08/12/08 3:00pm

Today is my last day at The L Magazine, which is, of course, bittersweet. I remember one evening when I was going home, leaving the office and turning a corner in the hallway–I remember the specific corner–when I was struck with a fluttery sense of excitement that I had somehow found a job–a job–that I was happy doing. Genuinely happy. It was like cracking some life code, or pressing a fingertip to the sublime. In some little way, at least.

If you want to keep track of me, I’ll be the Bars Editor at Metromix, where my interest in weird animals and top ten lists will have to find a new way to survive.

Thank you all for reading.

08/12/08 11:15am

This is the occasional column where we highlight what we’ve been ___ing recently. This week, I’m buying lamps online.

I just bought this lamp. It comes from Hong Kong, but international shipping–to any destination!–is only $3. Grand total: $29. It comes in a puzzle of pieces that I can hopefully put together. Then I’ll put it on my bedside table. You can get it in stegosaurus, too.

08/11/08 2:04pm

I don’t get it. Is it like dogs peeing on the places they’ve been?

I think I will start doing this in conversations, and just yell out a sound. Hopefully it will be the first sound anyone hears.

08/11/08 12:01pm

This is contributor Jessica Hall’s weekly column, in which she interviews the street and homeless people she meets around the city. This week she spoke with Michael De’Shazer II, 20, who was selling his self-published books (Park Bench Publishing House) in Union Square. Michael: "I just wrote these books, I think you’ll enjoy them, would you like to take a look?"

My dad’s Michael De’Shazer senior. He’s almost famous in Memphis. He’s one of the top guys at Fed Ex; I’m the Michael De’Shazer of New York, but I was born and raised in Memphis.

Tell me about your first book.

The Wade Scandal. It’s a political thriller about the first independent president of the United States getting involved in a scandal in the Middle East involving biomechanically engineering humans. Basically, he’s doing necessary wrongs to accomplish good for the world. It’s the idea of necessary evil for ultimate benevolence.

When did you write this book?

When I was 17. In high school we constantly took trips to Washington, did the whole presenting a bill on the senate floor thing, and when I was doing the bills it always seemed to me that if one group benefits, one group has to suffer, and I wanted to write a book about a president committing treason to help the world as a whole.

How did you get this idea?

I had an internship for Government Investigative Bureau in Tennessee. I was surrounded by detectives, ex CIA, FBI. GIB is mostly sex crimes and homicide.

What were the detectives like?

It’s almost like they’re trying to be like in the movies. My favorite
was the narcotics division and SWAT team. I learned to break into cars
and I got to throw the cuffs on some people, and I used the experience
for the book.

Why did you move to New York?

To be a writer. I consider myself more of an artist than a writer, I
write to evoke an emotion and I don’t write like anyone else. The other
day I flipped for attention.

What do you mean?

I flipped over a cab. (You can see him on the site,
where he throws himself into the air and flips over the hood of a cab
No one was paying attention so I flipped over a cab. Then I got a lot
of people to watch. No one bought a book though. That’s my alter ego;
I’m like Batman at night and book potzer by day.

What’s a potzer?

It’s what chess players call amateurs. I’m an amateur book potzer.

Your books are self-published, do you do everything?

I do all the designs, typesetting, distribution. Everything but editing.

Who is your editor?

College colleagues, family, librarians, beauticians.


I have a really good fan base in the beauty shop market in Tennessee.
Women need something to read while they’re getting their hair done.
Pieces is the biggest hit in the beauty shops. It’s about strippers,
God, cigarettes, crime and faith. It’s a non-linear narrative.

You look too young and clean cut to know about cigarettes and strippers.

(By the way, when I got home and started reading the book, I was immediately
reminded of how deceiving looks can be. "My truck’s upholstery was
marred with sweaty aromas of pubis." So much for clean cut!

I lived in a house full of lesbian strippers for a year when I was
18-19, in New Jersey. They were all fems. I don’t know if you’re
familiar with lesbian lingo, but they’re girly girls and they like
girly girls. I met them in the park my first week in New York City. It
was 4 bedrooms with 5 strippers, my girlfriend and me.

Wow, life’s rough, huh?

We never fought. Never, ever. But that life style is a crazy lifestyle.
I moved out because I wasn’t focused anymore. They just started when I
moved in. It’s all a progression, first cigarettes, then pot, then
amphetamines. They were going to school, then less and less, and then
they dropped out.

Right now I’m married to my literature.

You said that you were homeless at one point?

For two weeks. I wanted to see what I was made of. I hitchhiked from
Orlando to Miami. It was pretty hard to get picked up. It took me 3 1/2
days for a 4-hour drive. Then I stayed on the beach in Miami for 3-4
nights. I got a nice little tan every morning. There’s a lot of
homeless people in Miami, they live in the park and on the bridge.

I spent the rest of the time in New York. I flew here. I already had
the ticket. I tried to stay in Central Park but there are raccoons and
it’s hard to sleep at night with all that rustling. I slept in the
subway. Whole Foods is a great place to take a bath. Starbucks
bathrooms are dirty. Everyone uses them.

What else did you learn while you were ‘homeless’?

Your senses are heightened. When you have little to nothing, you
appreciate things more. Now I’m a better person. I appreciate a quarter
and a smile.

Where do you get your ambition?

I don’t know.

Come on, don’t you want to give some credit?

My father. He’s my hero. He came from nothing. He was born in the slums
of Chicago, and now he’s a successful businessman. He gave me this
quote, from Ralph Ellison: "Life is to be lived and not controlled, and
humanity is won by continuing to play in the face of certain defeat."

08/08/08 12:03pm

Today’s a great day to get married, according to thousands of people who apparently wouldn’t be able to remember the date otherwise? Who want a cool engraving on their stuff? Who thrill at the idea of telling people, “We got married on ay date oh ate”? Who want to be able to write the day down on paper and fold it in half and still have it say the right facts? (08|08|08) If anything, the date seems to be stripped of meaning since it’s the most popular day to get married this year. Although that doesn’t matter because there’s no such thing as a unique and special day anyway.

Well, it’s supposed to be lucky, according to Chinese tradition, which highly values the number 8. Everyone needs luck, so that’s good, especially if you’re the kind of person to make your loved ones use extra vacation days to go to a wedding on Friday.

I don’t know why I just turned into such a grump! Congratulations to anyone getting married today; and people getting a three-day weekend because they’re going to a wedding are doing fine, too. See you guys on 11|11|11. You can fold that paper any which way.

08/08/08 10:00am

There’s a sad scene in the BBC series Planet Earth where the polar bear they’re filming doesn’t have enough ice to walk on because global warming is melting the polar ice cap, so he’s forced to swim and will almost certainly drown to death.

Well, they’ve made the idea into a rug. It’s called the Global Warming Rug, and it will make its debut at the International Furniture Show in Valencia, Spain, this September. Admittedly pretty, also creepy.

Also, “OK, looks great. Let’s get someone sitting next to the rug for scale. OK, Tony, can we use your son? Great, here, give him a laptop, now someone take off almost all his clothes. Great, perfect. We got the shot!”

[From Likecool, via Neatorama]

08/07/08 12:02pm

Bonus Thursday List!. Due to last-minute, impromptu image searching, here’s the 10 best dogs wearing fake fur.

10. Fur-trimmed hoodie and fur-trimmed booties

9. Classy

8. Storm-proof yet funky

7. Glamorous stole and cap

6. Gigantic hat and bow

5. Faux mink coat

4. Opera jacket

3. Playful spring ensemble

2. Sleek hood!

1. Jeweled ranch vest and matching rodeo cap!