Monday, May 31, 2010

2,000 and counting

An excerpt from David Abrams' novel-in-progress, Fobbit:
When Stacie got to his office, booted up his computer and read the e-mail from G-3 Ops, he stared at that figure—the 1 standing at attention, the 5 slouching, the zeros with their empty, shot-out innards. It was such a nice, perfectly-shaped number—deceptively pretty, falsely clean. Then he thought about trying to count 1,500 people (heck, let’s not even make it people—say, popsicle sticks, instead) and he realized how hard it would be to count, how exhausting to tally that volume of popsicle sticks. He was sure he’d lose track halfway through—distracted by the image of sitting on the back porch with his mother, slurping at a Fudgsicle evaporating in the Tennessee heat—and he’d have to start over from the beginning. One thousand, five hundred. That was nearly half the number of soldiers in the division.
-- The Quivering Pen

Friday, May 28, 2010

What he said

But with the throttle screwed on, there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right ... and that's when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are the wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it ... howling through a turn to the right, then to the left, and down the long hill to Pacifica ... letting off now, watching for cops, but only until the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge ... The Edge ... There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others -- the living -- are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later.
-- Hunter S. Thompson, Hell's Angels

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm on the radio (again)

On Tuesday, June 1, I'll be on the Ugly Phil show on 104.9 Triple M radio in Sydney, Australia. I'll be talking about Letters from Men Who Watch Pornography.
My life is not fascinating or exciting, but it's also far from miserable. I walk thru the street and fell jealous of the couples I see kissing or holding hands. I want to experience that, but in the meantime I am happy with what I have and I enjoy porn as a means of entertainment and self-discovery. Am I addicted? Yes, probably. But I would rather say that I'm addicted to the world and to beauty. And while not all porn is beautiful (believe me, I know), sometimes a glimmer shines thru it and that is what I'm looking for.
[I Was Gonna Explode]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I get email

hello there

i know yes, KID get out of here!!!

but look i might be one next but diffrently. My name is [Redacted] and i'm a young writer or should i say one who writes widely read articles and looking for some touch light on how i can pursue my dream of becoming a well renowned writer and reporter?

I have done some little publishing in my country and also established a magazine but due to the fact that i did not have much time as i was leaving for school to South Africa from Zimbabwe it died down. I'm indeed registered by the state.

so if you could be the one to direct me i this field!!!!!!

Loooking forward to your reply .... i know you are busy!!!!

[Image via Riley Dog]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hello, Kentucky

Last weekend, I got the tickets for my upcoming trip to Kentucky. This is the first trip I'll be making for a new project and will provide its first installment. It takes me in a new direction. I'm really looking forward to it.

I've never been to Kentucky. I've also never been to Arkansas, the Dakotas, Vermont, Montana, Oklahoma, Alaska, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Idaho, New Mexico, Kansas, Maine, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Florida, and Massachusetts; although, I believe I have been to all the rest.

If you've ever lived in Kentucky or live there now and would like tell me some things to do while I am there, email me. I'll be in Louisville, home of baseball bats, thoroughbreds, and sanatoriums.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The great obscenity debate

Last week, I wrote a post on True/Slant about Max Hardcore.
Even those with only a passing interest in porn may have at least a vague knowledge of who Max Hardcore is. Directorially-speaking, he came of age in late-’90s Porn Valley, when competition was harsh, obscenity prosecutions were seldom, and extreme porn was the hot new thing. Even back then, Hardcore was at the vanguard. Surely, he had his peers in extreme porn — Greg Dark, Jim Powers, and Rob Black among them — but Max? Well, his brand of porn was something else altogether.
The next day, I received an email from Karen Stagliano, whose husband is about to go to trial on various obscenity related charges, and who was gracious enough to allow me to post her letter.
When people say that Max deserves to be in jail under pretenses of an obscenity law, it creates a slippery slope of allowing people to put anyone in jail just because they made something that they simply don’t like. Not everyone has to like pornography. Violent crimes should be prosecuted under every letter of the law, but if a porn movie is indeed made consensually, then even if there are people in this country who disagree with it, shouldn’t we simply be able to tell those people to simply not watch it?
Yesterday, I received an email through, the subject header of which read: "so you don't like max hardcore?"
What kind of a fucking hypocrite, chastises the guy in your max hardcore story who you wrote an email to, for not watching a max hardcore video... and then goes on to say oh fuck it, you don't need to interview Max in prison?

I love Max Hardcore's art. You're a stupid cunt who needs to be skull fucked. How much money would it take to have you skull fucked on camera?

You're also a liar. Not everyone suffers in a Max Hardcore move, just the piece of shit whore.

Who the fuck are you to sit in judgment anyway cunt?

