For your inspiration

And also just because they are cool.

This week the NYC Municipal Archives released over 800,000 photos from its collection of 20th century NYC photos. I’d post some of them here, but there’s a license fee, so click through to enjoy.

Note: Of course I’m not the only one to discover this awesomeness. The online archive is currently down due to overwhelming demand. In the meantime, here’s a site with a bunch of the images.

Creating Your World The Way You Really Want It To Be

Tiny tiny beautiful worlds

I visited my parents over spring break and because I was suffering from a condition called “too many emotions” (known to doctors as Poets-Syndrome) I tried to keep myself as busy as possible. Organizing old photographs? My pleasure! Cleaning the toilet? Don’t mind if I do!

While emptying a closet I found an old gardening book. Inside were pictures of terrariums. They were adorable and whimsical. I instantly whispered You will be mine. I chose to ignore the obvious metaphor of wanting to create a small world since my own felt a little unraveled and instead looked at it as another project to keep my hands, and mind, busy.

The first terrarium I built was lovely. All the materials in the Mason jar came directly from the backyard. I even added some leaves for authenticity. I impatiently waited for my mom to walk past.  Despite being an adult, I still yearn for her approval. I find myself shouting praise me! more than someone in their mid-20s should. She leaned in, squinted through the glass and said “it’s just full of weeds.” Then she stuck her fingers through the opening murmuring “a dead leaf accidentally got in here.”
This is not unlike her reactions when I show her my poetry. It’s not that she doesn’t care,  she’s just practical. I once had her read a poem I’d written about my grandmother: “It’s good, but it might have too many words.” Read more »

Shake Your Groove Thing

In case you were looking for some sweet-awesome dance moves:

YouTube Preview Image

 

Fitz & The Tantrums will be at the Capitol Hill Block Party (full lineup here) along with Neko Case, Aesop Rock and others. July 20, 21 and 22. $85 bucks gets you into everything for the whole weekend. Leyna Krow wrote last year about how she couldn’t decide whether or not to go, and I feel similarly. But I think I wanna go. Mostly to see if anyone can pull off dance moves as great as purple leotard lady.

 

A Letter to My Parents’ Health Insurance

 

Dear Health Insurance,

 

I know that it’s too late to tell you now. I know there’s nothing I can do. I know I should have appreciated you earlier, I should have been more thankful of the reasonable co-pays, the affordable medication, the lab work coverage, and the ability to choose my own doctor. I should have loved you when I had the chance. I should have run and played more, free from the fear of breaking a bone or needing stitches. I should have taken up an extreme sport like urban skydiving and really taken advantage of your reasonably priced power. I took you for granted. I didn’t realize your full potential. I could have gotten X-rays and MRIs. I could have caught more than the common cold or pneumonia. The emergency room was an option. It would have cost some money, but not the kind that you’ll spend the rest of your life paying off. What I’m saying, Health Insurance, is that you were always there. And I knew that. I knew it, but I’ve been spoiled, Health Insurance. I took you for granted. Please don’t go. Read more »

My Naked Roommate

I spent three years in deep East Texas, at Stephen F. Austin State University, getting my BFA in creative writing. For those last two years, I had two roommates in a three-bed/three-bath apartment. One of those roommates was often naked.

 

This is pre-nudity, in which she is abiding by our roommate-agreed zombie contingency plan.

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Sympathy for a Player

A few weeks ago, Samantha Brick wrote an essay for the Daily Mail about the perils of being a beautiful women. But she has no idea what a tough life is really like:

On a recent flight to London, I was delighted when the attractive women seated beside me started rubbing my crotch.  “Will you need some help with that?” she coyly asked, when I glanced in her direction.  You’re probably thinking ‘what a great surprise’. But it wasn’t.  Not a surprise, anyway.  At least, not for me.

Since the age of twelve, I’ve had females of the species pursuing me.  There have been too many taps on the shoulder in bars from the admirer’s best friends to count.  The stack of high school love letters left in my locker would fill a studio apartment. And forget about the blatant propositions from college co-eds at frat parties—from shaking my hand and asking if I’d like a blow job, to just shoving their tongues down my throat, I’ve experienced it all.  I’ve taken it all in stride, and if I decide to get to know these women, I ask them what prompted their interest.  They all say it’s my handsome face, easy smile, and magnetic personality.

