Friday, July 22, 2011

New stuff

I hung out with actress Jena Malone in Los Angeles earlier this year and wrote about it for S Magazine. And if you happen to pick up an issue and all you do is gawk at the nude photos of her without reading the story—shame, shame on you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wendi "Daaaaaang" Murdoch's leading lady

(At The London Hotel's Maze restaurant: Actress Li Bing Bing, right; director Wayne Wang, left.)

I had trouble figuring out how to write about this whole Snow Flower and the Secret Fan business, even if I did suggest it to my editor at The Paris Review in the first place. But at the time of the pitch, I hadn't yet seen the film, and was intrigued about the possibilities. After watching the movie, things became murkier from an editorial standpoint. At one point, there was going to be some pretty heavy lesbian porn references, not to mention the use of the FUPA acronym. But as my friend Tom pointed out (while I was past deadline and ready to give up), "often journalists will find a topic that's just easy/provocative under deadline rather than say what they really think." Though, it's not like had I gone the FUPA route, I wouldn't have been saying what I really thought anyway. Here's my end result, and here's the awesome Wendi Murdoch smackdown clip.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Free Ai Weiwei?

In New York and in Miami, I saw these posters, remnants from Ai's 81 days of imprisonment. Of course, he's not really free, is he.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I should remember to post this every year:
Just got back from yet another depressing lecture at MIT on Carbon Capture and Sequestration. Not familiar with CCS? In a nut: We are in the global warming shitter because we drive too much, fly too much, and can't control our rate of needless consumption. All of this requires energy, much of which comes from burning coal in power plants, and results in a runaway train of carbon emissions that's destroying the earth and the air we breathe. So scientists are trying to figure out a way to suck the carbon from these plants and then inject them deep into underground geological formations or even beneath the ocean -- which if they ever do figure out how to make work, then has the potential to wreak even more catastrophic results, like ocean acidification, ecological destruction, blah blah blah. On top of that, if they do miraculously figure it all out, it's only a fraction of what we need to do to make it all...not so bad. Because no matter what, it's gonna be bad.

I spend my time learning and obsessing about this problem, the enormity of it and perhaps the futility of trying to fix it, wondering if I'll ever be able to use a disposable plastic fork without feeling overwhelming guilt or not despise a culture which perpetuates mass retailers of overpriced superfluous junk. But mostly, I wonder why so many bikers have to be killed by cars and their drivers.

This morning, when I pedaled across the intersection of Harvard and Cambridge in Allston, like I do almost everyday, I saw yet another ghostbike chained to a light pole, memorializing the life and death of a 23-year-old girl who was killed riding her bike a week or so ago. Her friends had covered the street corner with flowers, notes, pictures, even a giant graffitied message saying, "Kelly, we love you." Bikers, you see, whether they are conscious of this or not, are doing us a huge favor by choosing not to pilot giant heaps of gas-guzzling, carbon-emitting, war-inducing metal. Yeah, I'm a biker, so it sounds like I'm just wanking one off, but you can't really argue with it. Just try to.

So, wear a helmet, ride a bike, ride safe, save the world.

I originally wrote it in May of 2007, after I'd left New York the first time, and was mired in the world of Nova science now. When I was a more prolific blogger. I later commented:
"We need a complete overhaul of our cultural values, and a greater respect for our fellow humans. People think they're minding their own business while coveting and collecting things, when really everything we do effects somebody else and then comes back to slap us on our asses time 10: breathing, eating, all of it. Biodiversity is key, not only in nature, but in humanity, our urban metropolises, our comfortable Ikea-turned out homes --so it behooves us not to run each other over and think more about what is essential to life, liberty and happiness.

The recession happened, and as painful as it is, to some more than others, I know it isn't all bad. It's taught some of us how to be frugal, yet make the most of it (i.e. out of work, and nothing to do but look at the birds). Nevertheless, I've lost touch with some of these ideals in the last year or so, and it's time to refocus.