You're the 'sad' one, you aren't willing to give others the freedom to explore their sexuality. You are nothing but a secular fucking moralizing cunt.

No one elected you to call Max Hardcore names and denigrate his art. You're a stupid cunt.

I suppose vanilla feminazi porn is what you're into is it? you stupid bitch.

I am going to jack my cock to some of the nastiest max hardcore I can find on pirate streaming flash porn sites and pretend it is you getting skull fucked now.

Then I'm going to forget your forgettable and shitty article on Max Hardcore.


Friday, May 21, 2010

I had a dream

The other night, I had a dream that I was in a plane. I looked to the left, and the ceiling of the plane exploded open over the head of a gay male flight attendant. Now, there was a giant hole in the plane. The flight attendant made a face. It didn't look good.

I had a great revelation. Well, that's it, I realized. This is how I would die. In a plane. Crashing. The woman sitting next to me fussed. We bent over and hid our heads, waiting for the end to come.

At some point, I looked up. We were over a wide flat body of water. No doubt, this was a vision informed by Sully. There were ice floes floating in the water. I hoped the plane would land on the surface.

Somehow, we got out of the plane. Everyone survived. I don't remember what happened after that, only that.

When I woke up, I felt better. Like I had survived something. Even if it was only a dream.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Max Hardcore gets his comeuppance

On True/Slant, I've posted a long essay about Max Hardcore, obscenity, and a new movie that depicts the tables being turned on this notorious, imprisoned pornographer.
I had seen Max’s movies. I found them terrifically depressing. To be clear, I have seen many, many (far too many, really, come to think of it) movies that fall into the explicit, depraved, and explicitly depraved category. I’ve seen cophrophagy porn, senior citizen porn, a porn in which Ron Jeremy appeared as a baby in an adult diaper and a bonnet, midget porn, world-record setting gangbang porn (I was present for one of those, and it’s hard to say which was worse), so-called “ready to drop” pregnancy porn, and a movie in which a series of young women had sex with men and then promptly threw up onto a black tarp spread over a sagging bed after taking what I assumed to be Ipecac. Suffice to say, it takes a lot to shock this reporter when it comes to porn movies. Max’s movies aren’t shocking — not most significantly. They are sad. Everyone suffers. No one is happy. If joy is located at one end of the spectrum, this is where its opposite resides. This is the monstrous mating of unfulfilled longing and untenable hate. Their progeny: an abomination.
["Imprisoned Pornographer Max Hardcore Gets a Beat Down"]

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Johnny is bad

Public domain PSA + After Effects = Awesome.

[Annals of Americus]

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I get email

Dear Susannah,

I am writing to you to let you know that currently I am also addicted to soup. I found a brand at Whole Foods called "Imagine." An organic brand that one simply heats.

Wonderful flavors.



Monday, May 17, 2010

Follow me down

And were an epitaph to be my story
I'd have a short one ready for my own.
I would have written of me on my stone:
I had a lover's quarrel with the world.
-- Robert Frost

Friday, May 14, 2010

What I'm reading

"Fred Minnick spent more than a year in Iraq as a U.S. Army public affairs photojournalist, covering the good, bad and ugly sides of the conflict. With a Nikon in one hand and an M-16 in the other, he accompanied combat troops on missions ranging from raids on suspected terrorist strongholds to public relations events including the opening of a school for girls. Some of the stories made it back home, most did not." -- Camera Boy: An Army Journalist's War in Iraq by Fred Minnick
[Buy it]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The price of journalism

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Andrew Rice for a New York Times Magazine story that's now online: "Putting a Price on Words." The story focuses on what Rice calls "online journalism entrepreneurs." I was interviewed in conjunction with True/Slant, where I write the Off the Record blog. I'm not mentioned in the piece, but it's a must-read for anyone working in journalism today.
"You can’t call it a dot-com boom — there is not much capital, there are no parties with catered sushi and no one is expecting to get rich. But this generation of start-ups does share at least one trait with its 1990s predecessors: a conviction that they’re the vanguard of an unfolding revolution. One morning, as a March gale howled down Broadway, I visited the editors of the Web site True/Slant. Their loftlike office, in a vintage SoHo building, was bare, white and slightly chilly, as if designed to reflect the present ethic of austerity. With just five employees, True/Slant has built a significant audience since it started last year: about a million readers visit the site at least once a month, a number similar to the online following of The Village Voice or The Charlotte Observer. The site owes its modest but growing success to the work of more than 300 part-time contributors. It’s not so much a unified publication as a loosely connected commune of bloggers, who generate a continual stream of content with minimal editorial intervention. The company calls what it is doing 'entrepreneurial journalism' and says it’s the future of the profession."
["Putting a Price on Words"]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Can I take your order?

