Friday, March 29, 2013

All movies, all the time

"Les Miserables": Miserable, indeed. I think I lasted about 60 seconds. As soon as Wolverine rowing started belting out a song, I shut it off. I don't get movies where people burst into song. Who does that?

"Life of Pi": I read this years ago and have next to no recollection of it. Same thing happened with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Also with The Time Traveler's Wife.

I watched maybe the last third of "Life of Pi" on a first-class flight out of Boca Raton. Have I recommended first class? Because I cannot recommend it enough. Another time I flew first class, and they actually served warm nuts. I thought that was a punch line. In first class, it's real.

My point is I watched "Life of Pi" on a tiny screen and didn't even see all of it. I could tell, though, that it was a thing of spectacular genius, and that all those critics crowing about how it was some kind of miraculous reinvention of cinema were right. That said, I could also tell it needed to be watched the same way I saw "Avatar": in a giant theater with a giant screen and with 3D glasses.

The whole big reveal part at the end? Lame. Everything else? Enchanting.

"This Is 40": Not to be confused with "This is my rifle." It's the couple from "Knocked Up" but years later and with a cameo from the chubster from "Girls." I'd give this movie a "meh."

Some parts of it are funny, and there are a lot of toilet jokes, but it's like going out with a funny guy who is trying to be serious, and it just doesn't work.

The Apatow girls were funnier when they were younger.

"Rust and Bone": I FUCKING LOVED THIS MOVIE. Oh, my god, it's so great. And it's not even in English. I mean, I had to read subtitles the whole time, and I still loved it.

I hate to say that it has a really strongly awesome female lead because then I sound like something that fell off the feminist truck and hit its head, but the main female character, played by the always sexy Marion Cotillard (men: you get to see her boobs in it, if that inspires you to watch it), is a freakin' killer whale trainer. The main guy bare-knuckle punches people in the head for a living.

This movie is great because while beautiful things happen, terrible things happen, too. Which is like life, really. There are always these spectacular things happening -- like the monster moon rising through the streams of clouds in the darkness -- and there are always these godawful things happening -- like death, and disease, and terrors that lurk in sinkholes. That is existence in a nutshell: the beautiful ugly.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ed is walking

I donated to Ed Walks. Ed Champion is a man on fire. Check him out.
On May 15, 2013, I aim to walk 3,000 miles across America over the course of approximately six months, starting in Brooklyn and ending in San Francisco. I plan to talk with many people along the way, asking them about their lives and writing dispatches as I make my way from town to town.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to take a photo

"You should never use camera to make your pictures. You use yourself, your experience, to make the pictures with the camera. Not the other way around." -- Antonin Kratochvil via The Click

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Take my advice

Over on my Forbes blog this week, I'm doling out advice. Got a question? Want my advice? Prefer to be anonymous? Email me.


Monday, March 25, 2013


I took a photo class on Saturday morning. I think I might have a vague understanding of how to work my camera now. Maybe.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Pink, Boca Raton, Florida

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The great freelancing debate

You know what's embarrassing? Watching this debate over freelancing for free. Which started here. Had an orgy here. And reached its peak here with this interesting insight c/o Felix Salmon:
"Digital journalism isn’t really about writing, any more — not in the manner that freelance print journalists understand it, anyway. Instead, it’s more about reading, and aggregating, and working in teams; doing all the work that used to happen in old print-magazine offices, but doing it on a vastly compressed timescale."
I was in Boca Raton, Florida, when the whole thing went down. (Which, of course, is a ridiculous thing to say: "I was in Boca Raton, Florida, when [FILL IN THE BLANK].") Everyone where I was in Boca was rich. Actually, I realized, they weren't rich. They were wealthy. "What do all these people do?" someone asked me at some point. I had no answer. They drove convertible Bentleys and had young men in white shorts set up beach chairs for them and stayed out of the water when the lifeguard saw sharks. Observing the wealthy in their native habitat, it occurred to me what the wealthy want: For the time between when they want something and when that want is sated to be as short as possible. That is wealth. To buy that which cannot be bought: time.

