Author Archive

Story of My (Working) Life

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

fire lane

A lovely Flickr photostream here about Yahoo! coworkers who have something to learn about car-parking etiquette.

Eat, Pray, Love, Listen

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Elizabeth GilbertIf you enjoyed the SMITH excerpts of Elizabeth Gilbert’s delightful and enlightening Eat, Pray, Love, but didn’t feel ready to lug one more hardcover out to the beach, take solace in the fact that you can listen to Elizabeth reading it to you herself on the recently released unabridged audiobook CD set. Which, by the way, just got a rave review in Entertainment Weekly’s roundup of author-read audiobooks.

If by some chance you haven’t read the excerpts, you can and should do so here.

Cat on a Hot Neighbor’s Roof

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Janet Malcolm once famously suggested that all journalists are engaged in a less-than-savory enterprise. In fact, suggested may be far too weak a word to describe her lede: “Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.”

With somewhat less vitriol but with perhaps more undeniability, I’d argue that every New Yorker who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that part of the allure of the city is the opportunity it affords for … well, for casual voyeurism. (Which, in the SMITH world, should be construed in taking an optical interest in other people’s personal narratives.)

A case in point: North and a few floors down from our apartment is a line of brownstones, where a variety of rooftop activities provide social interaction of a sort. (more…)

Radiating Optimism

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

SUNDAY, JULY 09, 2006 07:58 PM, EDT

I’m back. Kind of? Physically, I’m living it up in Chloe’s Middlebury bedroom. The AC is cranked, the new DVD player is hooked up and we’ve got a walkie-talkie lifeline to my downstairs “nurses.” At-home recovery is pretty similar to the hospital, except I get to sleep more than 4 consecutive hours between drug dosages and temperature checks. My big goal this weekend was to sit up to eat every meal. Sounds easy, right? Haha, not even close.

A few weeks ago, I got a note from my sister telling me that the daughter of one of her best friends had been operated on for a brain tumor. Casey is 25 and otherwise strong, the tumor was benign, and the surgery was thorough and successful, so the outlook is extremely positive.

In a follow-up yesterday, my sister let me know that Casey will be writing an online journal so that friends and family can track her recovery as she undergoes daily radiation treatments in Boston for the next six weeks.

One of the interesting things about this story is that the blog is appearing on a site called CaringBridge, a nonprofit organization that lets people in the midst of “significant life events” set up free Web sites designed to help them stay connected to family and friends. Huh — using the Web to make it possible and easy for people to share their stories. What a great idea.

Wank and File

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

naughty america cap

I’m guessing that the guy in the RL-looking inset top right is the Naughty America member (”member” — heh, heh, get it?) piloting the avatar pictured at top left and in-scene shirtless in gray trousers. And I’m also guessing that the avatar pictured top left is pictured there so that the Naughty America member can keep an eye on the face he’s presenting to the redhaired avatar batting those heart-shaped balloons of love toward him. Aw.

This, of course, is from Naughty America: The Game, whose producers are threatening to launch this summer. “Get ready for the first multiplayer experience,” they say, “to boldly go where no game has gone before — to bed!”

Second Life, but with active genitals. To quote Paris Hilton (with some irony, of course), “That’s hot.”

Oh, and if you click on that link to the NA site? You might want to turn your sound off.

Who’s Your Daddy?

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

bush, baby

It’s Suffertime — Come and Get It!

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

This week’s New York Times Book Review has a compelling essay by Benjamin “Indecision” Kunkel about the current state of literary autobiography. Called “Misery Loves a Memoir,” it examines the tendency among many writers nowadays to look back on episodes of substance and/or personal abuse with the weary knowingness of self-congratulatory survivors — instead of using their experiences to help formulate some plan to live differently.

“This accent of futurity is missing among contemporary memoirists. They sigh over their past woes; sigh with relief now that they’re better; or sigh the long sighs of nostalgia. It’s not, of course, that the memoir of recovered sanity or tribulation endured can’t be a very good one: witness Emily Fox Gordon’s Mockingbird Years or Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking. Likewise, nostalgia can be an eloquent mood: think of James Salter’s Burning the Days or Anatole Broyard’s Kafka Was the Rage. But where is the contemporary writer reporting honestly, ambitiously and without therapeutic cant or smug self-help recipes on his or her effort to live a proud and decent life? Contemporary memoirists have taught us mostly how to survive. They haven’t begun to teach us how to live.”

The NooZ Journalism

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Speaking of MySpace…the social-networking service just launched a companion news-aggregation site called NooZ. It’s billed as “a community edited news site — for MySpace members, BY MySpace members.” (The site designer doesn’t seem to have figured out how to make italics in Photoshop yet.)

The only things missing from the MySpace universe now are a Google Maps mashup showing where each MySpace member was when he or she NooZ-ed a news item, an AJAX spreadsheet for calculating Rupert’s MySpace ROI, and a dedicated MySpace forum in which to debate the relative merits of Python vs. Ruby on Rails. Now that would be Web 2.0-tastic.

Down the Tubes

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

The newly Condé Nast-ified Wired News published a story this afternoon about  the removal of a  video from MySpace that parodied Sen. Ted Stevens’s now infamous (though somewhat less than technologically sound) description of the Internet during a debate on Net Neutrality. The move smells suspiciously like, um, censorship.

On Tuesday, MySpace canceled the TedStevensFanClub account, telling Raff that the social-networking site, now owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., had received a “credible complaint of your violation of the MySpace Terms of Services.”

The e-mail referenced a number of prohibited activities, including trademark and copyright violations. MySpace also reserves the right to remove any profile for any reason.

But Raff, a recent graduate from law school, didn’t violate any copyright laws in using the Alaskan senator’s words, since government works cannot be protected by copyright. And Raff composed the music himself.

You can read the rest of the story here.

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

“We are poor indeed if we are only sane.” — D.W. Winnicott