Over on True/Slant, I wrote about when I used to be a waitress.
"I was a waitress for two years. I’ve worked a variety of jobs over the years, from pasta-maker to college teacher, but waitressing was far and away the hardest job I ever had. The hours are grueling, the physical labor is brutal, and suffice to say you learn something of human nature when required to wait on people: People will treat you like crap because they can."
["Don't Go in the Kitchen and Other Tips from a Former Waitress"]

Monday, May 10, 2010

Theory of life

"If being crazy means living life as if it matters, then I don't mind being completely insane."
-- "Revolutionary Road"


Sunday, May 9, 2010

The boy who wore his heart on his sleeve

"Is it too late? she said. The boy’s face dropped. Late? he said. Too late to put it back? She nodded her head at the heart. Oh, the boy said, looking down at it. Slowly, the blood was seeping into his napkin. Soon, it would spill off the table and pool on the floor, making a mess. I don’t know, he said."
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Daniel Wakahisa, asking if I was interested in writing a piece of fiction for A Shaded View on Fashion Fiction. The project is an offshoot of A Shaded View on Fashion, which is helmed by Diane Pernet, who is something of a fashion icon. He said I could do whatever I wanted, only it should relate to fashion in some way.

Last week, I wrote the story, "The Boy Who Wore His Heart on His Sleeve." It took me about an hour. I had an idea of what I wanted to do. It was merely a matter of banging it out, polishing it, and sending it off.

I can't remember the last time I wrote a short story. It was a good refresher. It's something of a love story, but demented, as ever.

["The Boy Who Wore His Heart on His Sleeve"]

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hello, Miss America

In a few weeks, I'll be going to Louisville, Kentucky. It's part of the new project I'm working on, and I'm really looking forward to it.

One of the most important things I ever did in my life was drive from California to Chicago. (18 months later, I drove back; Midwestern winters aren't for me.) It was an amazing road trip.

With nothing to do but look out the window, you bear witness to how insanely diverse the country is, from Wyoming's Big Sky to Iowa's rolling hills. It's beautiful.

This project requires travel, and I'm chomping at the bit to do more of it.


Thursday, May 6, 2010


"Susannah Breslin always reads as glib and dismissive, and seems to prize those qualities over ever being insightful or right."
-- MetaFilter

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In medias res

In the last week, I've begun working on getting a new project off the ground. It's something I haven't written about directly here, and one I probably won't until it's a bit further along. I've been sending out emails and working on putting together a lineup of subjects. It is in the very early stages of coming together.

It involves something of a shifting of gears for me, which I am looking forward to doing with cautious optimism. I've been writing, to one degree or another, about many things, but more often than not one thing, for 13 years, and that, frankly, has become rather tiresome.

There are challenges in doing this project. I've already been told by various people that it will be difficult, but I've already relatively deeply penetrated another world that people told me I would never be able to penetrate, so there is that.

The new project involves words and photographs. I'm something of an old pro at the former but comparatively a novice at the latter. So, I'm looking forward to becoming a better shooter. I've written on this before here. I enjoy the mental emptiness of taking a photograph. An absence of thought.

It also requires a bit of travel, something I'm very eager to begin doing as soon as possible. I hate being landlocked, literally or metaphorically. Hopefully, I'll be going to Kentucky next month. I'm more interested in going to, say, Little Rock, than, say, Berlin. America's diversity is its fascinating insanity.

[Image via The Big Picture]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Take a shot

I've been posting some old photographs I took on sets in the adult movie industry on Flickr. Lately, I've been switching them from color into black and white. Some of the photos are almost "too much," at least at this time, in color, and this rendering seems to help turn them into something, say, more iconic.

I eliminate the color, and then mess with the brightness and contrast. I've made some of them too bright on purpose. I think this sort of bad processing effect actually helps turns them into something else.

You can see the NSFW black-and-white Valley set here. If you don't see all the photos, you may need to turn your Flickr SafeSearch off. You can do that by going to Your Account > Privacy & Permissions > Content Filters > Search Settings > SafeSearch off.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I got glasses

I had to get glasses because I was losing the ability to see things up close. Thankfully, I can still see the computer, but when I read, it's all a blur.

I got my eyes checked by some guy in a white coat. It was sort of fascinating to see my eye in color x-ray format. Everything you see in the world reduced to a couple bits of flesh you had no ability to understand.

I picked out these frames, even though they are technically for men. I have a big head. What can I say? They're drunk Dean Martin meets bookish Sophie Loren.

I've actually always wanted to wear glasses. They're kind of a pain in the ass, though. Eventually, I plan on wearing them on a plane, reading a magazine, staring out the window, waiting for the landing.