Mostly, though, reading over the freelance debate, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed for the freelancers who couldn't decide whether or not freelancing for free meant they were worthless. I was embarrassed for the editors publicly admitting how poorly they paid their contractors without admitting how embarrassed they were by their actions. Embarrassed by what the internet has become -- a red light district in which the whores pretend they're not whores by fucking for cheap.

You know what else is embarrassing? I wrote a piece for The Daily Beast back in October, and I still haven't been paid for it. $300. I email, I ask, I remind, and they haven't paid it yet. That's embarrassing. Embarrassing for the woman in accounts payable who has to deal with it. Embarrassing for Tina Brown, whose 2011 salary was estimated by the NYT to be $700,000. Embarrassing for freelancers for whom there are no solutions, just more humiliation.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Talent is everything; sanity is nothing." -- Americana, Don DeLillo

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What to watch

Watch this: "Top of the Lake."

Really, really great. Premiered last night on the Sundance Channel. Best thing I've seen on TV since the last thing I saw on TV that was great. Made with the BBC, of course, because American TV, HBO excluded, is incapable of making anything good.

Elisabeth Moss is a detective who returns to her small New Zealand hometown. There, a pregnant girl, 12, appears -- then disappears. Holly Hunter is a completely insane/fascinating/compelling lady-cult leader without a plan who, when asked by the girl what happened to her (Hunter), replies: "A calamity." I'm pretty sure the chick who played the crazy sister in "Sweetie" is the one who plays a middle-aged woman who isn't afraid to pay whomever's willing to bang her. The cast is rounded out by the bad guy from Baz Luhrmann's "Australia," and a bunch of guys who looked like they escaped from "Animal Kingdom."

Where is the girl? Who got her? Is she alive? I have no idea. It's "Twin Peaks" meets "The Deep End" meets "The Cremaster Cycle."

I'm a fan of "Girls," but you realize how petty and small and brief that show is when you watch a program like this. Take, for example, JazzHate, the HBO show's weak attempt to make fun of whatever it is Jezebel and XOJane think they're doing. Then you see something like the cluster of women inhabiting storage containers in a place called Paradise on "Top of the Lake," and you understand that women may have something more to offer the world than self-hate and misandry. Something bigger and better than realness portrayed by a splinter in your ass. Something more profound than writing about how your crotch smells. Something wiser than believing the commenters who tell you that you're a good writer because you embarrassed yourself in public. Thank you, Jane Campion, for being a woman who is creating, yet again, something that doesn't suck.

In any case, check it out.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Stoya, Las Vegas, Nevada

Friday, March 15, 2013


I signed up to take an improv class at Second City. Something I've been meaning to do for years. This should be interesting.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Husband, Boca Raton, Florida

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I love this house and would like to live in it.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fashion blogger paparazzi

TAKE MY PICTURE from GARAGE Magazine on Vimeo.

I knew this scene had grown, but I had no idea it was like this. Staged. Peacocks. Preening.


Monday, March 11, 2013

The forever war

How long do you think you’ll continue covering Guantanamo?
There are people who call the War on Terror the "forever war"; if this is the forever war, then this is the forever prison. I want to stay here for the 9/11 trial, which I think is years away. I feel like I have an institutional knowledge. Everyone else rotates in and out of here. The soldiers come and go, the lawyers come and go, most of the reporters come and go. I feel a responsibility to stay. I want to see how it ends. I’m a little concerned it’s never going to.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Feet, Boca Raton, Florida

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Snail, Boca Raton, Florida

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Girl, Boca Raton, Florida

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Beach, Boca Raton, Florida

Monday, March 4, 2013


Dog, Boca Raton, Florida

Friday, March 1, 2013

Scenes from my life as a freelancer

Mannequin, Chicago, Illinois

I finished up my "How to Get a Freelance Job in 5 Days" series on Forbes with this post:
You think reading advice is the same thing as taking action on advice that has been given.
You think being inspired by watching a TED talk is the same thing as being inspired by creating something no one has ever seen before.
You think writing Facebook status updates for $100 an hour is impressive.
It isn’t.