Monday, December 31, 2012

Interview with a female skydiving instructor

I finished off this year of my Forbes blog with an inspiring interview. The post is part of a series I started this year: "Hey, [Your Name Here], How'd You Get That Job?" So far, I've interviewed an adult movie editor, a death revolutionary, a young entrepreneur, and a blogger.

I'd spent some time looking around for my next subject online, and I think I'd decided a woman who was gutsy enough to jump out of airplanes would probably have something to teach young women about overcoming fear in the professional and personal realms.

Here's my favorite quote from skydiving instructor Jen Sharp, who you see in the photo above (taken by Emily Royal) free falling and working on a laptop at the same time:

"Skydiving makes me feel both vulnerable and powerful at the same time."


Friday, December 28, 2012

Be more creative now

If you're looking to get inspired on how to get more creative in 2013, I recommend The Oatmeal's "Some Thoughts and Musings About Making Things for the Web."

There's been quite a bit of back and forth debate lately over whether The Oatmeal is a comic god or an SEO hack, but I think he's great.

He's prone to bleeding in public, which, of course, is a good thing.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Without a doubt, the blockbuster post of my Forbes blog this year was: "The Hardest Thing About Being a Male Porn Star."

Because I've worked previously in helping entertainment sites generate more traffic, I tend to have a sense of what will get a lot of clicks and what won't. But I really had no idea this post would become my most popular post of the year and the third most popular post in the section where my blog resides on

I was surprised and continue to be surprised by the amount of traffic the post gets. So far, it has over 300,000 views, and it's the all-time most popular post on my blog.

Originally, the post was simply a series of quotes from the male porn stars I'd interviewed, but my smart editor pushed me to expand it and present it as a series of work tips.

I'm sure my failure to fully understand the popularity of the post has to do with the fact that I'm not a man. I think the subject matter appeals in a way that I simply cannot comprehend. But I wrote a post pondering that question: "Why Men Want to Be Porn Stars."
In an era in which “The End of Men” is being heralded, you can imagine the appeal of the male porn star fantasy to the Average Joe. The job of the Male Porn Star is unequivocally, undeniably male — so literally, one depends on one’s manhood to do it. This is what you are paid for as a male porn star: to be a man.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wedding bridge

Wedding Bridge, Shanghai, China

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I give it a meh.

Monday, December 24, 2012

What I'm reading

I don't know why I've been reading books like these lately, but I have. They're Tony Robbinsish. They're absurd.

Friday, December 21, 2012


These pink boxing gloves look like the perfect gift for the stylish postfeminist.
Everlast Pink 12-oz. Protex2 Training Gloves, $44.99
Found here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bride of Frankenstein's monster

I found this crazy fashion photo on my favorite fashion blog, Fashion Copious.

The players: Harper's Bazaar China, Daphne Guinness, David LaChapelle. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Marriage market

Marriage Market, Shanghai, China

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Om mani padme hum

Lately I've been doing a lot more yoga. I've been averaging four to five times a week. It helps mentally and physically.

I'd gotten overwhelmed between: different types of exercise, diet options, and whether to get on the scale or not. In the end, I decided that I would go to yoga more, and that would be that.

The key to going to yoga is not to think about going to yoga.

That said, the type of therapy that is appropriate for you really depends on who you are, your life experiences, and what transforms you into who you want to be.

[via Kottke]

Monday, December 17, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

I remember one night

I've got a new post up at The War Project, featuring Justin Savage.
I remember one night we camped out on the Iraq-Kuwait border on the way in. I’m there in my sleeping bag on a cot in the middle of dry, nothing desert. No landmark, no land features, nothing.
Read the rest here.

On a related note: I'm having some trouble with the Tumblr template I downloaded for that project. I'm using Synthesis, which is supposed to display images at high-res. But when I upload the photos, it compresses them to 500 pixels wide, and then stretches them to a non-high-res image on the Tumblr. Know how to resolve this issue? Email

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Beasts are better

Unfortunately, the tiny, powerful star of "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Quvenzhané Wallis, was not nominated for a Golden Globe this morning.

My first encounter with the movie was by way of a trailer in a theater. Later, I reported on its existence to Clayton Cubitt, who was already aware of it. My comment was sneering. His was positive.

Recently trapped on a long flight, I watched the movie. It is terrific. Wallis is phenomenal.

I haven't seen a ton of Hurricane Katrina movies, but I'm going to go bold and declare this one the best.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This is matter

Yesterday I talked to Jim Giles, one of the editors of Matter, a new digital platform publishing "unmissable journalism about science, technology and the ideas shaping our future."

The first story they've published is "Do No Harm," which seeks to answer the question: "Why do some people want to cut off a perfectly healthy limb?"
SITTING AT HOME in a small, somewhat rural American town not too far from the ocean, Patrick recalled the day his wife found out about his obsession. It was during the mid-‘90s. As with almost all BIID sufferers, Patrick was fascinated with amputees, so he began downloading pictures of them off the Internet and printing them out. One day his wife was sitting in front of their computer, while Patrick sat in a wingback chair. She noticed a pile of printouts. They were images of men, but “completely clothed, no nudes or anything like that.” It was an awkward moment. “She was thinking that maybe I was gay,” Patrick recalls. “I must have been crimson.” Patrick asked her to take a closer look. She did, and soon realised that the men were all amputees.
I'm talking to them about possibly doing a story for Matter. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing their next piece, which sounds like it will be online soon.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stop talking

I wrote a post on my Forbes blog about "How to Interview People."
For a story I did on the adult movie industry and the recession, I interviewed adult movie director Jim Powers.

I’d interviewed Powers before and know him. During the interview, which took place in his office with a desk between us, I failed to get a rise out of him.

Eventually, I did.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The things she carried

I came across this post by Susie Cagle on her blog. Susie does really amazing work. She's kind of an illustrated journalist, which is maybe something like the living embodiment of an illuminated manuscript.

I particularly loved her interactive field reporting kit post. You can see what she carries to create her unique work. Click here to experience the post's cool interactivity and learn more.

I found Susie's work through Symbolia, the new bible of comics journalism. There's an interview with her here.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Chanel mannequin

Chanel Mannequin, Shanghai, China

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The War Project

I've got a new post up at The War Project. The project has a new home online and a new format.

This is Dan Casara's story:
For three weeks, I didn’t know that Sgt. [redacted] and Sgt. [redacted] had been killed in action.

When I found out that they were dead, it was like from that weekend on, I couldn’t sleep without some type of aid.

To this day, I need medicine to sleep.
If you're interested in learning more or getting involved, or know someone who is: email me.

Thanks to Dan for sharing his story.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Dancer, Shanghai, China