Flying is Scary

Here’s a nice little post about my greatest fear for your Halloween reading enjoyment.

I’m just going to go ahead and say up front that I’m writing the post with this subject line because I really want you to convince me otherwise, to say whatever magic combination of words needs to be said to cast away my fear of flying for good. I’ve heard it all, and yet all logical arguments for why flying is totally safe and nothing to get excited about do not prevent me from feeling the beginning tinges of anxiety as soon as the plane takes off — a fear that mounts as the plane ascents and peaks whenever there is a sustained amount of turbulence at cruising altitude.

Airplane landingTurbulence doesn’t tear apart modern commercial planes. I know that.

Engines have duplicate parts in case the first ones fail. I know that.

Even with complete engine failure, planes can coast for long distances until such a point that they should be able to make a safe landing. I know that, too.

Planes are the safest method of transit. The odds of you dying in a plane crash are in the millions. A little turbulence in the air is not very different from bumps on a highway. Continue reading


Today I Turn 27

I was born on October 30, 1986, which makes me 27 years old today. At this point in their lives, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain had already done everything they would do, so I officially can never be as cool as those guys. Ah, whatever. 30s are the new 20s, right? 35 can’t be too old to be the Voice-of-a-Generation-Great-American-Novel type guy, right? 8 years is a good, solid amount of time to write a great novel.

My girlfriend calls me a Teddy, so this is me today.

My girlfriend calls me a Teddy, so this is me today.

Delusions of grandeur and jokes aside, I feel pretty good about being 27. I think because it’s an odd number it sounds a lot older than 26 does. Like 27 sounds much older than 26 than 28 sounds older than 27. To me, 21 sounds a lot older than 20, but 22 does not sound much older than 21. Once you pass 10, it only ever works the other way if the even year is a symbolic milestone, like 16 or 18 or 30. I wonder if it’s just me or if anyone else thinks that way.

Unlike the majority of birthdays that came before it, I spent the last couple months of 26 thinking about how I would be 27 soon, so I already transitioned into feeling 27 weeks ago. Moving away from Illinois to New York and all the experiences that came with that — of having to deal with adult problems on my own for the first time in an unfamiliar city that can at times be very stressful to live in, and far away from any family who could help — has definitely put some years on me. As recently as 24 I still felt like I was a recent college grad, but at 27 my undergrad years feel pretty distant. When I meet a college kid now I feel less like we’re peers and more like “Oh yeah, I remember when I thought that beer pong was the best thing ever and Natty Light was an acceptable beer to drink.” That’s what makes it really depressing whenever I come across people (especially friends of mine) who are still in that college mode.

I acknowledge that anyone a few years older than me reading this blog post is also thinking “Oh yeah, I remember when I felt like that.” Continue reading

Alison Gold’s “Chinese Food” Video as an Existential Literary Text

From the beginning of Patrice Wilson’s brilliant new ARK Studios endeavor, “Chinese Food” featuring rising star Alison Gold, a finely combined stew of themes and artistic considerations take center stage.

The film brings us the hero of a young girl (Gold) on the sidewalk of life, traipsing casually the traverse between her ending childhood’s curb and the coming trafficked roads of adult responsibility.


Continue reading

Alton, IL is … Part 2

  • a dead eyed waitress on the graveyard shift
  • a chorus of birds performing just for you on your short walk to the car
  • an old woman watching all the cars pass her house
  • hedge apples pounding down on your roof
  • an empty beer case burning in a bonfire
  • weak coffee you can’t stop drinking
  • a bald eagle on vacation
  • a line of cars at 2 a.m. at a drive thru
  • a sad little shopping mall that smells fantastic at Chrismastime
  • a woman with a cheap haircut giving a man a cheap haircut
  • an argument about coupons
  • an entire small town gathered for a Halloween Parade
  • a guy who needs his Pepsi and cigarettes so badly he gets them delivered to his car by a woman he doesn’t tip
  • a bad first impression of someone you never let go
  • a pack of wannabe drag racers
  • a fresh college grad settling for a job in retail
  • a bar with free popcorn and cheap shrimp
  • a wad of cash in transit from the check cashing counter to the slot machine
  • a firm handshake from a smiling man with calloused hard hands
  • a place you’re from that stays with you wherever you go

See my first list of things Alton is at my previous blog post.

Three Scenes in Chicago, Illinois


Part the First

Warren is on the South-bound Red Line when his phone buzzes in reply.

“I don’t know how I could be sure.”

He stares at it for a while, thinking of what he could say. Luckily, the phone buzzes again.

“I’ll call you in a little bit. I’ll tell you then.”

He looks at it, feeling a tug on a little towing hook from where his lungs don’t meet to the latch on the front of the train car, that says it is unlawful to move between train cars, fragile motion across the fishing wire that might connect them. The train is leaving Belmont, the second to last stop before the track goes underground. The only other person in the car is a disinterested-looking teenager in a red windbreaker staring out the window.

Warren contemplates the sharp, unavoidable dangers of his life. He closes his eyes. What if, he had asked Max that morning, during their cold dawn jog down the Hollywood Avenue curve onto the far North Lake Shore path. What if they just avoided the whole thing. Continue reading

Narrow-Sighted Scope


I was thinking about how sometimes things that seem really cool in theory aren’t so cool in real life. Imagine for a minute if you got a bunch of James Bond gadgets. You’re thinking, tits, right? But think this through. Let’s say you’ve got this laser watch. It tells time, and it shoots lasers. You’re thinking, this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It may be. But how on earth are you ever going to use this in real life?

Best possible scenario, your buddy is locked out of his car in the parking lot at work, you’re like, I got this, pal, and zzzap, you’ve burned a blowtorch-carved hole around his door and left it worse than if there was a fire. Now you have to file a ton of insurance forms. Sweet. Your friend wishes you would have just let Marge from Reception try to get it with a coat hanger. You are a dick. Continue reading

Seeking a Roommate in LIC, Queens – rent $900/mo

Today I don’t have an edifying thought piece for you, a short story, or even a poem. No, this post is a shameless plug for the bedroom opening up in my apartment because my roommate is moving in with his girlfriend.

The rent is $900 in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. All utilities and shared things (toilet paper, hand soap, etc.) included. Pictures and many more details are available at the Craigslist posting I put up this morning.