I’m not exactly Brad Pitt, but at 6’2’’, with a chiseled physique and ruggedly handsome features, my smoldering eyes are merely the icing on the cake.  I know I’m a fortunate one. But there are downsides to being such an Adonis.

If you’re a man reading this, you’ve probably already formed your opinion about me and it’s not a flattering one.  For while my overwhelming good looks and magnetic personality have given me many opportunities; as if in a cruel, Greek tragedy, they have also taken many away.

I’m very humble, and often think of others, but over the years I’ve lost countless buddies when they, if I’m merely in the same room as their significant other,  feel threatened by my raw sexuality. When their girlfriends—faces blushing, eyes adoring—actually got up the nerve to speak to me, a cold December chill would blow into the house. Read more »

A Tournament I’d Like to Watch


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The Selfish Degree

I used this to calculate how long it would take to pay off the loans from undergrad ($35,000) and from graduate school

This guy looks legit

($40,000). I then used a bottle of moscato that Ericka gave me to offset the utter despair. When I ran away from home to get a Master’s degree in Creative Writing, I wasn’t thinking of my future career plans, no, I was thinking, “Screw you, ex-boyfriend, who said more school was unnecessary, let’s run away together instead. And screw you, friends and family, who said I couldn’t get in with my business degree.” It was all fun and games, until last year when I decided not to take out more loans and then lost my job and had to call my family for financial help. Add another two to three thousand to the debt pile.

So while it was hilarious that President Obama is Slow Jamming the News with Jimmy Fallon, the truth is if my interest rate doubles, I might have to resort to hocking poems on the street like this guy (when I’m not working four jobs of course). And I’m just one of millions. All these money thoughts made me ask myself was it worth it? Read more »

Write Yourself A Game

I will not be the first person to smuggle discussion of video games onto Bark, but I will be the first to ask its readers to make them.

At first this suggestion will seem crazy. “But Andrew,” you say, “not only am I unable to program a computer, I also lack millions of dollars and furthermore, if I had that kind of scratch, I would pay off my student loans and buy a macbook made out of solid gold before creating a video game, because most of those are a simulation of man pointing a gun at a face and shooting it, over and over, until the end of time.”

The video game literati will be happy to inform you that there are plenty of games not about face shooting or about bird flinging, that are about more sophisticated things or at least slightly less embarrassing ones. These games are good, but these games also cost millions of dollars to make.  But what I’m actually here to talk about is how it is now possible to make a video game with no programing skill and no money, and how, because of that, people are now starting to make games for and about people who would otherwise have no interest in video games. There are very few of them, and they are hard to find, but they exist, and they are doing wonderful things. They tend to have names like  “Space Marine Pet Shop” in which you guide a hulking video game protagonist on a journey to buy a kitten without dying on too many spikes, or “A Soul-Crushing Drive Through the Bowels of Kotzebue, Alaska” which is the most accurate portrayal of a soul-crushing drive through the bowels of Kotzebue, Alaska ever created. Read more »

Found: Story

I was out on my daily walk with Moose when I found the notes. I’d recently lost my keys on this particular route so I had my eyes open for anything of interest on the ground. There were a bunch of papers scattered across the road, crumpled into various configurations. So I picked up a few pieces, furtively, and put them in my pocket to read when I got home.

The letters told the story of Ann Marie and Rick. After a recent fight, she had decided that it was time to move out of his motel room. That Rick was right; he was too good for her and she’d tried long enough. She’d take her kid in the morning; she’d have left right then if the kid wasn’t in bed, sick. They’d find someplace else to stay, if she had to.

It was a story about drugs, how she’d only started dealing to help her son and how could she have known that using his car to distribute would make him so angry. They discussed God’s love, which, for Ann Marie, wasn’t enough most of the time. Rick pleaded with her, that she was a good mother, and she would never allow someone else to love her until she started loving herself. Read more »

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