/OSS draws from and also rearticulates elements of the liberal tradition. Rather than designating only a set of explicitly held political, economic, or legal views, I treat liberalism in its cultural registers. Free software hackers culturally concretize a number of liberal themes and sensibilities–for example, through their competitive mutual aid, avid free speech principles, and implementation of meritocracy along with their frequent challenge to intellectual property provisions. Indeed, the ethical philosophy of F/OSS focuses on the importance of knowledge, self-cultivation, and self-expression as the vital locus of freedom.” (p3)

I’m excited to share more soon.

A demand for the demand of privacy-protecting tools

This isn’t an argument for capitalism or vegetarianism, but it starts that way. I first began warming up to capitalism when I learned more about Michael Pollan’s idea to “vote with your fork” and choose each of your three meals with consideration for what impact you’re having on the environment, on workers, on animals, on limited resources, etc. It’s a mindful way to live that requires more effort, education and money, but it also has the real impact of creating a market-as-a-movement to change the very structure of the American food chain and empower consumers.

For instance, a friend of mine is largely vegetarian unless he buys from his local butcher who’s supplied by a local farm that raises their animals fairly and humanely. He’s not contributing to the demand that causes many big food producers and animal processing plants to put quantity over quality. Instead, he’s showing the market that there’s a demand for humanely raised meat, and that he’d rather spend more money for an occasional cut than buy poor-quality, poorly raised meat at the lowest cost.

But he’s also fortunate that food justice, alternative diets and farm-to-table practices now have a place in mainstream society, and that he as a consumer has options available to him.

Julia Angwin, author of “Dragnet Nation: A quest for privacy, security, and freedom in a world of relentless surveillance,” was not so fortunate when she took on a mission to live privately in our digital age and was met with an overwhelming demand for consumer data and little demand for tools to fight against it.  Continue reading

Hector and the Search for Happiness – François Lelord

Hector and the search for happiness(Penguin Books 2010)

Told in the mild and affectionate manner of a bedtime story, Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord is a sweet and sometimes simple tale of a psychiatrist’s quest around the world to discover what happiness is.

Hector takes a vacation from his psychiatry practice to understand how people come to be happy and what that means to them, and to do so, he travels from Paris to China to Africa to the United States. During his travels, he meets a variety of characters who are more than happy to chat with him about their lives (he is a psychiatrist, after all) and explain to him what they consider happiness. While an interesting idea for a book, the earnestness in the writing was sometimes too much to bear. Complex issues like economics, drug and human trafficking, and medical/emotional depression were simply referred to finitely as “globalization” and left at that.  Continue reading