Joss Whedon. What a total badass. Prolific TV writer, and has become well known for writing really strong, empowered, and engaging female characters. He has some really great and inspiring words about his views on the necessity of strong female role models and the destructive force that misogyny plays in our culture. I haven’t seen a ton of his work, but I’m a fan of his for life after that video. 

A snippet from the video that he retold: 

Reporter: “Why do you create such strong female characters?”

Joss: “Why aren’t you asking 100 other guys why they don’t?”



The Joys of Being a Restaurant Regular »

Frank Bruni, former restaurant critic, wrote a great piece about being a regular at a restaurant. 

Regulars matter to a restaurant. Though the newcomers drawn there by reviews or Yelp chatter can keep it packed for a while, the familiar faces help it go the distance. That’s why some of those fusty, pricey Italian haunts on the Upper East Side outlast the trend-conscious efforts of this “Top Chef” alumnus or that darling of the culinary scribes. They’ve put extra energy into cultivating a steady clientele, turning themselves into clubs, into tribes.”

A group of friends and I are regulars at a burger place/bar near where we went to grad school- we showed up there with alarming regularity, and still love it. We have our favorite bartender who we know by name (and vice versa)- he lets us know if our favorite beer is running low, and lets us pay our tabs later in the night if we wander off somewhere else. I’m working hard on having the restaurant name a burger after me (turkey burger with swiss, guacamole and caramelized onions). I don’t love my odds, but I’ll certainly keep going there over and over again.  


How Many Minimum Wage Jobs Would You Need in San Francisco? »

This is so interesting- It’s a map, broken down by neighborhoods in San Francisco- showing how many minimum wage jobs you’d need to have in order to afford a 2-bedroom apartment in that neighborhood. Some of those 6.8 job neighborhoods? Yikes. 



The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide To Being A Man »

So, yeah, the list is called “guide to being a man” but I think it should be called “guide to being a non-annoying adult human.” It’s a little self-important, but, hey, I liked it. 



Ricky Gervais on Learning How to Write »

Ricky Gervais tells a wonderful story about the teacher that really taught him how to write. Very sweet- I loved it.  




Used-book stores are disappearing in our day at an even greater rate than regular book stores. Until ten years ago or so, there used to be a good number of them in every city and even in some smaller towns, catering to a clientele of book lovers who paid them a visit in search of some rare or out-of-print book, or merely to pass the time poking around. Even in their heyday, how their owners made a living was always a puzzle to me, since typically their infrequent customers bought nothing, or very little, and when they did, their purchase didn’t amount to more than a few dollars. Years ago, in a store in New York that specialized in Alchemy, Eastern Religions, Theosophy, Mysticism, Magic, and Witchcraft, I remember coming across a book called How to Become Invisible that I realized would make a perfect birthday present for a friend who was on the run from a collection agency trying to repossess his car. It cost fifteen cents, which struck me as a pretty steep price considering the quality of the contents.

What made these stores, stocked with unwanted libraries of dead people, attractive to someone like me is that they were more indiscriminate and chaotic than public libraries and thus made browsing more of an adventure. Among the crowded shelves, one’s interest was aroused by the title or the appearance of a book. Then came the suspense of opening it, checking out the table of contents, and if it proved interesting, thumbing the pages, reading a bit here and there and looking for underlined passages and notes in the margins. How delightful to find some unknown reader commenting in pencil on a Victorian love poem: “Shit,” or coming across this inscription in a beautiful edition of one of the French classics:

For my daughter,
make beauty, humanity and wisdom
your lifelong objectives; and in all circumstances
you will know what to do. Happiness will be
the reward for your efforts.

One would either restore the volume on the shelf, or continue lingering over it and delaying the verdict.


— Charles Simic, "The Books We’ve Lost" (via wesleyhill)

Reblogged from writing in the dust.



Movie I Watched: The Sapphires »

Just Redbox-ed The Sapphires a few days ago and I loved it. Is it possible to have a feel-good movie that’s largely about the Vietnam war? If so, this is it. And the girls starring in this movie have fantastic voices- the music is fantastic, Chris O’Dowd is really funny and I’ll be seeing it again at some point. Redbox it tonight! 



A few things….

A couple things I’ve been reading/clicking/linking/whatever lately:

  • How Conan sketches are chosen and written
  • T-shirts and posters that have ENTIRE texts of classic books written on them 
  • A 2 ingredient homemade dog treat recipe? Hmmmm. I love our dogs but…. are these people aware that dog treats are sold at the store? And there’s no baking involved?
  • For those that have had their names butchered at Starbucks.
  • This article about a woman who auditioned to play The Little Mermaid, and then Nemo at Disney theme parks, was interesting  



David Sedaris on Guest Rooms »

David Sedaris wrote a wonderful piece for the New Yorker which sort of starts out with him talking about guest rooms but ends up being a great article on family visits and time passing- I really enjoyed it- well worth the read. 




So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.


From George Saunders’ convocation speech at Syracuse University. The full text here

I read Saunders in my contemporary American lit class in college and he’s funny and poignant and great. The speech is a (quick) great read, and a nice breath of fresh air. 



"As a result men are stuck, or “fixed in cultural aspic,” as critic Jessica Grose puts it. They could move more quickly into new roles now open to them- college graduate, nurse, teacher, full-time father- but for some reason, they hesitate. Personality tests over the decades show men tiptoeing into new territory, while women race into theirs. Men do a tiny bit more housework and child care than they did forty years ago, while women do vastly more paid work. The working mother is now the norm. The stay-at-home father is still a front-page anomaly."

From The End of Men by Hanna Rosin. 

I recently finished the much-publicized Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, and it’s been interesting to see how different their perspectives are- Rosin has incredible optimism about overall opportunities for women in society and Sandberg’s view, because it’s more narrowly focused on women on corporate America, can be a bit more discouraging. Both books are incredibly interesting reads and are somehow at the same time a bit disheartening and very motivating.